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Reputation management online is a huge deal these days.  It’s so important to keep up with your brand, to know what’s being said about you, how you are being perceived as a professional, as an entrepreneur, as a person.  Why?  Because how others perceive you determines how they will interact with you.  Your job is to eliminate any potential barriers that keep your message of service to the world from being shared.

But how do you do that? What does it take to monitor your brand online?  The good news is – it doesn’t require that you invest in some high cost tool (unless you are a larger company and you have lots of information to mine).  If you are a smaller business, or a solo service provider, there are some affordable and even free ways to create your own “listening board”.

What is a listening board

A listening board is a dashboard of sorts.  Its a way to keep track of what’s being said, how often, and what sentiment – i.e. positive, negative, neutral is out there on specific topics, or even people.

How do you create one

Basically, you put together keywords and phrases (including your name, name of your company, common words you use in your content, etc) into a search system and let it email/text you with results when it finds something.

Here is one very straightforward, simple way you can start a listening board for your reputation.  There are others as well but this can be done literally in about 5 minutes.

  1. List out keywords and phrases as I mentioned already that might be used to find you online
  2. Go to Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts
  3. Select what type of alert you want to monitor (i.e. videos, blog posts)
  4. Determine how often you want to see it
  5. Click Submit

Wha-la, you now have alerts coming to you so that you don’t have to constantly search online to find out where you are being referenced.  You can even track important or relevant posts into a spreadsheet if you want the real feeling of a dashboard.

Now again, there are other much more savvy ways to get this done. But if you’re looking for quick and free?  This is one way to tackle it.

Hot tip:  if you’re using a mail system that allows you to filter email, set up a folder or label to pull all your alerts to one place so you don’t have to swim through your mailbox to view them.

You can’t be everywhere at once, especially when it comes to seeking information online.  But by taking a few smart steps, you can manage your online brand reputation and create a consistent brand and image that bridges both the online and offline world.

Update – another really neat tool I’ve added to my reputation arsenal?  Try BrandYourself.com to select positive search results you want to see showing up in Google.

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