7 Techniques to Monitor Your Business Reputation Online
You’ve worked hard to become the best in your field. Your clients adore you, and your company thrives on referrals that provide a steady stream of new business.
But what happens if someone is unhappy and chooses to broadcast their experience online? Would you know? How long would it take you to find out?
In today’s connected digital world, it’s easier than ever for customers to share both the positive and negative interactions they’ve had with your business with the world. With a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse, anything someone says about you can be shared with your entire community instantly. Even scarier is the fact that what gets published on the Internet tends to stay there.
Monitoring your online reputation needn’t be a full-time job, but it should be one of your top priorities. In this guide, we’ll share 7 techniques that will allow you to see what’s being said about you on the Internet with tips on how to ensure your reputation remains overwhelmingly positive.
Check Social Media Often, Including Your Ads
Someone on your team should be managing your social media channels daily. Whether it’s you, an office manager or a third-party agency, it’s crucial that you stay abreast of what’s being said about you on your social media profiles.
If someone is upset and they can’t reach your office directly for an immediate response, one of the first avenues that person will turn to is social media, specifically your most recent Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts.
The people you’re trying to reach with your content are bound to see that person’s nasty comments. And, if another disgruntled customer sees the first person’s comment, they might add fuel to the fire and decide to comment on their experience as well.
Before you know it, your well-meaning thread aimed at your followers becomes a din of criticism that reflects poorly on you and your business.
The solution is to keep a constant eye on your social media. You can check your notifications and alerts for any new comments that need to be addressed directly from each platform. You can also set reminders to visit your profiles daily and check for any complaints or negativity.
We recommend commenting civilly and gracefully on any criticism, but there are times when it is also appropriate to delete or hide a comment and then block the user. If the person has written anything vulgar, used profanity or made threatening remarks, you should remove those comments immediately.
Don’t Forget to Monitor Your Ads
If you are running ads on social media channels like Instagram and Facebook, you’re probably already aware that people can interact with and comment on them. However, since these ads aren’t necessarily on your newsfeed, it can be easy to forget that they exist and that they need attention.
Ads running separately from your public Facebook and Instagram profile pages tend to fall under the “out of sight, out of mind” category, but you should still monitor them and treat them as if they were a public post. This is especially true because you’re paying for the ads to be seen!
There are several ways to view your ads online and comment on them, but here are the two that we’ve found to be the most convenient:
Manage comments directly in your Facebook Ads Manager Platform.
Go to your Facebook Business Manager. Click Ads Manager -> All Tools -> Page Posts. You’ll be able to see your posts divided into the following categories:
- Scheduled Posts
- Published Posts
- Ad Posts
Click on your Ad Posts, and you’ll see all of your current ads. If you click on the post title, you’ll be able to see all the likes, shares, and comments. Make sure you respond to any comments promptly.
This interface will also show you if the ad has received any negative feedback, including people marking the ad as spam, hiding it or unliking your page. If you see a lot of negative feedback, it might be time to consider a new advertisement or determine if you have a more large-scale problem with your online reputation.
Create a simple spreadsheet with all the links to your ads on Facebook and Instagram.
When you are in your Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll be able to click on each ad to edit it. You won’t be editing the content, however. Instead, you’ll click on a box next to words that say Ad Preview, and a dropdown menu will appear that allows you to see the Facebook Post with Comments and the Instagram Post with Comments.
After you click each of those links, you’ll have a hyperlink that you can add to a spreadsheet and give it to your social media person. He or she can then check those links daily and comment and interact when necessary.
Because you’ll able be to interact with both the Facebook and Instagram posts, we prefer this method. It’s also the most convenient because you can create and update this spreadsheet as you’re creating new ads.
Monitor Review Sites
Usually, you’ll get alerts if a review site you’re listed on receives a new review or comment, but it’s worth checking each of these weekly to make sure you didn’t miss anything. You should already be checking Google Reviews and Yelp, but don’t forget about any niche review sites that are specific to your industry.
