Online Reputation Monitoring: Keeping Up Online

Your online reputation is made up of what is out there about you online. This includes your website, blog, and social media presence; however, it also includes anything that anyone else posts about you online. From a video review of your products on YouTube to a heated debate about your company on Reddit, each mention of you, your organization, or your brand online informs your online reputation. This is where reputation monitoring comes in.

Reputation monitoring is a vital piece of an effective reputation management strategy. Keeping up with the online conversations about you gives you accurate, real-time insight into public opinion about you, can provide valuable, actionable feedback, and can save you from reputation missteps and mistakes.

In this article, I will dive deeper into what reputation monitoring is, the benefits that come with it, and how you can implement reputation monitoring into your own online reputation management strategy.

What is online reputation monitoring?

Reputation monitoring is “listening” to what is being said about you online. These conversations can exist anywhere online: review websites, mentions in media, blogs, comment threads on social media platforms and forums - really, anywhere where someone may say something about you.

Monitoring your reputation is a key aspect of any online reputation management (ORM) strategy. Knowing in real-time what is being said about you can guide your strategy, act as an assessment of your progress, and help you avoid missteps as you work on your reputation.

Benefits of Monitoring Your Online Reputation

Monitoring the latest conversations about you can provide you with valuable data and understanding of your organization and brand in several ways, including:

  • Real-time awareness of how you’re perceived. While your SERPs can give you a good bit of insight into your online reputation, nothing can give you the immediacy of audience response like reputation monitoring. Beyond getting a general understanding of how you are perceived, regular monitoring can show you how people are reacting in the moment, which can give you specific insight into product launches, new advertising campaigns, company announcements, or any news cycles about you and your brand. This information can guide not only your ORM strategy, but advertising, social media, and PR, can help you understand what does - or does not - resonate with your audience, and identify how large the impact is.
  • Actionable feedback. People can be brutally honest online and reputation monitoring can help you use that to your advantage. You may take note of your Google reviews or comments on your social media posts, but comprehensive online reputation monitoring will make you privy to conversations that you weren’t necessarily “supposed” to see. While you may not want to incorporate all the feedback you receive online, noticing trends or themes in your audience’s comments can help you adjust to better serve your audience and improve your overall reputation.
  • Relationship building with your audience. You can’t respond to someone if you don’t know what they’re saying, or even that they’re saying it. Whether it is responding to someone directly or fixing the problem they’ve identified, making your audience feel heard can go a long way for building trust and loyalty.
  • Identifying opportunities to stand out from the crowd. It comes up a lot in online reputation management: if you’re not first, you’re last. While this isn’t strictly true, it may as well be - the top result in Google search results receives roughly 28% of all clicks, and that number drops dramatically as you approach the bottom of page 1, let alone move on to page 2. While online reputation isn’t only about where things rank (though that is very, very important), it gives insight into the importance of standing out from your competition. By monitoring not only your reputation, but staying up-to-date on your industry and competitors, you can gain insight into what your competitors are doing that you’re not, what you’re doing that your competitors aren’t, and better cultivate an online presence that establishes you as an industry leader.
  • Mitigation of reputation threats. Knowledge is one of the greatest tools when it comes to your reputation. Monitoring your reputation will help you identify emerging trends of negative sentiments towards your brand, undesirable news coverage being picked up, or any other potential threats to your reputation so you can respond effectively before it becomes a reputation crisis or long-term issue.

When it comes to managing your reputation in our digital world, it comes down to the details. A comment here or there may not be enough to overhaul all aspects of your business, but reputation monitoring gives you the opportunity to identify trends, pain points, or highlights about you, your organization, and your brand online to help you identify what is working and what isn’t to be sure you are putting your best foot forward online.

What should be included in your reputation monitoring?

Short answer: everything. The more helpful answer is that what you pay attention to is dependent on your brand, your industry, your audience, and your goals.

Generally speaking, the kind of websites you will want to pay attention to are:

  • Review websites
  • Social media and forums
  • Industry-relevant blogs and publications
  • General news publications
  • Influencer content
  • Short- and long-form video content

If you feel overwhelmed, consider where your audience would look for information on your brand and start there. Consider websites that host conversations about your industry or competitors. Remember that conversations around your brand can exist on platforms that you are not active on (just because you don’t have a company Twitter doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about you there).

How to Monitor Your Reputation

Reputation monitoring is straightforward once established, but can take a bit of time to get there. If you have decided you want to implement reputation monitoring as part of your overall ORM strategy, here is where to start:

1. Identify Your Areas of Interest

This doesn’t only include your industry or product offerings, but anything that may be relevant to your business or conversations that may include your business. If you are a jewelry brand, you may want to consider areas of interest outside of just jewelry such as styling tips, fashion recommendations, etc. If you are a restaurant, you may want to consider topics such as travel, flexibility based on dietary restrictions, etc.

The point of this step is to identify where your audience “hangs out” online so you know where to look for mentions of you and your brand.

2. Identify Your Branded Keywords

In order to listen, you need to know what you’re listening for. Beyond your company or brand name, consider if there are other topics or buzzwords that are worth paying attention to.

It is extremely important to keep these specific to your brand. There are over 10 million reviews published online every day and over 500 thousand comments posted on social media every day. If you are too general, any mentions relevant to your brand will be drowned out by comments and conversations completely irrelevant to you. This won’t provide you with any insight and will flood you with too much information, so keep your keywords distinct to your brand (for example, Glossier including “boy brow” as a keyword as opposed to “eyebrow brush”).

3. Utilize Reputation Monitoring Software and Tools

Perhaps the most important advice in this article. It may have crept up when you were reading that, if your brand has a substantial online presence or a sizeable audience, it is simply not possible to scour platforms searching for daily mentions. While some mentions can be handled a bit more easily (comments on your owned social media profiles or Google reviews), a comprehensive report of how you are being talked about online will quickly become completely overwhelming.

As such, social listening software tools are vital to implementing a reputation monitoring campaign. There are several tools at your disposal, some specific to certain platforms or types of content (such as Google Alerts for Google News mentions), while others are more comprehensive to collect all mentions of your brand. It’s worth noting that nearly all reputation monitoring tools are not free and will require a monthly subscription.

These tools will not only do the heavy lifting of the actual listening for you, but can synthesize the data into a clean dashboard and provide you with information such as sentiment analysis, increases or decreases in mentions, and other important insights.

4. Consider Hiring an ORM firm

I’m not sure many of us want to know everything that is being said about us, but it is necessary when it comes to building a strong online presence. If reputation monitoring is overwhelming or if you don’t know how to use the information you get from your listening, it may be worth consulting with an ORM firm.

Status Labs has experience with reputation monitoring and can help you not only gather information about your brand, but synthesize that information to identify what’s important and what can be done about it. If you want to implement reputation monitoring as part of a larger ORM strategy, we can help guide you with reputation experts and custom plans to curate your online image.

If you are interested in learning more about your online reputation or think working with an online reputation management firm on your reputation monitoring is right for you, you can reach out to Status Labs for a free consultation.

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