If you’re new to the idea of reputation management or need help expanding your online reputation management program, you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog post, we explore what reputation management actually is, how it benefits your company, and identify some great resources to help you get started (or expand).

Included in this blog post:

  1. What is reputation management?
  2. Why is reputation management important?
  3. How do I manage online reputation?
  4. 17 tools to manage online reputation

What is reputation management?

Reputation management is the process of protecting the image of a brand. When someone thinks of your brand, what do they think about? Does your brand name give them a good feeling or a bad feeling?

If your character and personality is who you are, your reputation is what other people think your character and personality.

So, if you’re a video conferencing company that provides cloud video services, does the outside world think this when they hear your name?

Zoombombing

Or do they associate it with a news story where your brand name was mentioned? Even if your brand wasn’t directly involved with this news story, the mention could harm your reputation.

By controlling and reacting to external influences, your brand’s reputation stands a better chance of remaining intact. That’s reputation management.

As we have moved into a digital-first world, online reputation management has proven a unique challenge itself. But, this sometimes makes things easier to control and react to.

As all press, media, and social interaction, is available at our fingertips, some reputation management experts believe it is much easier to manage a brand’s online reputation than their offline reputation.

Why is reputation management important?

When people talk, word spreads. This is true more than ever in the world of online press and social media.

The impact of a tweet, for example, could be nil. But, the next tweet could be tremendous. Just as things go viral and become overnight sensations, things go viral and businesses lose clients. Your brand image gets tarnished and some businesses never come back.

Brand image is relatively easy to establish. Okay, there’s a whole growth strategy around being found and attracting clients. But, actual brand image itself is achieved with ease. You know Nike, for example, sells sportswear because every footballer wears its boots. You know “Just Do It” because you know the soccer players.

If every footballer stopped wearing Nike boots, its reputation would take a hit. Something bad has happened to trigger this and your next pair of boots would be Adidas.

In smaller business, you know your local pub goes good food because the sign says good food and you had good food there once.

If someone has bad food in a pub that advertises good food, they will leave a bad review on Trip Advisor and tell their friends to go elsewhere. That’s negatively affecting your brand and your reputation.

Trip advisor reputation management

This is why reputation management is important. What if someone leaves a review on your pub but it was actually a pub with the same name in a different town? How many Red Lions are there in the UK?

You need a method of reacting or correcting your online reputation if things go sour. And in the online world, you need to act fast.

How do I manage online reputation?

There are many ways to manage online reputation. Some people find that manually monitoring social media feeds and working in a reactive manner works best. This is usually true in small business or startups with low online presence.

When it comes to a larger business, or a business with a medium to high online presence, this method is no longer scalable.

In the next section, we take a deep drive into reputation management resources that you can start using today.

1 – Google Alerts

If someone is talking about your brand, you need to know about it. With Google Alerts, there is no excuse not to know when you’ve been mentioned in the news.

You can get an email alert sent for each time your brand (or your chosen brand keywords) is mentioned in any news story or blog post.

How do I create a Google Alert?

  1. Head to Google Alerts
  2. Enter your brand name or specific words you want to be alerted for
  3. Click Show Options
  4. Set the frequency of your alerts
  5. Choose which sources you want Google to search
  6. Enter the email address you wish to be alerted at
  7. Start receiving Google Alerts about your brand

How do I use Google Alerts?

Once you’ve configured Google Alerts for your chosen keywords, you’ll start receiving email notifications each time your brand is mentioned in the news or in any blog post.

Whether it’s good or bad, you’ll be the first to know someone is talking about your brand.

If it’s a positive story, why not share the post on your social media and spread the good news internally?

If it’s a negative story, this is where the reactive side of reputation management kicks in. Consider the following actions once you receive a negative Google Alert:

  • Contact the author of the post to correct any misleading information
  • Inform your internal team or management that a negative story has been published
  • Respond on social media in a respectful and informative manner
  • If needed, create a blog post with your response to confirm your stance on the matter

How do I see my Google Alerts?

Your Google Alerts will be emailed to you at the frequency you specified when setting them up.

To change the frequency or see an overview of your existing Google Alerts, head to Google Alerts and navigate to My Alerts.

Google Alerts tips

When you set up your Google Alerts, make sure you include every possible spelling of your brand. For example, if your brand name is PR Fire, set up a Google Alert for PR Fir and PRFire.

This way, you won’t miss out on Google Alerts when a journalist has rushed an article about your brand to be first out the door.

Another tip is to use as many Google Alerts as you need. A suggestion from Google is that you can set up 1,000 Google Alerts per email address.

2 – Social listening

Outside of articles that are found via Google, people like to talk on social media. Think back to the last complaint you saw on Twitter or the countless Facebook tirades that one connection always has.

If your brand was the subject of one of these, wouldn’t you want to know about it immediately?

