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If it’s all content, then you had better be tracking it

Last week, I discussed how all content can be online content. No matter what kind of correspondence or connection you make with a client or a prospect in the offline world, there is now potential for that to become an online piece of content whether you want it to or not.

So, if everything that your business produces is now either online or could get there, do you just sit back and hope for the best? Do you assume that everyone is going to talk about your content, ideas and service in glowing terms? I sure hope not, because that would mean you are living in a fantasy world and good business doesn’t take place in Fantasyland.

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So, how do you keep track of what is going on with all of your online efforts? How do you keep track of your online reputation? How do you monitor these things efficiently and effectively? Do you even need to do this?
The answer to that last question is an unequivocal, “Yes.” No matter the size of your business, you have to be tracking what is being said (or not said) online about your business. The reality is that something is being said whether you are monitoring the situation or not. If that is the case, then you’d better be paying attention.
So how do you do this? If you are already stretched thin with limited resources how do you now do yet another thing that everyone like me says is a “must do”? There are a few tools out there that can provide options from self-service to full service. As with everything else in business, you can go from free to fee quickly and there are as many options to consider. Here are just a few.
Google Alerts – This is the most basic form of tracking what is being said online. Most people appreciate the fact that this option is free but managing many alerts can quickly become a very cumbersome task. If you do nothing else, use Google Alerts.
Social Mention – Another free tool that promotes itself as the Google Alerts of social media. There are a few measurements around sentiment but I will be completely honest here: I am not a proponent of automated sentiment analysis. In fact, most companies that offer this feature will admit that best practice is to check behind the automated “assessment” to make sure that it really is correct. Heck, if you have to do that, then why pay for the service from the onset?
Trackur – So, you know I work with Andy Beal who created this tool, and I also work on behalf of Trackur with agencies who are interested in finding a monitoring solution for their toolset. That being said, I will simply encourage you to visit the site and sign up for a free version of the tool to see what you think. I like it ;-).
Alterian’s SM2 (formerly Techrigy) – Another tool that offers plenty of bells and whistles. There is a limited free version of the tool, and agencies can get their own white labeled version of the tool.
Radian6 – As far as the ORM industry goes, most are familiar with Radian6. Price points are higher for this service but they do a great job of being out in front of the industry with their online community and their constant presence at industry events.
There are many ways to keep an online eye on your brand, competition, industry, and more. In fact, there are about 30-40 tools that are competing in this increasingly crowded space. I wish I could say that the competition has created better delivery and service, but I am seeing the industry starting to look a lot like the SEO industry did in its earliest stages, with lots of promises and strong sales language but with delivery often falling short of the pitch.
Regardless of what the industry looks like, though, I believe that every company (yup every single one) should be at least using Google Alerts to keep an eye on the online space they play in every day. Remember, the conversation is taking place whether you choose to get involved or not. I think most will agree that the risk of not participating is too high to just leave it to chance.
Are you involved in your online reputation or are you now nervous because you are not?

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