The proliferation of social networking Web sites, blogs and public review Web sites have made small businesses much more vulnerable to reputation bashing, which could impact their bottom line in the long run. It’s hard enough keeping track of the steady stream of e-mails every day, let alone try managing what is being said about your company online. A handful of companies, including heavyweight Cisco Systems (CSCO) are introducing software that enables small business owners to find out what’s being said about the company. Here’s a look at some of the reputation-protecting software now available.
Earlier this month, San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco unveiled its SocialMiner software that allows small business owners to find out and respond to what is being said about the company on social media Web sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as public blogs. The software lets owners monitor in real time what is being said about the company and can alert the company when comments are made in a public forum. According to Cisco, the software will help businesses respond quicker to customer complaints.
Brought to you by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Attensity, this software monitors and analyzes conversations about a company taking place on review sites, blogs, forums and social networks including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Attensity360 provides reports to a business owner that helps it track and analyze conversations about the company, its brand and competitors. The company touts the software’s ability to recognize important issues that need immediate attention, stay ahead of rivals and identity opinion leaders and social influencers, to name a few.
Clarabridge for Professional is geared to medium and small business owners and collects and analyzes customer feedback whether it is from surveys, e-mails and chats, Web forums, review Web sites or social networks. Once the feedback is collected, the software will categorize all the information and assign scores to distinguish the who, what, how and why of any customer feedback. The software can even provide an early warning system that alerts business owners via reports, e-mails or other means of communication when it sees unusual patterns of customer feedback that could indicate a problem. Clarabridge for Professional is offered by Reston, Va-based Clarabridge.
Visible, the Bellevue, Wash., software company, offers business owners the ability to monitor its reputation on the Web with its Visible Intelligence software. The software lets a business owner monitor what is being said about the company online and then drill down to get charts and graphs on particular areas whether its complaints on Twitter or positive reviews on Yelp.com. The software provides owners with immediate feedback on campaigns, product launches and customer service. Once the business has the information in hand, the software will let it tag a specific complaint or issue to properly respond to it.
Not only does Sprout Social software collect what’s being said about a company online, but the company claims the software can even find prospective customers. The software allows an owner to set criteria and will then analyze data to find prospective customers and influencers. The software also organizes all of the comments on social networks in one place and alerts the business whenever there is a conversation about the business across the Web. Sprout Social offers a 30-day free trial at www.sproutsocial.com
It’s hard enough keeping track of the steady stream of emails every day, let alone try managing what is being said about your company online. Luckily, these companies are looking to help you out.