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    Feb

    February 20, 2017 by Joy Thompson

    Consumers are relying more than ever on online reviews, product write-ups, and star ratings from their peers. That’s why it’s crucial that you’re constantly monitoring your brand’s reputation online, good or bad.

    If the customer was happy, make sure you show them you appreciate the kind words by engaging with the post. This goes a long way with instilling brand loyalty, and showing consumers that you’re grateful for their business.

    If the customer was not happy, it’s a little trickier. It’s vital that you publicly acknowledge the customer’s concerns, and try to move the discussion to a private channel like email or direct message. This shows potential buyers that you care about your customers and that you’re open to negative feedback. By taking the conversation to a private channel, you avoid publicly revealing a potentially messy situation or revealing what you’re willing to do for an unhappy customer (ex: deep discount, refund, free product, etc).

    That’s all well and good, but…

    How do I monitor my brand’s online reputation?

    There’s no shortage of paid tools you can use to stay on top of your brand’s online chatter (more on that later), but the majority of you reading this can get away with utilizing a few free tools that you might already be familiar with.

    1) Google search

    The first place you should check is the Google search results because it’ll give you the best overall view of your online sentiment. For instance, here’s a random search for a popular diner in San Francisco…

    google-search-example

    That’s just Page 1 of the search results, and you can already see the plethora of places where potential customers are forming an opinion about you. Keep clicking to Page 2, 3, and 4 to perform a thorough search.

    You shouldn’t just stop at searching your brand name, though. Make sure to also search…

    • Common misspellings
    • Nicknames
    • Social handles
    • Related searches
    • Autocompleted searches

    Here are examples of the latter two:

    Related Search (found on the bottom of the search results page)

    related-search

    Autocomplete searches

    autocomplete

    These types of searches not only give you an overview of your online reputation, they also unveil possible issues or discussions about your brand that you might not have known about.

    PS: If you’re unhappy with what you see on Google, don’t hesitate to contact us about our SEO services

    2) Google Alerts

    This is a free tool provided by Google, that allows you to set up alerts that notify you whenever your business name pops up on the search engine. This is valuable because it allows you to react quickly to online feedback about your brand.

    To set it up, head to google.com/alerts and hit “Create Alert”. It’s pretty straightforward.

    Make sure to be thorough when you create alerts for your brand name. Again, don’t forget about common misspellings, nicknames, old names, shortened names, etc.

    google-alerts

    When you click on the pencil icon, you’ll have these options…

    google-alerts-settings

    Side note: you can use Google Alerts for all kinds of searches, including the names of your main competitors. This allows you to spy on your competition without them knowing. 

    3) Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, Tripadvisor, etc

    Over 90% of consumers are using online reviews to make a purchasing decision. Star ratings are the top factor that consumers consider when deciding to buy (stats courtesy of Vendasta).

    You NEED to be monitoring the obvious sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook, and industry-specific review websites. You NEED to be engaging with these reviews to show that you’re listening.

    You can do this manually or you can use a paid tool (a quick Google search will give you plenty of options for paid tools). Just make sure you’re doing it.

    Again, when you’re responding to negative feedback, MAKE SURE to acknowledge the problem publicly, but try to provide a solution privately.

    4) Social listening

    It goes without saying, you need to respond to people on social media when they message you directly. If you’re not responding to users on social media, it’s like you’re not answering the phone when someone calls your business.

    That’s not enough, though.

    You also need to be paying close attention to conversations about your brand on social media, where you aren’t directly tagged or mentioned. This is a lot easier than it sounds.

    Here’s an example of social listening on Twitter…

    twitter-search

    You should be engaging with those tweets, even though they didn’t mention you directly or use your hashtag.

    Here’s an example of social listening on Instagram, searching Places…

    instagram-social-listening

    These screenshotted results are people that checked into the nursery but maybe didn’t tag the nursery’s Instagram profile. You’ll want to engage with these posts from your business’ Instagram handle.

    Make sure to go through all your active social media accounts, and perform searches related to your brand name to uncover these kinds of results.

    5) Paid tools

    As previously mentioned, there’s no shortage of paid tools out there. They range from very affordable to very pricey. Here’s just a few of the more prominent options:

    • Brand24
    • Hootsuite
    • Yext
    • Mention
    • BrandWatch
    • Sysomos
    • BrandYourself
    • ReviewPush
    • Moz Local

    If you’re open to paying for a tool, make sure to do your research because there’s a wide array of prices and functionality to consider.

    Wrapping Up

    Your target audience has a lot of choices. You don’t want to give them any reason to think negatively of your brand when they’re doing their product research. That’s why you need to make sure that you’re paying attention to ALL the conversations about your brand that are happening online.

    Need help? Our social media and search engine specialists would be glad to speak with you. Call us at 866-999-4736.

     

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