Again, we recommend responding to both positive and negative reviews professionally. If any comments from an angry customer go beyond the bounds of decency, then you can report the comment and petition to have it removed.
Set Up Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free tool that allows to you receive an email alert any time your brand or name is mentioned. You can create as many alerts as you’d like about anything you choose. It’s completely free.
You might be tempted to add everything you can think of, but you’ll risk being bombarded with alerts that have nothing to do with your business.
We suggest starting with the name of your company and potentially your full name. However, if either of these is common, you may end up receiving countless alerts that aren’t about you. Still, it’s worth setting these up to see how they go. You can always delete the alert later if it’s not useful.
Check Your Blog
If you have a blog, don’t forget to monitor the comments. You should turn on the feature that requires the comments to be moderated and approved before being published, but if anything has slipped through the cracks, make sure that you’re ready to take action and delete anything irrelevant like spam and reply to anything that requires attention.
By staying active on your blog and replying to comments, you’ll show visitors and potential customers that you are accessible and engaged with your audience. A side benefit is that you’ll be creating keyword rich content on your site that will potentially allow you to climb higher in the search engines.
Identify and Follow Industry Hashtags
Did you know that you can follow hashtags on Twitter and Instagram? This is helpful because it allows you to monitor any mentions of your business and industry that could apply to you. You’ll get a feel for what people are saying about your industry, what they’re interested in, what they share, and overall sentiment of the mood.
For example, let’s say you’re a dentist in Chicago, and your name is Dr. Gideon. The name of your practice is Gideon Dental. You might want to follow these hashtags:
Several of these hashtags are somewhat generic, so you’re not likely to see anything related to your office appear, but you’ll get to see what other offices are sharing, which is a side benefit. The hashtags to pay the most attention to are the ones that have your name and the name of your business in them. They’re likely to be directly related to you (and others named Dr. Gideon, of course!), but you’ll be in the know if anyone talks about you on Instagram and Twitter.
We also added the hashtag “baddentist” to the list. Again, most of the posts and mentions won’t apply, but if someone has a negative experience and uses this hashtag, you should definitely know about it immediately.
Perform Regular Search Audits
This method is manual, but luckily it doesn’t haven’t be performed often and only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is Google yourself! Enter your name and the name of your company in the Google search bar and see what comes up. With any luck, it will be positive, but if you do see anything you don’t like, you can investigate the page and contact the site owner with a request to remove the content or at least share your side.
Use Automated Tools
The Internet is a massive place, and with dozens of social media channels, it is impossible to be everywhere at once. Automated “social listening” tools can help you monitor everything said about you in a convenient dashboard. From the dashboard, you’ll be able to review all of your mentions across a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, and more.
One of the challenges with these tools is that they can be glitchy, and some of our favorites from just a few years ago are no longer around, including Social Mention and Klout.
With these tools, you tend to get what you pay for, and there are powerful enterprise-level social listening platforms that can cost $199 monthly or more.
Since this landscape does change so frequently, we’ve provided the list of our top 4 favorites from 2019 that we believe will stick around for years to come:
- Awario: Starting at just $29 monthly, Awario is one of the most powerful tools available today at a bargain price.
- Agorapulse: This platform includes other features you most likely won’t need, but it does also allow you to schedule your social media content, which is convenient for businesses that schedule in advance. Plans start at $49 monthly.
- Keyhole: If you’re monitoring hashtags, this platform does all the heavy lifting and presents everything in a clean and easy-to-navigate dashboard. It supports Twitter, Instagram, news, and blogs, all for a starting price of $26 monthly.
- Mention: This tool offers a free trial and starts at $29 monthly for basic features. However, if you want to look at historical data, you’ll have to pay extra.
If you’re committed to trying a genuinely free solution first and you feel like Google Alerts doesn’t quite cut it, try Talker Walker Alerts. While Google Alerts is limited to the web, Talker Walker Alerts also includes social channels and allows for more customization of what you see.
Don’t let one angry customer tarnish your hard-earned reputation. By keeping an eye on what’s being said about you online, you can maintain the positive reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.