10 Free Tools for Brand Monitoring, Reputation Management

Now comes some of the “fun” parts of what you have to do in terms of maintaining your personal brand and online equity: Reputation Management!

Essentially the goal is to actively monitor what’s being said about you so that you can respond well to those voices, both good and bad. Remember, people are already talking about you and you have the opportunity to jump into those conversations and steer them in the right direction.

One of the most important things that you’ll have to create after you take a look at all these options is create a method and schedule of use – in other words, some way of managing the tools that are managing your reputation! You see, the challenge that many people ultimately bump up against is having these tools interrupt their busy day with notifications, either through email, social networking sites, or even text messaging!

How annoying and how disruptive! Here’s what I do:

  • Decide a time in my daily calendar where I’ll walk through all tools. This is typically in the early morning of each day.
  • Block out a explicit length of time where I’ll analyze the results and respond to them. Stay true to this time commitment and don’t go beyond it!
  • Have other “check points” during the day just in case there are “fire starter” conversations that need to be addressed. I scan the tools or alerts in my inbox quickly and don’t respond to anything that’s not urgent.

You ultimately have to be comfortable and at peace with not responding and not reacting to the conversations you’re reading but set aside a specific time to engage. It can be tough but you need the discipline in order to stay focused and productive on the many other responsibilities you have during the day!

1. Google Alerts

This is one of the best and easiest to get started as well as most manageable tool that you’ve got: Google Alerts. Just input a few keywords around your brand, especially your name, and you can get email updates (or digests) about all the conversations that are being had about you.

This is a must-have tool! I love it and use it daily.

2. SocialMention

I really like SocialMention because it’s free and it quickly shows the “sentiment” (positive, negative, neutral) of the conversations. If I see numbers overly negative I’ll dive in deeper and see what the fuss is all about.

3. Twilert

Twilert is like Google Alerts but from Twitter. Simple concept and highly functional.

4. TwentyFeet

Not completely well-known but still a good one for those on Twitter and Facebook and who want minimal disruption unless something “interesting” occurs: TwentyFeet.

5. Klout

Although there’s been a lot of ups and downs in terms of Klout and what it’s really about it still is a tool worth checking out. Much less about reputation management it can help you see your influence via Twitter and other tools. It’s worth keeping around or at least in your toolkit.

6. Hootsuite

I use Hootsuite daily. That’s all I’ll say about that.

7. Topsy

With email alerts this things pretty neat. Topsy is free too. Win.

8. Grader

Hubspot’s Grader Tools are incredible. Although they are much less about “active” monitoring you can get in-depth analysis on many of your properties including Facebook, Twitter, your “personality,” and your blog.

9. Twitter Search

Some people swear by Twitter’s Search and use it daily in their workflow. I say go for it if that makes sense for you!

10. Hyper Alerts

If you’re a big Facebook user than Hyper Alerts might be for you.

In addition to the 10 free tools listed above I’ve got three well-priced tools that you might want to check out:

ViralHeat

Even though ViralHeat isn’t a free service it’s a really decently priced system, much more cost-effective than a lot of other players out there (how about $10,000 per month?). I’ve implemented this for many clients and businesses with great results.

SproutSocial

And since I mentioned ViralHeat I might as well mention SproutSocial which isn’t free but also have a competitive “Pro” plan for the same price.

Postling

And yes, a third paid service that’s pretty neat as well. A number of bloggers have used this with great success as well. Postling‘s price is pretty affordable as well.

Hope this helps!

[This is part of the Personal Branding Series.]

  • http://www.churchandwebdesign.com Matt Haff

    Great post!

    I went to checkout SocialMention and if you try to sign up it says there alerts are down and will be back in 1 week. Guess I’ll have to check them out later.

    As for Klout, I find a good use for that is a motivational tool. If your Klout score starts to dip, it means you’re slacking off in your online presence and it’s time to step it up a notch.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      klout’s had some interesting coverage lately. sometimes i like it… sometimes i don’t.

  • http://socialicia.com Alicia

    A really nice list and a lot can be accomplished with those free tools you mentioned. And yes, business owners need to listen so that they’re able to respond accordingly. As important as it is to manage your business reputation, etching out more time to monitor conversations that are being had around your business is often times hard especially when you’re already donning multiple hats. In situation likes these, I’d recommend Google Alerts because of its simplicity and ease of use. Would you agree or is there a tool on the list that you find to be better if you had to choose one to start?

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      start with google alerts. that’s a sure winner.

  • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com Charles Specht

    I guess my lack of experience with all this is most clearly manifest in the sad reality that I have never heard of at least six of these. Sigh….

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      don’t even feel bad about this. who cares. no one! keep learning. don’t stop!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Don’t worry. I’m the same way :)

  • Adam

    Wow whata great list of tools. I have really never tracked like this. I guess now that I have all this information I will start using some of these. Now off to tracking my reputation!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      how’s it going?

  • Michael Windham

    Another handy free tool, that really helps with time management, is NutShellMail. You can connect it with your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Foursquare, and some others I believe. It will send you email digests up to three times per day (you set the frequency) of all the posts since the last digest. So you get to decide when to read them, but don’t have to miss them.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      taking a look…..

  • http://www.mutantminds.com Mutant Minds

    John, what are your thoughts on Technorati for bloggers?

    It can give you an idea where you fit in I think.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      not a fan.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Wow, what an awesome list.
    One thing I’ve done is to start a new stream on hootsuite that is a search on twitter. So search terms will just show up in the stream in real-time. It’s really great for engagement since you can tweet, monitor, and reply simultaneously in the same interface.

    This is one significant advantage of having a strange last name. I can only imagine how hard this is for people with names like “John Smith.”

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Meant to ask (so my comment makes more sense): how do you use hootsuite?

      • http://john.do John Saddington

        i’m actually a fairly normal user of hootsuite… just tabs honestly.

  • http://simplify360.com/ Kavya Kundalia Bisht

    Indeed Very informative article on Social Media tools.
    I would like to add little insight about our Tool.
    Social Media Monitoring Tools not only helps you to check what people have to say about you or your company brand but they also help you analyze the ROI (return on investment), and the steps you need to take to improve your reputation and make your customers happy. One tool which can ease out things is Simplify360http://simplify360.com Management. It also allows users to schedule and track their messages, all with just one click of the button. This tool allows you to View the overall Trend and Download the data on Excel Format, Overall Sentiment of the Brand, Map Overlay of mentions and conversations, Individual Channel’s Report and Advance Filter Option Available, User can view the trend in sentiments and compare between negative and positive trend and many other Insights.

    Thanks
    Kavya Kundalia Bisht
    Community Manager, Simplify360

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ah. thanks for this. checking it out.

  • Paul Herwarth von Bittenfeld

    Hey John, thanks for this social media tools list. And a big thank you for mentioning TwentyFeet. If you have any question regarding TwentyFeet don’t hesitate to contact us (e.g. via Twitter @TwentyFeet).
    Greetings from Germany
    Paul Herwarth
    CEO TwentyFeet

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing!

  • Erick

    Thank you for this helpful list!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      you’re welcome erick!