The management of an online reputation involves every aspect of your company/brand’s appearance online. This includes all aspects such as blogs, social networking, news sites, forums, search engines and adverts.
The tutorial for this type of subject is easy. It is the application that is the tough part. In the same way that it is easy to moralise and tell somebody to resist temptation, but the actual application of resisting is hard.
There are three main tenets the online reputation management.
It is only the application of these three rules that determine if you are going to benefit from your reputation, or suffer because of it. Each of these principals is true in real life (offline) and should also be applied accordingly.
Every part of your marketing plan should show evidence of monitoring and analysis. Who would create an advertising campaign without testing the results? If your success monitoring revolves only around sales, then you are missing out on a massive opportunity for sales leads.
Every advertising campaign on earth will elicit at least one question. Even if that question is “Who the hell is going to buy that?” it is still a question, and if you are monitoring the reaction of your potential customer base, then you are in a better position to answer that question. The times of adverts in shop windows and the immediate sale are not applicable online and in most offline occasions. Most often you will need the customer to have some form of contact with your company. It would be nice if your advertising resulted in sales, but most of it won’t. It will always result in questions though. So if you are picking up on these questions and answering them, then you are one step closer to converting that enquiry into a sale.
At the same time you should be monitoring the negative comments and questions about your company and products. If you don’t know what people are saying, then how will you:
- Turn their questions into sales
- Convert their negatives into a positive
- Learn from your mistakes
Every move you make to monitor positive feedback and sales, you should also use to monitor complaints and negative feedback.
This only requires planning. If you plan for the worst and hope for the best (and not the other way around) then you will not go far wrong. Make sure your online image is a positive one. Do not allow any members of your company to make potentially foolish statements online. Draw up strict rules for online actions whilst in your employ. For example in Tesco, an employee can be disciplined and even fired for making negative comments about other staff members online, including personal social media sites like Facebook. Do not be afraid to contractually set rules for online behavior involving your staff. They should be ambassadors for your company online, not critics or liabilities.
Prevent online foul-ups with the same passion you would protect offline ones, and take the same care in protecting your name from others. You wouldn’t put sugar glass windows on your shop or outside a school with a yard full of pebbles, so don’t post negative comments about competitor’s products in YOUR name!
The world’s greatest blunders are through not reacting fast enough. Would the BP oil spill have been as bad, if BP had invested the 3bn in stopping the oil leak in the first week, instead of spending it on cleaning up after? Would the Pepsi bottle cap seal have not converted more sales, if it had happened a week after the Pepsi bottles containing needles scare, instead of 6 months later?
If you see a negative comment on a site that lets you reply, then reply…Positively!!
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So many companies take complaints and negative comments personally, without realizing what a FANTASTIC marketing tool they are. They are a license to print money!!!!
So many more people look at the negative comments, far more than they look at the positive ones. Try this: Go to Amazon.co.uk and look up the best book on body language. Now let’s say you find a book with 10 reviews, 8 positive and 2 negative. Which reviews do you look at? If ONE of those negative comments says that the book is 85% filler and you could find better information on Wikipedia, Do YOU think you would buy it?