Failure to react in the moment could mean a group consensus over incorrect information. Or maybe your brand has been mentioned and the target was a brand with a similar name.

Angry customers venting on social media don’t often see spelling as a top priority.

So, when your brand does get a mention on social media – and not an @ mention, those are easy to spot as you get a notification – you need to know about it.

You could spend all day scouring various social media sites in case someone mentions your brand. But, there is a much more productive and proactive way to do this.

If you read the HubSpot blog on social listening tools, it lists tools like Buffer and Hootsuite which give you insight into your own social posts and mentions.

The key to proactive social listening is finding the mentions outside of your own posts and when you don’t get an @ mention.

Keyhole hashtag tracking

Tools that can help with this include:

  1. Keyhole: a hashtag tracking platform where you can track specific hashtags and keywords related to your brand
  2. Mention: pinpoints your brand keywords across one billion sources worldwide and provides trend analysis on what people are talking about
  3. Awario: listens for posts that ask for recommendations for a product similar to yours and posts where users complain about your competitors
  4. Social Searcher: quickly measure and track what people are saying about your company, brand, product, or service in one easy to use dashboard.

You can get a free trial of these tools by clicking the links above.

3 – Social media management tools

As well as being on the lookout for negative mentions on social media, it’s important to have your own active social media presence.

If your competitor is active on social media and you aren’t, prospects drawing comparisons will side with the most active brand. The last thing you want is for a prospect to open your social media next to your competitor and you have not tweeted since 2018 when your competitor has responded to every query and shares three pieces of content each day.

Managing a social media schedule is hectic if you try to do this in real-time. Set all the calendar alerts you want but what happens when you’re too busy to craft a LinkedIn post?

  1. You rush it and it’s full of typos and the link doesn’t work
  2. You deprioritise it and miss three days worth of social posts because you are “busy”

Social media management software allows you to schedule your posts ahead of time. So, you’ve no need to rush a poor quality Facebook post to keep up with your competitor.

What is the best social media manager?

When it comes to social media management, it really is horses for courses.

Here’s a  brief overview of the best social media management tools. You can learn more and get a free trial of each by clicking the links.

Social Pilot social media management tool

  1. Social Pilot: Worth checking out its free trial immediately. You can schedule posts for pretty much every platform and get instant analytics once a post goes live. You can reply to multiple Facebook posts from the dashboard
  2. Buffer: One of the leaders in social media management with a simple UX. Great for Twitter and Facebook, but the LinkedIn experience is a tad clunky. If GIFs and @ mentions on LinkedIn are your thing, this is not for you.
  3. Hootsuite: Built for creating social media calendars and campaigns as well as simple posting. You can even work on social posts together.
  4. Sprout Social: Doubles as a social listening tool so you can grab inspiration for your next social campaign from your competitors and clients.
  5. Sendible: Accredited partner of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If your business revolves around these three platforms, check it out.
  6. CoSchedule: Combine your blog calendar, workflows, and social media queues with this one. If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing calendar, look no further.
  7. Agora Pulse: Made for those who like flexibility with their posts. Schedule, reschedule, queue, or bulk upload your posts,
  8. eClincher: Includes a post scheduler, social inbox, content management, monitoring, analytics, and a unique visual calendar.
  9. MavSocial: For managing, scheduling, and posting, with a focus on automation so you spend less time crafting posts.
  10. Crowdfire: Inspires your social media schedule by discovering relevant content based on your topics of interest.

4 – Competitor alerts

Other than your own reputation, you should be monitoring the reputation and mentions of your competitors.

For example, if you are the Brand Manager at Pepsi, you should be the person most in the know about the positive and negative press Coca Cola is getting right now.

You can set up Google Alerts for competitors. These will work exactly as your own Google Alerts do. But, these don’t include social media mentions, and if you’ve got a ton of competitors to monitor, that’s a lot of Google Alerts.

In this scenario, you should look at reputation management tools that offer multiple keywords.

Brand24 crawls the web (including social media) for any mention of your desired keywords. This takes reputation management to the next level and filters by date, time, and how important each keyword (or competitor) is.  You get a much nicer view of how your competitors are performing than a daily email from Google Alerts. Here, you can download, filter, and run all sorts of trendy analysis on your keywords.

You can access Brand24 for free, but like all reputation management tools, a monthly fee becomes applicable after your trial.

5 – Reputation management services

If you don’t have the resource to allocate to monitoring, reacting, and planning your own social media, the best alternative is to outsource it to experts who do this day in day out.

PR Fire offers specialist reputation management services to lessen the burden on your business and look after your brand and reputation.

If a bad word has been said against your business online, the effects can linger a long time – and in some instances, be expensive. PR Fire’s reputation management experts help protect and restore your business reputation online. If Google search results about your business bring up unwanted information, PR Fire helps boosts your company’s ranking, buries negative news, and creates positive new content.

To find out more about PR Fire’s reputation management services, click here.