Brand monitoring has become an essential task for any individual retailer or large brand. Back in the day, when people talked about our businesses, it was word of mouth or it was a simple customer service phone call that was never repeated outside the two people talking. Today, most of these dialogues are right in front of our own eyes and in numerous places.

We must remember that conversations are being held on the web with or without our blessing. That means we can choose whether to watch, participate or ignore. Before you select what you want to do, remember that these conversations can have a negative or positive impact on your business.

Let’s take a look at some stats from Yelp.com. Yelp says it now has more than 224 million reviews and of those 224 million reviews 34% of those came from the shopping category. Plus, the largest demographic of Yelp users are 18-34 years of age. Think about those stats, you might be losing customers before they even step foot into your store or heck even look at your website.

Depending on how popular and well known your business is, there may be few or a lot of people talking about it. Listening, watching and staying active is as important as protecting your brand online. As you become more well known in the online world, more conversations will be held around your brand name, so you’ll spend more time listening and possibly responding to blog posts, reviews, tweets, etc.

Keep these three things in mind as you’re crafting a message to your customer:

  1. Your reviewers are paying customers
  2. Your reviewers are human beings with (sometimes unpredictable) emotions.
  3. Your reviewers are vocal and opinionated (otherwise they would not be writing reviews!)

So keep your message straightforward: thank you for the business and the feedback. If you can be specific about the customer’s experience and any changes you may have made as a result, this could go very far in earning trust and a repeat customer. The sooner you get a hold of what people are saying about your brand the more successful you will be in monitoring your online reputation.