If you learned nothing in high school, you learned that you do have control over your reputation; your reputation is elastic and can be changed. This same lesson works for businesses looking to shape and reform an online reputation; the difference, however, is that you have web tools to help you make it happen. Before jumping into the different tools available, it’s important to understand some of the things that help give your business an online reputation—or the way that online readers perceive your business—in the first place:
Social Media. What you post on social media and how you post it can help shape a reputation. For example: If you’re only posting your own articles, it might seem as though you’re disinterested in learning from others or reading about your industry. This might be a stretch and completely untrue, but you can send that message. If you’re rude to someone on social media or ignore a comment back, you might also be perceived as disinterested or unable to respond.
Content. Whether or not your content is true, well thought-out, and relevant and detailed will matter when it comes to how you’re seen online. Your content shows what you know, so you have to make it count.
Web Design and Layout. If you have a sloppy layout, you probably have a sloppy company. People want someone who is organized and engaging, and your layout can say a lot about how serious you really are.
Employee Contact. Talking with one of your employees online counts as part of your online reputation. Make sure that your employees are not only kind, but that they’re easy to find.
In other words, it is all the basics that help shape your online reputation. These things are usually not constant, so it’s important that you’re always managing the changes you’re making online to avoid any unnecessary cleanup work.
Top 10 Reputation Management Tools
Part of managing your reputation is being able to look at data and analytics and make a conclusion. You must have a strategy in place to mange the things discussed above, and then you must have some way of gathering data to make sure you can gauge your reputation at any time. The following are some of the best tools around to help make it all happen:
1. Trackur. This tool will show you what people are seeing when they search for you in Google or any social network. It also lets you know if the people talking about you are influential in the industry or not.
Trial Time: There is a ten-day trial on any plan.
2. Naymz. The tool with give you a RepScore based on how people find your brand as well as through your social influence (measured by social sharing indicators). It will send a questionnaire to your contacts to help offer you this information.
Trial Time: The best part: The tool is free.
3. BrandsEye. This tool offers all of the basics of reputation management, but also offers competitive analysis and works great if you want several people in your office to work with the tool.
Trial Time: There is a two-week free trial available.
4. Brandwatch. This is one of the most popular tools to manage an online reputation. It works best for social media management and helps monitor certain keywords on these social sites.
Trial Time: There is a free demo available.
5. Technorati. This one is good for beginners or those who want basic results. It will track your blog posts to see who is linking back to that post, which gives you a good indication about how successful that post was with your readers. You can also subscribe to alerts for this information.
Trial Time: The tool is completely free.
6. Rankur. This is a good tool if you’re a small company, yet it still offers a lot of analytics and demographic information. It helps you see your online reviews, monitor your competitors, and is available in many different languages.
Trial Time: There is a free plan available.
7. Alterian. This is one tool that offers tons of information and data. You can discover what people think of your brand in different countries, from different demographics, in different languages, etc. In other words, it gives you everything you need to know about your online reputation.
Trial Time: No free trial; pricing starts at $500/month
8. SocialMention. The greatest thing about this tool is the fact that it can send you alerts for all of your keywords. It also analyzes when your brand is mentioned and just how important those mentions actually are.
Trial Time: Free tool.
9. Whos Talking. This tool works very similar to SocialMention because it can alert you when your keywords and your brand are mentioned. You can see mentions on almost all social media accounts as well as videos and images; however you can only look at one “type” of mention at a time.
Trial Time: Free tool.
10. Google Alerts. This is probably the most basic form of reputation management, but it’s also the easiest. You simply add in the term you want to track (most likely your company name), and you will get emails telling you when and where that word was mentioned. It doesn’t do any type of analysis for you, but it gives you the facts.
Trial Time: Free service.
In the end, the tool you choose is all about what you feel you need the most help monitoring, and for some that isn’t every aspect of reputation. If you think you do a great job with content, but really need help with social media, find a tool that focuses specifically on that aspect and run with it.
Do you know of any reputation management tools that have worked for you in the past?
Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility.com. Connect with HigherVisibility on Google+ and Twitter to learn more!