The Wall Street Journal:

Brand reputation, or what your customers think about your business, is crucial for any small company that wants to attract new clients and grow a business.

What one customer says in a blog or product review can directly influence another customer’s decision to choose you over your competitors.

Here are four ways you can monitor your brand online:

1. Google Alerts: Set up a once-a-day alert for the names of your company, key products and top executives so you can check every time they’re mentioned on a Web site or news story. You can also set up alerts to track the same information about your competitors.

2. Social-media buzz: At Serph.com, you can search social-media sites that Google Alerts may not catch. For example, Serph pulls results from social-bookmarking site del.icio.us and social news site digg.com, among others.

3. Customer reviews: Monitor and respond to what customers are saying about your business on review Web sites like Yelp.com and Citysearch.com. These sites allow businesses to register with the site so they can customize their listings with contact information and better interact with customers.

4. Yahoo Pipes: This service allows you to set up a “pipeline” that aggregates information from search engines, miniblogging tool twitter, photo-sharing site flickr and other Web portals that could be mentioning your business.

Photo by bp1.blogger.com.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on June 26, 2008 in Ideas.

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