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Monday, November 1, 2010

Monitoring Your Business’s Online Presence

The number of forums, bulletin and message boards, and social networking sites that allow consumers to comment, rant, or rave about a business is continuing to grow. Taking the necessary steps to monitor what others are saying about your business online is an essential component of building and protecting your business’s reputation.

Consumers are not limited to just posting on networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Rather, sites developed to encourage consumer reviews provide a rich bevy of business reviews (for example, Yelp.com and Citysearch.com). Your ability to monitor these sites independently, or one-by-one, may seem a little daunting. Luckily, third party websites can assist you with this task.

You might want to consider a service such as socialmention.com. The site uses your keywords to search through blogs, micorblogs (Twitter), networks, images, video, Q&A, and other information posted online. In addition, a free RSS feed is available to alert users daily about new postings. Another option is Google Alerts (google.com/alerts). This tool works off of the same principle as socialmentions.com but without a Twitter alert search feature. An added feature that Google Alerts does provide is the user can determine how often alerts should be sent. Alerts can be sent weekly or “as-it-happens.”

These tools can also assist producers, retailers, and others about topics consumers are blogging, tweeting, and posting about including trends, hobbies, and interests in new products
and services. By entering keywords/phrases into search boxes on these sites, users may see common themes among those who are posting online and they may even discover new merchandise that would be a good fit for their current product offering.

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