Here's the thing about reputation management: before you can counteract scurrilous gossip or bad publicity, you have to know what's being said about you online. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do that without spending a single solitary dime. Below, you'll find a few of our favorite totally free tools for online reputation management.
1. The Search Engine of Your Choice
It might feel egocentric to spend your time Googling (or Binging) yourself, but it's actually just good business. Just remember that for best results, you'll have to sign out of everything you're usually signed into: Google+, Gmail, and so on. Otherwise, especially in Google, you'll only see results tailored to your interests and profile information.
One of the simplest ways to set up automated alerts for any subject — including your own name or that of your company — Google Alerts allows you to set up regular emails that will keep you apprised of what's being said about various topics on the internet. You can ask for alerts to be sent to your inbox as information becomes available, or on a daily or weekly basis. For step-by-step instructions, see this article.
As the crew at Digital Sherpa so aptly puts it, this is "basically Google Alerts for Twitter." There's a premium version that will alert you every 15 minutes to what people are saying about you or your company, but the free version will give you hourly updates, which is probably enough for most people and non-Fortune 500 companies.
Drop your name or your company's name into this free web tool, and you'll get a dashboard with mentions of your search term, rated either positive, negative, or neutral. The service also lists top hashtags related with your term, top keywords, and other metrics, as well as rating the strength, passion, sentiment, and reach of your brand — all of which is a complicated way of saying that this service will tell you how people feel about you right now on the internet, and how passionately they feel it.
Want to find out what the blogosphere thinks of you or your company? Look no further than Google Blog Search. This no-frills service even lets you narrow down the scope of your search to a specific time period, which could be invaluable, should you need to keep tabs on your brand after some negative publicity.
Need help monitoring your online reputation? Contact us today to find out what we can do to defend you and your company.