There are many different emotions, and instant reactions that hit you when you see an online reputation instance occur. Should we respond, get angry, fire back, ignore the situation, censor comments, or just see what happens? Those are some of the many questions that marketers are faced with today. With more consumers and customers turning online to share what they think of a particular brand or company it has become increasingly difficult to capture everything that is being shared.
In April of this year Yelp.com reached 50 million users with over 17 million reviews on their database. If you are a professional responsible for online reputation management it makes you wonder how many other means are there for your customers and critics to share their opinion about your company.
According to a recent infographic created by Digimind 47% of American companies’ net worth is tied up in intangible assets like brand equity and reputation. That being said there are two questions that I would like you to ask yourselves:
- Do you know what your customers,competitors, and critics are saying online about your brand?
- Do you have a plan in place to respond to negative feedback?
If you answered no or maybe to either of these questions then there are some things that you should know.
You Gotta Cover Your Assets.
Step one is knowing where you are present online. Step two is devising a plan for using those assets to your advantage. The state of online reputation management today calls for more than a company website. Try leveraging your social media channels as a way to attract, engage, and inspire positive feedback about your organization.
It’s Not Just About Control. It’s Also About Letting Go.
You are in control of what you post, where you’re present, and how you react to questions or comments. Make sure that your online approach is aligned and consistent for each platform. It is impossible to censor every negative comment and piece of information you have online. Instead respond consistently and appropriately when you do find negative information.
The Rules of Engagement.
Should an issue arise I recommend you have influencers in your corner. If you take the time to properly build and cultivate relationships online you will be prepared with an army behind you to approach the subject when and if it happens.
The First Rule of Fight Club is: You Do Not Talk About Fight Club.
If your approach to reputation management involves not talking about or planning for negative press then perhaps it’s time to rethink your strategy. Managing your personal or company reputation head on will show that you have listened and that most subjects are not off limits.
Please Don’t Take a Turn to Negative Town.
Counteracting negativity with negativity is a recipe for disaster. If you can, try to take a positive approach and do your best to present your case online if you deem necessary. If you believe that a formal response is in order, maintain a positive outlook and show that you are open to feedback and will address comments head on.
There Are No Mistakes, There’s Things we do, and Don’t Do.
Learning from the mistakes we have made is key in improving a reputation management strategy. Perhaps you responded poorly to negative feedback. To avoid making the same mistake twice devise a plan for addressing issues and shedding a positive light on your organization.
Having the pulse of your market can also be done very well (as a microcosm) on your Faceboook and Twitter pages – consumers that engage with a brand are more likely to be honest about their feelings toward that particular brand within an environment in which they can be heard, by that brand. Constructive feedback is a crucial component to improving, and engaging with your social media followers allows for those conversations to be had, in an effective way.
Ongoing monitoring of your online reputation is key in protecting your assets online. Consider implementing some cost effective solutions that enable you to monitor issues in real time for quick response. It is important to not only monitor your brand name but also products, the company, and key executives.