Performing damage control is not enough when you want to be consistent in managing your online reputation. Once you’ve put out the more critical fires, it’s essential that you have a plan in place that focuses on the upkeep. In online reputation management, being reactive is only good if you’re catching up. After that, the goal is to be proactive. That means monitoring, tracking, and constantly updating.
Realistically, you can’t – unless you tirelessly censor every mention online that puts your business in a negative light. In which case, you should probably stop because it’s not a very productive use of your time.
There will always be someone who won’t be very impressed with you or your product or your service, and they might get very vocal about it. You can’t really stop them from doing so, but you can mitigate the damage those reviews can cause.
ü Regulate the narrative. Since you can’t control exactly what people say about you, then it’s better that they talk about you where you can see them. This means inviting the conversation to happen in your space – your Facebook page, your website, or your Twitter account. If you have no FB page, create one. If you don’t have a customer feedback form, publish one.
If there’s a way to directly address the business when there’s an issue about their product or service, most consumers will use it. Only when that’s unavailable will most of them resort to grumbling on their personal FB account or going on a Twitter rant. You don’t want them to do that. You want the conversation to happen in your space not only so you’re updated but also to make sure you have the capability to moderate it.
ü Boost the positive. Post regular updates on all your spaces that put your business in a positive light. This does not only mean good reviews, but basically anything that reinforces the quality of your brand. Share helpful articles related to your industry, upload funny images that also make your audience think, update your status with pertinent info on anything your audience will find useful. Do this regularly, so your prospects and current customers find this first in your spaces and not the bad reviews.
ü Monitor and track. Don’t let your reputation get away from you anymore. Set up tracking and monitoring for your brand, business, and keywords to make sure that you’re informed any time anyone says something about you online.
The goal now is to be on top of the conversation. You’re already aware of the general audience consensus and have done some considerable work into repairing any damage caused by any lack of online reputation management. At this point, you just want to be kept abreast and just using basic Google search is not going to cut it anymore.
You now need the big guns. That means a tool or software that’s designed for online reputation monitoring. How these usually work is you set up the tool with the keywords you want monitored – your business name, your competitor’s, the keyword for your industry, etc. – and the tool will send you an alert when these words are pinged, giving you an opportunity to deal with any issue as soon as it pops.
ü Real-time updates. Look for a software that you can configure to send alerts as soon as you get an online mention. Many will only send you one email a day and others will require you to log in to the software to access your notifications. These are acceptable options for everyday routine monitoring, but if you’re dealing with a launch or something time-sensitive where you want to be notified as soon as someone mentions your brand or name, then it pays to already have real-time update capability in your tool.
ü Unlimited keywords monitoring. This means you’re looking for a tool that lets you set it up with as many keywords and names to track as you think necessary. The most common limit is five keywords per account, and that won’t do when you’re tracking not only one business and its competitors and keywords, but others as well.
ü Unlimited results. Some tools have a cap on how many results they can send per month depending on the package you’ve purchased. You want the software that will send you as many mentions as your keywords can generate.
ü Direct links to your mentions. For ease of access, you want a tool that takes you to where your keyword was pinged without you having to leave the tool itself.
ü Ability to track all over the internet. You want your tool to be able to scour Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, forums, news sites – you get the idea. There’s no point of paying for something that only tracks news sites and ignores the discussion happening on social media. You need to have access to all.
Definitely. They say you need at least five good reviews to counteract one bad one. Find those good reviews as well. Be approachable to happy customers. You want them to post about their positive experience so your prospects don’t just get influenced by those that wrote bad reviews.
You can do it directly or through some other subtler ways.
The direct method would be to offer your products for free in exchange for a review. Of course, it doesn’t usually follow that the experience for the reviewer is going to be positive, but if you’re confident about what you’re offering, chances are they’ll be writing something good about you. You can also have contests or promos where the winner will then write something about the product. This will work not only to help you get more positive reviews for your brand, but as advertising as well.
A more indirect method of encouraging your happy customers to post about you is making social media sharing buttons prominent on your online spaces. Any time you write a new blog post or record a new YouTube video, close it with something like: “Have a story to share about our product? Email us, leave a comment, or post your story in our Facebook page!” Most of the time, your audience want others to know how much they like your product, they just need to be reminded.
The rising popularity of social media and the internet has made online reputation management a necessity for all kinds of businesses. It’s not just a witty phrase marketers throw around anymore. It’s become an essential part of how you take care of your brand. Be vigilant when it comes to protecting your online reputation. Know what people are saying about you and make sure you have the tools that will help you track your brand and manage the conversation. Remember, bad reviews will influence prospects and can cost new customers while proactive reputation management will engender loyal consumers and invite more. Give your brand’s reputation the focus and work it deserves.
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