Guide to Online Reputation Management
on Apr 13, 2010
Imagine, you start your day sitting down with a cup of coffee... you search your company name online and the top result is someone slamming your company, your brand or you.
I am not kidding, it’s very possible that conversations about you and your company are taking place across the web on various social networks 24X7. A single negative feedback can cost you millions. Hard to believe? Look for Dominos or America online. That’s a pretty big reason to worry, when your customer determines your success.
They say, with power comes responsibility. In the case of social media, prosperity brings threats to businesses. You have to be on your toes while running an inbound marketing campaign, as you don’t want to miss any of the conversations online about your products or even about yourself.
Now, let’s get to the source of the problem and some precautionary steps:
Why you should care about ORM?
1. Your customers are online taking keen interest in your deliverables.
2. Several positive reviews bring more sales prospects while a single negative review will bring down your actual sales.
3. Your competitors are more interested in you than you yourself.
4. People miffed with you (for no reason, maybe) are online.
5. Future of your company in online.
What actually happens Online?
1. A dissatisfied customer posts a review about your products or service on social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the result shows in the first page of Google overnight.
2. A single review is enough to start a conversation and that will be enough to give you a headache.
3. Your competitors will see this little conversation as a Golden Opportunity to take the discussion to the next level, making matters worse.
4. Non-response to a query seeking necessary information about your products makes you a picture of poor marketing and customer service.
5. Your past employee, frustrated at your policies / remuneration is enough to cause turbulence in your business and brand image.
6. False information and misrepresentation about your products and service.
Key to Manage Online Reputation:
The above are some of the major causes of a sullied online reputation. But hey, for every problem, there is a solution out there. Online reputation can be protected by just being cautious, alert and following some necessary steps:
1. Create a sound social media plan for your business to be present on major social networks where your customers are online.
2. Maintain consistency throughout all social networks where you are present; with same level of information and services you provide.
3. Don’t overlook the importance of SEO as it helps improve your page ranking and makes your site rank well on various keywords.
4. Don’t run away from discussions. Instead, enter the discussion and try to get the issue resolved by offering active customer services.
5. Maintain a corporate blog and share useful insights about your company, services, and achievements, even social and corporate events. This allows people to get to know you better, builds loyalty and diminishes animosity and scepticism. Sun Microsystem’s CEO blog
6. Don’t just advertise about your products and services. Offer the opportunity of reviewing and rating your products to your fans, friends and internet users. Starbucks did it right with “My Starbucks Idea.”
7. Twitter and Facebook are great platforms for building a community around your product or brand. It makes it a lot easier for people to discuss and find information about you by just visiting your profile or page, best example being, Zappos
8. Listen to customer feedback and act accordingly. Thank the customer for his positive feedback and get the problem resolved if he has a negative feedback.
9. Don’t hesitate to promote your content through Videos, Images, Blogs, PPT and PDFs on various social media sites like YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, Scribd etc.
10. Don’t enter a war of words, if someone presents false information about you or your brand to promote negativity. Instead, calmly ask him to remove his comment or, get into the legal action if you are sure about his intent.
11. Come up with better customer support service and offer rewards through contests and gift coupons. Contests and promotions are an equally important aspect of inbound marketing as they are of outbound. Eg Dell offering discount coupons on Twitter.
12. Ask your employees to blog about their learning and achievements while working with the company as customers are always keen to know the company from inside.
13. Treat your customers as a part of your company; you cannot survive without them. Enter into some social cause and invite other members to lend a helping hand...Like Aircel with their initiative “Save our Tiger”.
Tools to monitor online reputation
1. Google alerts and Yahoo alerts can be used to track conversations happening around your brand online.This tracked information is supplied to you based on your targeted company keywords through email.
2. Sometimes the most important conversations don’t happen on blogs. Forums and message boards can also host conversations about your brand and you’d never know about it. Boardtracker makes your work easier with providing conversations happening on forums around your product or brand.
3. Technorati is the leading blog search engine indexing millions of blog posts in real time. It also tracks the authority, influence and popularity of blogs.
5. Social Mention - A social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services and even more, with user sentiment and tonality of discussions.
Maintaining Online Reputation is not a tough task, it is a bit challenging though. Being active, with smart marketing skills will do the business for you. However, don’t expect to move mountains in a day. Instead, give yourself some time, and expect better results in a longer period.
“Because a negative message is more viral than the positive one”
We understand what it takes to manage online reputation while everyone is on a mission to move you out of the playground. If you are worried about managing your online reputation, whether as a company, campaign or as a celebrity, get in touch with us and make yourself ‘authentic’ in the eyes of people.
Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us on Facebook