As the internet space and social media have grown, it is becoming more and more important to monitor your brand. No matter how small a studio you are, you need to be aware of when and how you and your studio is being mentioned online. Mentions can pop up in wedding planning forums, review sites such as Yelp, twitter, blogs and many other places. You might find a wedding planning blog that has linked to your blog with glowing comments about your work. You need to know what is being said about your company so you can address it; thank someone for kind words, or address a customer service issue.
There are two ways you can monitor your online reputation using google. These are easy to set up and free, so you can get started immediately.
Just google “google alerts” and then set up alerts for any keywords that you need to monitor such as your name along with keywords to identify you personally and not the other people with your name (use your name + photography, + photographer, + wedding, + photos, etc. to narrow down the results). You’ll also want to set an alert for the name of your studio as well as your email address.
It’s good business sense to know what is being said about you and your company online. Most of the time it’s good, but on occasion it may be a complaint you aren’t aware of, or an illegal/inappropriate use of your images.
You’ll be given some options such as types of media to search through, how frequently you want to see results and so forth. It takes all of about 2 minutes or less to set it up.
Me on the Web
If you have a personal Google Account, there is a service called “Me on the Web” available in your dashboard. This service monitors news and bits about you in some social media (Facebook is mostly walled off from Google) and other online mentions as they happen.
Funny story: most of the things that come through in Google Alerts are perfectly harmless. Typically things along the lines of wedding planning blogs that have mentioned your work in a mood board they’ve put together after helping themselves to images on your blog. I might take the time to respectfully request they link to my site instead of just a mention (while thanking them for sharing my work). A few weeks ago I came across a personal blog that had not only helped themselves to images from my blog, they were quite proud of themselves for getting away with it. I guess they didn’t realize I want our images spread to new places and shared on wedding blogs around the world (providing we are credited). Anyways, they mention by name on their blog that some idiot photographer had allowed images to be stolen via right click. Obviously, that was not the type of sharing I had in mind-a quick email stating “they were in violation of copyright law and I wanted it removed within 24 hours” did the trick. Whatever your feelings are about these types of image use situations, having an alert set up puts you in control.
As we move forward with social media, your business reputation is more and more in the hands of your customers. Treat your clients well to begin with, and you’ll have fewer hassles down the road. But things do happen, and it’s important to take steps to protect your business and your reputation. If you don’t know about it, you can’t respond.