5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing An Online Brand Reputation Management Tool

March 19th 2020
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@ida-jessie-saginaIda Jessie Sagina

Tech enthusiast. Marketing nut. Content creator. Former CyberSec professional

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If Sherlock Holmes were to do an investigation in the digital world, then an ORM - Online Reputation Management tool would be his best buddy. In the words of the inscrutable Holmes, it’s best to never trust impressions but concentrate on the details.

Details regarding your business that can be hunted and fetched from the highs and lows of the internet so that you would know how your brand is perceived by your customers precisely.
Apart from helping you manage your brand reputation, online brand reputation tools aid in gleaning consumer insights, sharpening competitor analysis, and streamlining your customer service.
So as you explore the various online reputation management tools available out there for your brand, here's a set of questions you need to ask before choosing the best fit.

1.Have you crossed the minimum-brand-mentions threshold?

The number one question you should be asking is - does your business need a paid tool now? 
Note the word now.
If your business has just started making an online presence and you’re in the process of building a website, creating social media handles, and generating a buzz through paid PR and guest articles, then wait.
Wait till you gain more traction online.
Till then, Google Alerts is there to help.
You can create alerts for your business name from preferred sources (blogs, news, web, videos,etc..) at a frequency of your choice ( as it happens / daily / weekly) and have it delivered via mail or RSS feed.
As your business’ online footprint you might have to consider a software solution that would manage the increasing number of mentions.

2. How many sources does the tool monitor?

Once you’ve outgrown Google Alerts and see the need to monitor Facebook tags, tweets, and track every single mention about your brand, it’s important to know what you would like to listen to and from where.
Social media, blogs, news, review websites, discussion forums popular in your industry, and competitor sites, can be tracked to know what’s being said about your business as well as your rivals.
While your business is garnering attention online, monitoring thousands of websites is not an understatement.
You don’t want to take the risk of missing out a single mention that when gone unnoticed puts your business in a bad light.
Reach out to the tool’s support team to know the websites they ping to collect the required intel for you.
More the sources, safer your brand reputation!

3. Does the tool instantly notify of brand mentions for effective crisis management?

Real-time notifications of your brand’s references on the internet have become an absolute must in online reputation management tools.
And why’s that?
42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes according to Jay Baer, a popular digital marketing strategist.
Isn’t 60 mins too less a time to sort out the issue?
People are not looking for a complete solution to their issue but a simple apology within an hour made 45% of respondents in a survey withdraw their earlier comments!
Timely responses and acknowledgments to customer queries, complaints, and even their gratitude show that you hear them. 
That you value them.
What a great way to win their loyalty!
Spotify is one brand that has won the trust of its users by addressing their issues mostly on time. They even have a @SpotifyCares handle to explicitly listen to customer grievances. 
Quick tip: Look for a tool that not just spots @YourBrand on the web but also picks on keywords, hashtags and unformatted mentions of your brand.

4. Is the context of reviews given more importance than content?

Most reputation management tools have this amazing feature of categorizing comments and reviews as positive, negative or neutral by scrutinizing the content automatically.
This would help you set automated responses or prioritize and respond to reviews efficiently.
While choosing a tool, see how accurately it can classify a review based on the context ie. a customer’s intended attitude, rather than keeping score of “good” and “bad” words in the review.
Segregation of reviews based on just counting the bad words would work if not for the Chandler Bings in your customer base.
Here’s a sarcastic note made by a frustrated traveler regarding a canceled flight.
When you and I read the tweet, we can clearly sympathize with his situation.
But can a machine sniff the true intention?
Opinions expressed by people are complex and a process that helps machines find their true tone is known as sentiment analysis - a major milestone in Natural Language Processing.
Go for an reputation management tool that has a robust layer of sentiment analysis with advanced sarcasm detection capabilities.

5. Does the tool generate insightful reports that you can act on?

In the age of analytics and the ever bigger data, a tool that can’t produce meaningful reports is turning obsolete.
While monitoring your brand’s online presence, data is churned for every keyword across various channels. And you don’t want to add to the data mess that you’re already drowning in.
Hence, reports that depict key data points such as the demographics where your brand’s gaining popularity or the marketing campaigns that are performing well with customers enable you to make informed decisions. 
In the absence of such data visualization reports, you would either have to mull over spreadsheets and pivot tables or let the monitored information sit idle.
An ORM tool that allows you to pull customized reports with actionable intelligence would be perfect for your business.

Final note

An online reputation management tool helps you get a hold on the intangible asset of brand reputation. When an efficient tool is picked, the benefits reaped are priceless. 
Check if the tool can easily gel with your current CRM tools to avoid any data silos. Before you consider investing in a reputation management tool, see if you’re nodding a strong yes to all the above questions.
At X-tract.io, we understand the expectations of a holistic online reputation management tool and employ a hybrid approach in monitoring brands. 
(Disclaimer: The author works at X-Tract)

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