Posts By: Curator
The New Field
Online reputation is a field that is not very well understood by many people. Most people think that an online reputation is just a curiosity–something people look at when they’re bored and don’t take seriously. However, consider this: If you are considering buying a product from two companies and one of them has a positive online reputation and the other has a severely negative reputation, which company will you be purchasing that product from? You can bet that 99 out of 100 people would choose the company with the more positive online reputation.
Dealing With the Issue
Individuals and companies who find that they have been defamed online, or that negative past results do not accurately reflect the positive present, will sometimes turn to online reputation tools, whether they are for monitoring or repairing their reputation online, for help. There are a wealth of these tools available online, but not all of them are actually effective. Even amongst the tools that are effective, not all of them are cost-effective. In other words, many of them are much more expensive than their utility deserves.
StatsMix As The Solution
One tool that is both cost effective and efficient is StatsMix. The idea behind this tool is to track, chart, and share social media statistics. The monitoring and analysis of social media has become a very important industry as of late as the Internet has risen in importance to the commercial world.
So what is StatsMix? Let’s look to the website itself.
StatsMix is a web-based service that makes it easy to track, chart, and share all your important metrics.
StatsMix is based in Boulder, Colorado and was recently a part of TechStars, a mentorship-driven seed stage accelerator.
Tom Markiewicz, Derek Scruggs, and Sandy Rich make up the core leadership team at StatsMix. They have created a company that is dynamic and serves the interests of the clients well. They are not obsessed with over-complicating their software. Rather, they try to simplify their software to the point where any client can learn to use it within minutes. This makes StatsMix both functional and cost-effective. With all of the social media monitoring and analysis software out there, it is sometimes hard to differentiate between the software that is actually helpful, and the software that is simply a waste of money and time. StatsMix is the former, as multiple online reviews attest to.
There are four pricing plans of StatsMix, ranging from “Developer”, which is free but offers only a limited number of features and tools, to “Pro”, which is only $99 per month and gives you full access to the entire software suite. The many tools you can find access to in the Pro plan will help to analyze and quantify any social media situation. Unlike many social media analyzers, there is no long term commitment involved when you pay for StatsMix, you can cancel your contract at any time. It’s a simple matter of paying for the service from month to month, without any longer-term contract. StatsMix is a software company that has met with considerable success because it cares about the needs of the clients first and foremost.
Ordering Pizza and How the Internet Is Involved
The Internet is an expansive source of information that many people look to for even the most basic reasons. If they are looking to order a pizza for dinner, people will often Google the nearest pizza places, whether they deliver, pricing schemes, coupons, customer reviews, etc. All of this information affects their decision on where to order pizza from, what kind of pizza to order, etc. If you do not think that the Internet is having a major impact on even non-Internet based businesses, then you can’t see the world around you as its changing.
The Many Avenues of Information
Blogs, forums, social networking, micro-blogging, review sites, and full-fledged articles; All of these act as important sources of information to the average consumer when they are comparing products, services, or companies. Keeping up with all of these methods of online communication would be quite difficult for one business to do, especially if that business is not some multi-national corporation that can devote an entire salary to doing just that, but is instead a small or medium sized business that simply can’t afford bad publicity online.
The Solution: Viralheat
Viralheat is a product that can help these companies, even the large ones, to deal with their online reputation issues by monitoring and analyzing the information that is gleaned from the Internet. Some of the companies and brands that makes use of Viralheat are the National Hockey League, Coca Cola, Tivo, HP, Microsoft, Nokia, ESPN, MTV, Disney, and Ebay. There are, of course, many more small and medium sized companies that take advantage of this high quality product too.
What Do They Look At?
