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Focus groups are not required for gauging customer sentiment on the Internet. It’s all out there, connected via hyperlinks and crawled regularly by search engine spiders.
KeywordsIn online reputation management, a term that is used when searching the Internet for mentions.—the foundation of categorizing and indexing the Web—make it relatively simple (though possibly time consuming) to listen to the chatter online. Customers are not using channels designated by a company to talk about that organization, but the good news is that the Internet makes it easy for a company to use the channels that customers have selected.
Online reputation management (ORM)Understanding and influencing the perception of an entity online. allows a company to track mentionsIn online reputation management, the instances when a selected brand, company, or staff members are talked about online, usually by clients or consumers. of itself, its staff, its products, its industry, and its competitors. In fact, the tools allow for the tracking of anything; it just comes down to deciding what is relevant to you.
In terms of the company, one can track the following:
In terms of the industry, one can track the following:
In terms of competitors, one can track the following:
For example, if Apple were to use these tools to monitor its reputation, some keywords used for the company might be the following:
For its industry, Apple might use the following:
For its competitors, Apple might use the following:
It is also important to track common misspellings, all related companies, and all related Web sites.
Tracking the names of people key to a company can highlight potential brand attacks or can demonstrate new areas of outreach for a company.
Brand names, employee names, product names, and even competitor names are not unique. To avoid monitoring too much, identify keywords that will indicate that a post has nothing to do with your company and negative match that keyword in your searches.
For example, “apple” could refer to a consumer electronics company, or it could appear in a post about the health benefits of fruit. Finding keywords that will indicate context can help save time. So you could negative match words like “fruit,” “tasty,” and “Granny Smith.”
Thankfully, ORM does not entail hourly searches on your favorite search engine to see what is appearing on the search engine results page (SERPs), although being aware of your search space is vital as well. There are a number of search engines that allow users to narrow a search to particular media or industries, and using RSSAbbreviates all the content most Web sites on the World Wide Web contain in order to provide you with specific content you want. RSS allows you to receive and syndicate this information without requiring you to constantly open new pages in your browser. Also see feed reader. (really simple syndication) means that these results can be updated regularly and kept conveniently in one place.
Remember RSS from Chapter 8 "Social Media"? It means that you can keep track of everything in one central place.
Monitoring all mentions means that the following need to be tracked:
There are a number of different tools that monitor these areas and supply the results via e-mail alerts or RSS feeds. The following are some free tools that are available.
Google has several search services, some of which have been mentioned previously, and periodically adds more to the list. With the services below, an RSS feed is available for the search (Google Alerts sends weekly or daily e-mails with updates), so that all updates can be available through a feed readerAn RSS aggregator that lets you view all your RSS feeds in one place..
There are several search engines that focus solely on tracking blogs, news, and other social media and can provide trends for searches. As well as providing regular updates of new postings, these search engines can provide an overview of a certain period of time.
Keeping track of blog posts is one thing, but mentions of a company can also appear in blog comments and on forum postings. The following two services assist in monitoring comments and forums.
Yahoo! has a number of social media companies under its umbrella, and most provide the opportunity to monitor mentions via RSS.
There might be Web sites that a company would like to monitor for keyword mentions that do not offer RSS feeds. Using a service such as Rollyo (http://www.rollyo.com) allows the creation of a custom search engine that will search those specific sites only.
Listening is the first step to getting involved in the conversation surrounding a company. Using search tools and RSS feeds means that information can be accessed quickly and in one place without the need to visit hundreds of Web sites.