Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
In “Monitoring your Online Reputation in 2013,” contributor Micah Buchdahl described the need to closely monitor what others say about your company online. Firms like Reputation.com have turned digital perception into a successful business, helping individuals and businesses manage how they are perceived online.
It’s an intimidating thing to manage, if in fact there is anything one can do about people’s perceptions posted to news sites and blogs. Businesses can only hope to negate incorrect information online and work to create positive content that counters the negative. However, your reputation is important, so this is a critical process.
For service-oriented businesses, online reviews often mean the difference between boom and bust. Whether it be Google Places for Business, Yelp, Yahoo! Local, or Citysearch, online review websites have become vital outlets for consumers who want to offer their opinions about your business, good or bad. And much like with word-of-mouth, it only takes a few bad reviews to significantly harm your business.
So, what can you do to take control of the situation?
Don’t post fake reviews. That’s for sure. However, you do want to monitor other reviews, actively, and that can eat up a lot of time. So, I’ve put together a synopsis of the most popular tools and services for managing online reviews.
The simplest option is free and powerful. Set up a Google Alert. Here’s how:
- Go to Google.com/alerts.
- Add your business name to the Search Query field.
- Parse for result type, frequency and quantity.
- Enter your email address.
An email will be sent to you with content containing the business name you entered. It’s like having a digital clipping service in your email box.
TweetDeck and HootSuite
Both of these tools allow people to manage social media accounts with relative ease. However, they are also quite useful for monitoring social media content, which puts you in a position to provide timely customer service online. Add your business name to the feed to see anything that comes up on your Facebook page or on Twitter in general.
When you see that somebody is saying something about your business, using these tools puts you in a unique position to respond quickly and progressively.
Online Review Monitoring Services
If time is more valuable than money to you, spending some cash on online review-monitoring services might be the way to go. Here are some of the biggest players in the space.
Reputation.com. While this company’s service is broader than just online reviews, Reputation.com does provide a review-monitoring service. A centralized dashboard allows business owners to monitor changes in public perception, even giving business owners a way to figure out the source of the problem.
ReviewPush. ReviewPush states that it monitors reviews for more than 4,000 businesses. Among its offerings includes multi-site monitoring, which means it keeps an eye open for new reviews on Yelp, Google, Foursquare, Yahoo!, YellowPages, and more. They send you an email when new reviews are posted. Within that email, their system allows you functionality to respond to those reviews.
Review Trackers. Not only does Review Trackers allow for multi-site monitoring in one spot, it specializes in industry-specific review sites like TripAdvisor and OpenTable. This service also gives business owners the capability to sort results by location and date and also offers the ability to respond to reviews.
AreWeOnline.com. This service provides custom checks on Google Places and Yelp for alerts that fall below the business owner’s threshold, checking every five minutes.
Sendible. This business’s focus is social media management, but Sendible also monitors reviews on sites like Yelp and Citysearch.
Trackur. Many business owners use Trackur to monitor news sites, social media, and even YouTube. However, Trackur also offers review monitoring, albeit a bit differently than other services do. Trackur takes RSS feeds from websites like Citysearch and Urbanspoon and adds them to your service. Even if there isn’t a page on these review sites for your business, Trackur can set up a review monitor for your city or state to help you keep track of customer opinions.
Reputation Ranger. Like most other review-monitoring services, Reputation Ranger helps business owners track online reviews with an eye for changes in sentiment. However, this service specializes in three specific niches: Restaurants and bars, plumbers and home contractors, and automotive sales and service.
Chatmeter. In addition to helping business owners track online reviews, Chatmeter Review Management allows businesses to set up review comparisons so you can see how your reviews stack up against the competition’s reviews.