New Year, New Initiatives

The new year brings time to reflect on the previous year and finalize plans for the new one. It’s good to take the time to look back on the efforts put forth the previous year to help you plan the next. Small business owners are stretched in more ways than ever before. But opportunity doesn’t care. The challenge has to be met each year or risk falling behind! Here are a few tips to help you take action in the new year

1) Things I did that did not work out: It’s hard to face the facts but some initiatives we take don’t work as planned. But therein lies the value. You cannot find the “secret formula” without a healthy dose of failure. Instead, take time now to reflect. Make the hard decisions to cut your losses now, first. Everything else you do to prepare for a new year will be easy! Other initiatives just need adjustment, refinement or a new course set.

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Monitor Your Brand Online

Is your organization actively monitoring what people are saying about your product, service and staff on the Internet? If not, you should be! Comments and reviews can be left about you and your business on thousands of blogs, review sites, forums, local portals, and even directly with the search engines.

Daily Media Intelligence and Brand Surveillance - SAMPLE REPORTThe time to act (or react) to online narrative and opinion is immediately (if not sooner!) In the case of a negative review, it may or (may not) be too late to save that relationship. The bigger consideration is future perception – that negative comment is going to live on the Net forever. How you treat the comment is going to craft the perception that other Internet searchers have of your organization.

The first step in the process in notification. You need to know sooner than later. Google has developed a basic notification system called Google Alerts. Set up correctly, Google Alerts can notify you when your brand or product is mentioned online, and perform a variety of automated surveillance metrics. If you would like help setting up this basic system, please feel free to call us.

Reputation Monitoring – if you would like to expand the sphere of monitoring for your brand we offer a comprehensive service that includes both monitoring and management. Our system delivers a regularly scheduled report of mentions of your brand or products, from thousands of online (and offline) sources. This allows you to easily and quickly review any activity.

VIEW: A Sample Report of our Daily Media Intelligence and Brand Surveillance

Contact RightNow if you would like more information on how to implement this service.

Protect Your Brand a.k.a. CYA

Don’t know what CYA is? Keep reading!

This month I had the unpleasant task of wrestling with MySpace to recover a trademarked name that was being used on their network. MS was good about the whole process, and returned the account to its rightful owner – the registered owner of the trademark. A lot of valuable time could have been saved if the registered owner had performed a CYA maneuver two years ago when we discussed it.

Here are two CYA procedures that I highly recommend your organization perform immediately.

This Needs to be Done by Your Organization
1. Register your domain name in all the important extension formats. This includes .COM, .NET, .ORG, .BIZ, .US, and .INFO In addition, I am going to suggest covering the .MOBI and if you are a travel organization, you might consider the .TRAVEL. The reason for registering these is primarily to protect your brand from abuse. There may be some very good reasons for developing these into assets, now or in the future. Better “safe than sorry!”

Netrafic Clients can Receive Assistance With This Task
2. Register your trademarked brand or business name in all the popular social networks. If you are not using these now, you will be in the future. Here is a partial list of the top social networks to cover.

Flickr, Youtube, Squidoo, Hubpages, WordPress, Typepad, Blogspot, Myspace, Technorati, Delicious, Digg, Linkedin, Picasa, StumbleUpon, Twitter

You might also consider registering your brand name at Ebay, to prevent people from associating your brand with an Ebay seller.

Netrafic Tip: You can check your brand name vs. registration username for most top social networks on one website with the click of your mouse, visit usernamecheck.com – thanks to Scott Fish for that little nugget!

Still confused about CYA? Just Google it!