Listening to what people are saying is the basis for all harmonious communication. When you can show people that you’re listening — and engage with them in a way that makes them feel understood — is very good business. And doing so can catapult your online reputation to greater heights. As you pull together your reputation-monitoring strategy, keep in mind the following considerations:
Set up Google Alerts. This is a free service that you can use to dive surprisingly deep into what people are saying about any search term — even your competitor’s names!
Research your best “search engine optimization” keywords. This might sound a little intimidating right now, but it’s relatively simple. Keywords are the words that people type into the “search” window on their browser when they want to find you. By choosing the right combinations of keywords, you can hit the sweet spot (“optimize”) and attract more people than ever.
Have a look at popular aggregators. It’s more fun to monitor your social profiles when you have them all in front of you on a single dashboard. Aggregators are tools that can do this, as well as serve up some pretty powerful features, such as allowing you to schedule updates in advance and work on campaigns as an integrated, secured team. Some of them also have some pretty impressive analytics.
Stop drinking from a firehose. Consider setting up lists on your social networks so that you can listen to key groups of people more closely and share their content, as desired.
Be a trend setter — or at least be aware of them. Google Trends is another free tool that keeps you aware of what’s hot online at any given time. You get bonus points for figuring out how to relate these terms to your business in your status updates and blog posts.
Collect all the information you want together into one stream of information via Yahoo Pipes. You can have a grand time grouping interesting streams into one flow of information that’s delivered right to you via e-mail. It can even be embedded onto your site via a badge. This service is also free to Yahoo account holders.