This is a guest post by Kimberley Laws:
One of your greatest assets, both personally and professionally, is your online reputation, but it is something that is often overlooked. Your internet image is out there, representing you, earning you new clients and winning you your dream job – even while you are sound asleep. Surely, your online reputation, the hardest working member of your Public Relations team, deserves your attention.
And one way to ensure that it remains polished to a glossy sheen is to monitor it regularly. By putting a few easy-to-use and free social media monitoring tools to work for you, you will be able to make sure that your online image remains blemish-free.
Thanks to a few simple tools, you will know whether your customers are spreading the love or the hate.
Here are some user-friendly tools that will make your life—online and off—much easier.
An important reason for closely monitoring your online reputation is so that you address negative comments as soon as they arise. This enables you to resolve issues before they escalate and before they reach a large number of prying eyes.
You likely don’t have the time, or the desire, to put your business name and your own name into Google dozens of times each day. Thanks to Google Alerts, you no longer have to.
Google Alerts is an extremely usable tool that lets you know every time your name or your business name pops up in blogs, news, or social media feeds. You will be the first to know when someone is bashing your business name—and when someone is praising it.
Just remember that Google Alerts will only keep you abreast of new findings on Google’s Search Engine.
Social Mention is the ultimate catch-all social monitoring service, enabling you to monitor over 100 social media platforms. Simply downloading the Social Mention search bar to your browser, you will be ready to go. You set the schedule and reports will begin arriving in your e-mail’s inbox.
If reports are right up your alley, you will be happy to know that Social Mention has the ability to collect data from all of its sources and provide you with a myriad of helpful statistics that pertain specifically to you and your business.
Not only is Addictomatic a useful social media monitoring tool, but like its name suggests, it is downright addictive.
Simply enter the words you want to track—which, again, may include your personal or business names—and Addictomatic will yank related content from a plethora of sources including Google, Yahoo, Youtube, Flickr, and more. This is both an awesome tool for monitoring your online reputation and for keeping on top of what of any topic across a broad range of sources.
The only downfall is that it does not send you automatic updates. Instead, you must periodically return to your dashboard to check the results.
This useful Twitter tool is more than just a cute name. It is designed to sort through Twitter’s tremendous traffic and pull out the tweets that pertain to you and your company. If someone mentions your business, your products, or your blog, even if they’ve used a shortened URL, you will be alerted via e-mail every hour. And everyone loves to say tweetbeep.
Like Tweetbeep, Hootsuite allows its users to monitor search words on Twitter, but it comes with a bevy of other features that some might find useful. It allows you to take advantage of peak tweeting hours without picking up your mobile device. Simply schedule messages in advance and Hootsuite will ensure that your followers will enjoy your steady online presence—even in your absence.
Hootsuite also enables you to monitor several social media platforms —Facebook, LinkedIn, and Myspace, for example—from one handy dashboard.<br>
If blogging is your thing, you will be happy to know that there is a tool designed specifically with blogs in mind. By registering your personal or business blog, you can count on Technorati to keep you informed if anyone mentions you, your blog, or one of your posts across a large repertoire of the hottest blogs.
And, once again, for the statistics lovers, Technorati also provides its users with ranking data. One flaw with this tool is that it does not recognize some smaller blogs, some of which are quite well written.
By simply using a few tools, you can ensure that your online image remains your number one sales representative—maintaining current customers, bringing in future ones, and opening all the right doors. And these tools are more than just easy to use and cost-free—they’re fun. So enjoy.