Word-of-mouth advertising has always been a small-business owner’s best friend. When potential clients find out about a business from people whose opinions they trust and respect, they’re far more likely to check that business out than they would be after seeing an advertisement. Negative word-of-mouth is just as damaging as positive recommendations are helpful.
And now that a huge portion of our social interactions take place online, both positive endorsements and negative reviews spread to more people, and they do so much more quickly than they ever have. That’s why it’s essential that small-business owners keep track of what is being said about their businesses online. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to do just that.
Search giant Google offers Google Alerts, a free service that can keep small-business owners in the loop whenever their name or business garners a mention online. The alerts can be set to search for video, news, blogs, discussions, books, or all of the above, and can be received via email or RSS feed.
Originally founded as the first blog search engine Technorati specializes in collecting, highlighting, categorizing, and distributing blog content to users all over the world. The site indexes more than a million blogs, so it’s a very useful resource for small-business owners interested in keeping tabs on the impression their business is making in the blogosphere.
From Delicious to Facebook, Digg to YouTube, SocialMention has the social media scene covered. Business owners need only enter their name into the simple search engine to find out what people are saying on over 100 popular social media sites. It also has useful metrics that assess a brand’s strength in the social arena, how likely the people talking about a brand are to keep doing so, and the overall sentiment about the brand in the social arena.
For employers, Glassdoor can’t be ignored. Here, employees rate companies on compensation, culture, management, work/life balance, and career opportunities. Potential customers may review a business’s Glassdoor profile, and if it seems the business treats it’s employees well and has sound management, that’s a big plus. The quality of reviews a business receives can also affect its ability to attract top talent, and paying attention to anonymous employee feedback can help business owners improve their management technique.
[Photo Credit: www.thedesignerrealty.com]