When you run the kind of online business where you maintain a very public front, brand management will continue to play a very critical role in maintaining and growing your success. This is true of professional bloggers and freelance writers, just as much as it is true of designers, developers, online stores and more. If you’ve got a name and the public perception of that name is important, then you should be keeping a close eye on when people mention your name or your brand.
With so much chatter going on around the Internet, it can feel intimidating and overwhelming to keep up with it all. While it would be impossible for you to catch every time that someone has something to say about you or your company, good or bad, it is in your best interest to catch as much of it as you can. In general, a positive brand image is going to be a good thing. And for a lot of this, we turn our attention to social media.
HootSuite for Twitter Mentions
My favorite social media dashboard is HootSuite. You can manage multiple Twitter profiles, among other social media accounts, and it’s all laid out in logical tabs and columns. Some of the other additional features include advanced analytics and the ability to schedule your updates.
In the context of monitoring your brand, it’s helpful here that you can set up columns in your HootSuite dashboard for almost anything you like. One of the most obvious would be to list all of your Twitter mentions and this will pick up any time someone uses @username (replacing username with your Twitter handle). These are the easiest to track, of course, but not everyone is going to message you directly like that.
That’s why it’s good you can also set up columns with specific Twitter search terms and HootSuite can monitor that for you. This can be for hashtags, if you’re running a social media campaign, but it can also be for regular words. And just like a Google search, you can put quotation marks around your search term to get an exact match.
Mention for Facebook Updates
Offered as a basic free plan or with pro plans starting at $29/month, Mention can monitor several different social networks, news sites, forums and blogs, but perhaps its most useful and robust usage case is for Facebook.
Basically, Mention lets you monitor online conversations in real time so you can see exactly what people have to say about you, your company or your brand. You can then respond to them immediately and put out any fires before they rage out of control. You know how quickly that kind of stuff can spread on the Internet, particularly to your detriment.
While it is the most valuable when you can react to these mentions in real-time (thanks to the push notifications), Mention also gives the option to receive daily or weekly digests via email. And there are mobile apps for ease of use too.
Google Alerts for Blogs and Websites
An errant tweet or Facebook status update can get lost in the social media noise pretty easily, but if someone writes an extensive rant on their blog about the horrible experience they had with your company, you should probably address that so you don’t lose any other customers over similar issues.
By far one of the easiest and most robust solutions here is Google Alerts. You simply tell Google what keywords you want to watch and Google will tell you when a website has had something to say relevant to that keyword. Your name or your brand make the most logical sense here.
Under the settings, you can choose to receive individual alerts in separate messages or you can receive a daily or a weekly digest at the time of your choosing. It’s really simple and straightforward. It’s important to note that Google Alerts doesn’t seem to work for social media mentions, which is why the above two tools should be a part of your arsenal too.