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What are others saying about you and your company online? Do you know where to look?

With so many online channels available to consumers and competitors, it's time you took control of your online reputation. Just follow these seven simple steps.

1. Set up Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a good way to automatically search the Web for specific words and phrases—and to get notified when something new appears.

You can use Google Alerts for your company name, your own name, or your main keywords to keep abreast of what's being said about you and your industry online.

2. Monitor mentions of your company name on Twitter

Even if you don't want to tweet regularly, it's still a good idea to have a Twitter account for two reasons:

  1. You should claim your own name/company name to stop someone else from doing it.
  2. You should look for mentions of your company or your products.

Someone could be badmouthing you on Twitter without good reason or complaining about your service. People now expect brands to be on Twitter and to quickly respond to them when they're unhappy.

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Jamie Fairbairn is the founder of Search Blogger, an Internet marketing blog aimed specifically at small business owners.