If you are in business today, whether it is primarily offline or online, it’s extremely important that you monitor what people are saying about you.

People may be praising you to the high heavens and recommending you to others – you should track them down and thank them! It’s unexpected and makes a huge impression. People may be furious at you and trashing you online – you should find out what’s wrong and fix the problem. Or at the very least present your side of the story.

When I griped about elance on Twitter, a company representative from elance promptly emailed me and asked how they could improve their service.

When I talked about PRWeb on Twitter they contacted me and asked me to be on their consumer advisory council.

People on Twitter, and online in general these days, EXPECT their complaints to be heard. Several times I’ve seen someone mention that they complained about a company repeatedly on Twitter and the company never contacted them. This may not be fair, but this is reality. Don’t lose customers and suffer a tarnished reputation just because you haven’t bothered to find out what people think of you.

There are a number of wonderful, free tools, including www.search.twitter.com,  Tweetbeep and Google Alerts, which make it easy.

www.google.com/alerts

http://www.tweetbeep.com/

I also like to search for my name on www.addictomatic.com

Don’t forget to search for your name, company name, and your competitor’s names on Twitter Search

And if you want to spend all day long tracking everything like a CIA spy, visit Marketing Pilgrim and check out their great list of 26 buzz-monitoring sites:  Marketing Pilgrim

So what am I missing? If you have any other great reputation monitoring tools that I’ve missed – please let me know!