|We owe much thanks to people like Andy Beal who continue to provide awareness, great insight and urgency to online brand and reputation monitoring efforts. Andy's recent post about 12 reputations you should monitor inspired me to post about my own thoughts on the matter here. My own spin on it - appropriately termed "being keen" means being dilligent.|
Even proactive. They are suggestions which might even appear to some as taking things into a defensive monitoring mode. No matter how you look at it, what matters is that they work. I've decided to break the posts down into several parts to make it easier to review and remember. I have rarely heard these ideas and techniques enter into the ORM fold but they definitely should be included in the mix.
Your Email. Simply put, this is one of the most important assets for many businesses - especially technology companies or those companies which use the Internet to directly interface with the consumer. Surprisingly, few businesses who understand the need to monitor any/all mentions of board members, CEO's, or anyone in their company in the public eye, rarely think to also monitor their emails addresses. Sweeping the web of any posts which include their email addresses means you could stay on top of any post which might exist. Abuses range from disgruntled employees, critics, or people with extreme views attempting to steer the opinions of online audiences to their inboxes to get their attention.
There is also the possibility that spammers may harvest email addresses of companies using search engines. Many of them have special harvesting scripts which produce all known aliases associated to a domain. Spam clutter could get especially problematic when scripts send millions of messages to people using your company's email address. One way some bloggers and regular online posters have tried to fend off email harvesters is to spell out the alias[at]domain[dot]com. Image captures of the email address have also helped to reduce the incidence of falling victim to such schemes.
To make sure nothing nasty is happening online with the use of any email tied to your company or its good name, here are some suggestions:
- Web Search (Google, Ask, Yahoo) on "@yourdomain.com"
Notes: This is a broad search so no alias is used. I used the US commercial extension .com for my example, however you should run the search on whatever existing domain extension that is linked to company email profiles. Another important point is that some companies may have an exclusive domain linked to their email and in such cases, you want to make certain you include whatever variations exist. The search should be performed at least once a month (twice a month for larger companies). Review every post incident at least once. Not surprisingly, this technique can also be used to determine any forms on your blog or website that are being exploited for spamming purposes. If this happens, disable those forms until a CAPTCHA system has been deployed.
- Blog Search (Technorati, Ask, Icerocket) searches on "@yourdomain.com"
Notes: Similar to the above, review every incident even if there are hundreds of pages - you're sure to discover something new each time you perform these broad searches.
- Perform seperate searches including the aliases of high-profile, senior level staff (ie. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Search on the email address of the person handling your communications - (ie. email@example.com)
Notes: In one assignment, we actually discovered a post that referenced the communications person that was included in a newswire release. The communications person worked for an outside PR agency and because the poster badly mispelt the name of the company, the post might not have otherwise been caught.
Final tips: broaden the searches on forum search tools like Boardtracker, Boardreader, and Omgili. For any offensive content, you may also want to perform a wayback search at the Internet Arhive to see how long its been lingering - especially useful when you're engaged in getting content pulled, and knowing the footprint of any mirrored or archived instances.
Video: being one of the top most searched terms, your social media monitoring strategy must incorporate video search. On the video monitoring front, you may track mentions on YouTube via RSS using the following convention - note [SEARCH_TERM] is where you insert your keyword(s):
DID YOU KNOW: You are also able to search comments on YouTube.
The scope of our RepuTrace™ and RepuTrack™services incorporates strategies like these and much more - visit us online and schedule a demo to find out how we can help your business stay on top of online developments.
In case you missed the second and third parts:
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Below are some links to product or company mentions in mainstream media:
Protecting the firm’s name on the web | Law Times
Safeguard Your Brand Reputation Online | Inc. Technology
They’ve got their eyes on you—are your ears burning? | ComputerWorld Canada
Blog author threatens to go "on a killing spree" | CNW Group
Blog author threatens to go "on a killing spree" | PR Newswire
Tips on Safeguarding Your Online Reputation | WSJ Startup Journal