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4 Free Tools to Help You Keep an Eye On Your Brand
By: Mark E. Brown
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I have a common name. Not a week goes by without a phone call or letter looking for the Mark Brown who skipped bail, didn’t pay his child support, or is past due on his payments for his 1991 Ford F-150 pickup. I have yet to figure out why all of my namesakes are such deadbeats.

What I have come to realize is that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Mark Browns potentially wrecking havoc on my finely tuned personal brand (of course I am sure some other Mark Brown probably thinks I am killing his reputation). Because we live in a time where there are no secrets, brand monitoring is a vital undertaking for any individual or company.

Chances are, you are being talked about on the Web with or without your involvement or approval. And, as any celebrity knows, those comments or conversations travel very, very fast! Depending on how popular your brand is, there may be a few people talking about it or thousands. Regardless of the popularity, just one negative blog post or tweet can cause permanent damage to you so you need to listen in.

Here are four free tools that comprise a basic reputation management system:
  • Google Alerts
The old workhorse of reputation management. Google alerts provided email updates of the latest Google search results based on the topic you provide. The alerts track news articles, videos and blog posts. Make sure and set a comprehensive alert that lets you know in real time about stories for your company, name, or topic.  It is a powerful tool and only takes a couple minutes to set up.(By the way, here is a hint if you are searching for job: input the name of the companies you have applied to and you will have the most current information on them for your job interview).
  • FriendFeed
FriendFeed is a social aggregator. With FriendFeed you can take all of your social accounts, such as Facebook, YouTube, Delicious, Twitter, blog, and Flickr and combine them into a single feed. You can conduct searches on your brand throughout all social networks at once using this search engine. A great benefit of FriendFeed is the ability to view not only the latest Tweet or video, but all the comments that people leave on any of the social accounts. 
  • Technorati
Technorati is the largest blog search engine in the world. If you or your company are blogging, then you must be on Technorati. Register your blog and Technorati tracks or blogs that link to yours or any blog reactions. Subscribe to RSS alerts on the site so when someone blogs about you, you will hear about it.
  • Twitter Search
Tweets move fast, and if you are not on top of them, you can get buried before you know what hit you. With Twitter search, you can see If anyone is talking about you and then decide whether to join the conversation or not. Search for your name, your company’s name, and any topics you have an interest in, and then sign up for an RSS feed.

Engage these four tools and you have the basic foundation of a reputation management system, which keeps you on top of the conversations about you or your company. I usually check my status once a day. Stay engaged and on top of this and you will be the first to know when people are talking about you behind your back.


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About the Author

Mark E. Brown is a personal branding expert, professional speaker, and business growth advisor. He has owned a number of award winning ad agencies and is the founder of Mark Brown Strategies, a communications and marketing agency. You can follow Mark on Twitter and on Linkedin.  

 
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