Viralheat’s coverage of the online conversation extends to all manner of social media, including Google Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, Real-time Web, Youtube, and others. Of course, all of this information is useless to a customer if they don’t have a way to read the raw data and analyze it effectively. The in-depth analysis provided by Viralheat is very high quality. Furthermore, the Viralheat platform allows companies and brands to find their detractors and advocates online–people who are either trumpeting their positive aspects or saying negative things about them online. If a company or brand wants to understand how to have a more positive online image, this is a key step in the process.Viralheat makes the entire process easier and helps you to take the steps, one by one.
Viralheat is considered a social media measurement platform and ease of use and effectiveness are considered two of the top values for the company’s platform. Millions of blogs and websites are scoured, hundreds of video aggregation and uploading sites are searched, and social networking websites are constantly monitored in order to get the information that is necessary for Viralheat to give an accurate picture of a client’s online reputation to them at any given time.
Viralheat was co-founded by Raj Kadam and Vishal Sankhla in January 2009. The company has over 1500 customers in 70+ countries, which is an impressive feat in and of itself.
Social Media’s Control of the Reputation Online
Social media is not just connections between people online. It is a connection amongst people, businesses, organizations, groups, charities, common interests, etc. Most pronounced on sites like Facebook and Google+, social media occurs all over the Internet in various ways, through crowd-sourcing, through search engines, and of course through social networking.
Social media has become important in the business world because it leads to a great deal of information being shared that has an effect on the various businesses, organizations, and individuals who care about their reputations. Of course, virtually every business ought to care about their reputations, regardless of their size, industry, or location.
Regardless of Size
Whether it is a small company, a medium-sized company, or a multi-national corporation–reputation is important. Individuals look to a company’s reputation to tell them something about that company, their products, their services, the customer service, the owners, the history. The Internet is one of the main repositories of information that individuals turn to for help. They seek out more information by plugging a company or individual’s name into the search engine. Usually what they are met by is information provided by other users, not solely information from the searched-entity’s websites. What this means is that, for the most part, businesses and individuals are not in control of their own reputations.
If that concept scares you, it should. All companies (and generally speaking, individuals too) want to be in control of their reputations to whatever degree possible, so that they can help to shape the public perception of the business. Online reputation management is an industry that can help individuals, organizations, and companies to take more control of their online reputations and fight back against online defamation, untrue reviews, and underhanded comments from competitors. Online reputation management must be preceded by online reputation monitoring first.
The Company Offering Solutions
Cyveillance Solutions is a company that provides online reputation monitoring services. They call it “brand intelligence”, but it is the same concept. They are monitoring any online activity that mentions your brand, products, keywords, etc. Their brand intelligence program works on a near-realtime basis, meaning as soon as there is an issue, you will know of it.Cyveillance Solutions. The company has been around since 1997 and actually provides a number of IT and security-related services in addition to their brand intelligence service.
A High Quality Product
The importance of monitoring what people are saying about you, your company, or your products online cannot be overstated. Your reputation is how newcomers will judge your business and you may not ever get a shot if they already have a predisposition against you. The way to prevent this is to dilligently monitor your online reputation and fight back as effectively as possible. Cyveillance Solutions’ Brand Intelligence product is a high quality way to monitor and prepare to fight back against online defamation, as well as engaging customers in meaningful discussion about products and services.
This is a link to their brand intelligence page:
A Review of the product from Tech Biz Talk:
And finally, a little additional information about the company itself:
The online reputation has come to dominate boardroom conversations about large corporate entities, so why shouldn’t smaller businesses start concerning themselves with these issues? The general reason people give is that they simply cannot afford to spend money on online distractions. However, the truth is that they cannot afford not to–the Internet these days is a very important source of information for prospective consumers.
The Small Company Effect
Small companies tend to think that all they can do is their best and hope that customers will reflect that kindness back upon them. However, this is optimistic at best and naive at worst. There are many misanthropes out there who make use of the Internet to damage other people and company’s reputations just because they can. While it takes years to build up a great reputation, it can take minutes to destroy one online.
