20 DAY PR CHALLENGE – DAY 16

by helen on July 24, 2011

My essential tools for reputation management

I have over 15 years’ experience in PR. I have spent those years listening to lots of conversations about all sorts of industries so that I can help make my clients relevant to their target audience.

Tracking industry and client mentions in the media, attending key exhibitions, hosting customer events, staff briefings and brainstorming have always been essential to ensure the delivery of effective PR campaigns.

I have used tools for media monitoring, event management, media targeting… there have been a few, some good and some not so good.

Here are a couple of free online tools I think are essential for reputation management – and that you should be using every day.

Google Alerts  

In Day 9 I talked about how you can track the movers and shakers in your industry using Google Alerts. It really is a great way to find out what is being said about you, your company and your sector. Have you set up some alerts yet?

The new Google “Me on the Web” reputation management tool is worth a mention here too. If you have a Google account (and if you haven’t, get one) you can use this new tool – it’s free and, as with most things Google, it’s dead easy to use. You get to it via your Google dashboard.

You can track mentions of your brand/company/name (you set what it looks for) and it also tells you how to remove unwanted content. Give it a try today.

Hootsuite

Q: What is Hootsuite?

A (according to Hootsuite):

HootSuite is the Social Media Dashboard!

Rather than being a social network, HootSuite allows you to connect to multiple social networks from one website.

HootSuite helps organizations use the social web to launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience, and distribute targeted messages across multiple channels.

Using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard, teams can collaboratively schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, WordPress and other social networks via web, desktop or mobile platforms plus track campaign results and industry trends to rapidly adjust tactics.

In a nutshell, Hootsuite saves you time and makes it easier for you to engage with your target audience via social networks.

I concentrate on Twitter and Linkedin, with a bit of Facebook thrown in for good measure (everyone says it’s THE place to be, but I’m not convinced it’s right for B2B just yet…).

The whole point of social networking is that you build and engage with a community or “tribe”. Depending on their preference, some may use Twitter, some Linkedin, some Facebook, some Foursquare etc. You need to engage with them where they are socialising. Do you have time to implement campaigns on each of the platforms? Would it be quicker to use one “dashboard” to monitor conversations and post updates?

Hootsuite is your answer.

There are others (Tweetdeck is also popular). But Hootsuite is the dashboard I use every day.

Why?

  • Streams – I can monitor my Twitter lists, keywords, my Linkedin connections, my Facebook Page news feed, my @mentions on Twitter… all in one window, and all “live”. I can easily check what people are talking about – people I know and follow, or people who I don’t know who are talking about my topics and therefore I might want to follow. For example, if you provide interim management services you might what to set up a stream which shows all the Twitter mentions of “interim manager”.
  • Publisher – I can schedule Tweets, Facebook or Linkedin status updates. Automating updates needs to be managed carefully – the whole point of social networking is that it’s “live”. So don’t schedule updates for when you can’t monitor responses – it’s like starting a conversation and then leaving the room once someone tries to talk to you. Having said that, being able to allocate an hour to schedule tweets for a particular campaign over the course of a week is a real time-saver.
  • Analytics – I can monitor and measure the success of my social media campaigns. I can see which tweets are popular, and which one’s aren’t. I can build a report showing a general overview of a company’s overall social media activity. I can start out with the Twitter profile summary module, which breaks down the basics: number of followers, number of people an account is following and the number of lists on which the account is included. All Techie News talks about the possibilities here.

And that’s just for starters.

There’s loads you can get – for free – with your basic Hootsuite account. I am only just beginning to scratch the surface.

Here’s some advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office about using Hootsuite.  

If you are a Hootsuite fan, what’s the most useful thing you can do with it? Or, if you use another dashboard – why?

If you aren’t already, give Hootsuite and Google Alerts a try. At the very least, they will help you monitor conversations relevant to your business and give you some ideas about how you can engage with your target audience.

Image courtesy Laurel Papworth, Creative Commons

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