I think it’s safe to say that social media has exploded. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of our loyal readers (or your company) have a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account – as a side bet I’d also guess many have a YouTube channel (or at least uploaded a video) and a Flickr account. For this article, I’m going to focus on how to monitor your company’s reputation versus, say, your own personal brand.
Content on social media sites can spread like wild fire. Take the Domino’s Pizza incident that recently went down. 2 employees posted a video on YouTube that showed some crude and disgusting acts being performed on a Domino’s sandwich that was going out for delivery. The video had more than a million views after only 3-4 days of being posted. According to YouGov, a research firm that conducts online surveys of about 1,000 consumers daily, the rating for Domino’s went from “positive to negative in just a day”. Domino’s acted quickly to get the video taken down and released a statement apologizing for the incident, but unfortunately it just wasn’t quick enough. The video went viral and chatter on Twitter exploded. Had Domino’s been monitoring social media sites for mentions of their brand, this may not have gotten as big as it did.
So how does a company monitor its online reputation? You utilize tools and incorporate it into your daily routine. When you get into the office every morning, you should be looking at your feeds/alerts. It can be a big task, especially if you work for a large brand. You may need to monitor social media sites, as well as a number of industry/product related forums as well. The trouble you go through to monitor all of these sites will be worth it if you can stop a video from going viral, or even respond to a blogger that wrote a poor review of your product. In order to be effective, you’re going to need some tools to help you . Below I’ve listed 4 tools that I use on a daily basis for my clients. I review these alerts and feeds every single morning when I get into work. If there is content that could be damaging, I send to my client immediately. I’ve also encouraged them to set up Google Alerts at the very least.
- Google Alerts – this is the best free monitoring tool you can use. By subscribing to these alerts, you are notified any time new content for the keyword phrase you specify (i.e. “Domino’s”) is indexed by Google. Whenever new content is created, you’ll be sent an email notifying you so you can look into it to determine if it is potentially damaging. Here is an extremely detailed post from Marty Weintraub about how to set up a dashboard using iGoogle.
- Yahoo Pipes – this tool is more complicated than Google Alerts, but if you have the technical savvy and inclination, it’s extremely powerful.
- Twitter Search – monitor whats happening on Twitter by subscribing to an RSS feed for a specific query (i.e. brand name). Every time your brand name is tweeted, it will update in your RSS reader.
- Technorati – if you own a blog, make sure you are listed on Technorati. Set up an RSS feed for your company name, or blog name. You are then notified anytime someone writes about you.
Remember, listening to what others are saying about your brand is imperative in today’s online world where consumers have more power than ever to influence each other. If there are negative comments about your brand, don’t overreact or get defensive, start a conversation with the author and see if you can make them an evangelist instead of a detractor. Take each comment seriously and treat each author/commenter fairly. I would not recommend taking Ryan Air’s approach of hurling insults.