Blogging and social media is busy changing our world and how we do business online. Your digital reputation is your credibility in cyberspace and how people see you. It is crucial  that businesses monitor what is being said about them online as conversations happen even without your participation.

Your digital reputation can be made or lost in a few minutes – with only 140 characters (Twitter).  Just as powerful, positive stories of good customer service can quickly build a positive digital reputation. Marketing departments must add social media to their marketing mix and use blogging to promote and build their organisation’s reputation and brands. The blogosphere and social media adds a new dimension to business marketing. All these new online tools can greatly increase the speed in damaging or building a brand.

Internet marketing together with various social media strategies should always include monitoring (listening processes) for what is being said about you, your brand, and your competitors online. If you are a public facing company and your image is important to you, then using social media is one of the costs of doing business in today’s digital world.

How to start monitoring your digital reputation? Here are a couple of tips that can help you with this process.

How to protect your reputation online

Strategy: Setup various strategies and processes to monitor what is being said about you online. Google Alerts is a free service from Google that you can use to alert you via email or RSS as soon as someone mentions your name, brand, or even products online. There’s also paid services such as Radian6 that you can use for more in-depth analysis of your company.

Internet Marketing: Create an optimized internet marketing strategy that promotes your brand in a positive way. Search engine companies can help you push down negative comments on the search engine result pages but this is not always favourable because if you get found out that you have used “false” reviews of positive content, it could have a double impact on your reputation and business. This type of strategy is not a guarantee and it can take months before you see any results. In the long term you should have a strategy to publish positive stories on your company and develop your online brand in an ethical way.

Research: When a negative comment is made about you online, research and study the origination of the comment.  Who posted the comment? Was it your fault? Is the person who posted the comment open for discussion? Usually, if you have done your research about the negative comment, there is a chance that you can turn the foe into an advocate of your brand.