Even if someone is not actively trying to destroy a company’s reputation, often negative online chatter will show up in the top search results or on social networks just in time to cost you significant amounts of money. Negative comments about a company on a review website, on random forums, in the blogosphere, or on social networks has a way of biting back at the company. It is for this reason that companies should pay attention to what is being said about them online.
Not Good Enough
Doing occasional market research or online surveys simply is not good enough more. While it once sufficed, it is now a negligent way to handle media monitoring, especially the online component. Feedback forms and emailed complaints or compliments just can’t do it anymore. You have to be more proactive, and for the most part that means working with some experts.
Overtone: Offering the Solution
Overtone is a company that helps other firms to monitor the online discussion about them, their products, services, etc. If you want real-time intelligence on what customers are saying about your business and your industry in general, then Overtone is a company that absolutely can help.
The Product: OpenMic
OpenMic is a product that Overtone bills as a “Customer listening system” and that seems to be pretty accurate. It is all about haring the voice of the customer online and taking heed of what they are saying in order to improve upon your company’s existing infrastructure, products, customer service, etc. Keyword based online media monitoring is certainly more helpful than nothing at all, but it doesn’t do the job anymore in an age when the Internet is so expansive. This is more than buzz monitoring–OpenMic actually deciphers the intent of the messages and analyzes them.
This is the website of both Overtone and OpenMic.
Whenever possible, I like to include a link to the company or product’s crunchbase profile. So here you go:
This is a video, actually, a demo of the advanced sentiment analysis.
Lastly, this is a news article from DigiDaily about Overtone’s entry into the “customer listening” market.
The Importance of Links
The importance of a link is often under appreciated. Online reputation management consultants and specialists often understand it, but few others do. This is particularly true of the businessman, who is so often savvy when it comes to their industry but uninformed when it comes to social media or online stirrings. With that said, many people are now starting to understand how incredibly improtant the Internet in general is to the real world. What the Internet says about you, your company, your product, or your service might as well be the truth–because that is how people many are going to receive the information, as the undisputed truth.
Harnessing Social Media
Even more specifically, people have begun to understand and harness social media. The Internet is essentially the largest network in the world and it allows for semi-anonymous (or completely anonymous) mass communication. Companies, public institutions, and individuals must learn to confront the issues that go along with this.
Engaging in the Conversation
E-reputation audits are an essential part of knowing where you or your company stand online. This is often called online reputation monitoring, too. Whatever it is called, it must consist of watching the social media, including twitter, facebook, and the blogosphere, for mention of the keywords. Understanding the criticisms, praise, and lack of knowledge of your product or service by potential customers online is the key to being more successful. To do this, online reputation monitoring must be used.
Linkfluence: A Solution to An Online Issue
One of the most exciting platforms for social media monitoring and engagement right now is Linkfluence. The company uses innovative tools and methods to help clients analyze and engage with customers online. Defining an online strategy is made much simpler through Linkfluence’s work. This means companies that use Linkfluence are able to optimize costs and manage their online strategy in real time. As the online conversation changes, so does the company’s reaction to it.
Linkfluence is a young company–a french start-up that is composed of two distinct departments. The studies department looks into the deliverable products that are needed, with the engineering and design department developing the tools that are necessary for that success.
While the company was started in France and is still based there, they have offices in Paris, France, and Mannheim, Germany. The company has spearheaded projects in France, Germany, the U.K., the United States, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Brazil, Poland, and Switzerland. The various products and platforms they have to offer are impressive. From political observatories that monitor and analyze what is occurring in various fields, to E-Reputation and Impact, which measure web notoriety and Return on Investment, respectively.
Linkfluence is a platform that is providing innovative products to complicated problems online. Perhaps the most interesting thing they’ve done thus far is Netnography, which is the mapping of online inter-connectivity.
This is a really good example of their Netnography work–a Eurosphere. A map of the interconnectivity (or lack thereof) of Europe’s online activity.
This is a profile of the company by the Franco-American Quill:
I’d be remiss if I didn’t link the site itself, of course. Take a look at the “Products” section.