With the explosion of Social Media in the last 6 months, there's a lot of new places that marketers and business people need to start monitoring their reputation on. From search engines to forums to social news sites, knowing who's talking about your company, its executives, your products or services online, is every more important. Social media, whether marketers like it or not, is here and it's where Word of Mouth Marketing is starting and it also affects Search Engine results. So with that in mind, I compiled a list of places to keep an eye on. Feel free to comment, I'll add places if I've glaringly omitted a site.
Search Engines are the foremost place you should be looking at managing your reputation. Who’s ranking for your company name, executive names, product or services? Your own website should be, if its not, its wise to figure out why you aren’t and another person is. You should also be concerned about who is ranking around you, the classic example is a search for the brand term “Starbucks.”
The directories, although they can be outdated, are still a place to make sure you are being represented in the proper way. When directories list your site, sometimes they misspell things, or get a description of a site completely wrong. If you paid to have your site included, make sure the submission is exactly how you want to be represented.
Social News Sites
One of the newest places that you need to keep an eye on for how your company, services and products are being represented. Although there isn’t much you can do to correct inaccurate information on these services, you should be aware it is out there and where its’ being reported.
It’s great when people can bookmark your website’s pages and share them. It’s a headache when they tag them wrong, or put in a wrong description and you start receiving traffic from them for all the wrong reasons. Like Social News Sites, there’s not a lot you can do to correct these errors, but knowing about them is half the battle, and knowing allows you to prepare how to handle the inaccuracies.
Have you secured your company’s MySpace page yet? Yes, as silly as it sounds, a MySpace or Facebook page for your company would be a smart move. It would stop impostors, and you could get the added benefit of being able to spread the “true” news to a whole network of very interested “Friends”.
Photo Sharing Sites
Photo sharing sites are a great place to share your logos, product pictures, and even photos of events your company is sponsoring. It is also a place you need to monitor for your company’s name, products and services. Like bookmarking sites, tags and descriptions can be added to photos, and although you cannot do much to change someone else’s perception, it’s about being aware of its inaccurate presence.
The wild, wild west of the internet, where a bad name can be created with one blog post, otherwise known as the Blogosphere. The most recent example of this is Jennifer Laycock’s incident with the National Pork Board. Within hours, the blogosphere went wild with this story. There have been other incidents like the Kryptonite Bike Lock incident, Microsoft’s giving laptops to bloggers, and Edelman & Walmart’s Flogging come right to the forefront of my mind. You need to keep an eye on the blogosphere, set up feeds to check what’s being posted about you, or look to see what kind of “buzz” is around your reputation.
Be aware, and come up with a game plan how to fix your problem if one creeps up. Also making sure to “claim” your site/blog/name on services like Technorati and MyBlogLog are essential. The last thing you want is an impostor getting a hold of your brand and doing damage.
There’s a few other places that you should be aware of that don’t particularly fall into a “category”, but are equally important because of either the weight of their “perceived” authority or the viral effects and ability to spread news.
I tried to round it to a number, but I think 31 on is just enough for any marketer to keep an eye on. How about you, do you have any place in mind that I missed? Feel free to comment below!