Online Reputation Management

So the web is bigger than ever and you have access to so much information these days, rarely do people make impulse purchases without doing a little research first.

Id say it’s now more crucial than ever to manage your online reputation of your company, brand, product or service.

There are many companies out there that are experiencing some harsh criticism from disgruntled employees or customers and on the other hand there are many companies receiving the benefits of a good reputation from information posted online.

It’s now time to start managing that reputation and this can be done in a number of ways. We all know the main ones to communicate with fans, customers etc and that’s through social networks like Facebook etc. This is a great place to respond to any negative feedback you may be getting. It lets customers know that you care and you want to resolve any issues they have about your company, brand etc.

When we book a holiday these days we go online, check out the hotel, the restaurants and a number of other things within the area. You then start to look at a number of factors and you may use sites like trip advisor or Google places to find out reviews.

Its key to engage customers to leave good reviews on these mediums and if you approach them when you have them face to face you can address any problems they may have had. They may even leave a review that’s not perfect, but they will comment on how you handled it which could be a positive outcome if an issue was handled correctly.

So is there a value you can place on online reputation management, I’d say it’s pretty high. Think about it, many companies have spent years building their reputation as the best this or the best that and a few negative online posts can have a big effect on future sales.

So what should you look for?

I’d say there are three key areas.

  1. Keep an eye online and monitor what’s being said
  2. Build your good reputation actively
  3. Engage your customers and your audience

So where can you monitor these things

  •     Google Alerts – google.com/alerts
  •     Yahoo Alerts – alerts.yahoo.com
  •     RSS feed subscriptions to search results Technorati, Feedster, Yahoo & Google News, BlogPulse
  •     Social Media via tags: tagbulb.com, tagfetch.com, keotag.com

Don’t wait for negative comments to be posted online, actively build your reputation and make it one that people know. This makes managing negative information a lot easier.

Engage Customers

The best way to deal with bad feedback is to tackle it head on, so find out when these negatives are being broadcast online and then counter it. Having a two way conversation is much better to get to the bottom of a problem and show people you care.

Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how you deal with a mistake that makes you different from your competitors and people buy people so all you need to do is get the appropriate facts and you will generally find most negatives can be overcome.

Who knows by doing this the person leaving the negative comments might just become an evangelist for your brand.

An example of this was a friend of mine went in to the Apple store and had clearly damaged his iPhone by getting it wet, the first time he went to Apple they wanted to charge for repair. He decided to hold off and he wanted to look at other options, but ended up going back to pay for the repair, this time though they decided to give him a replacement for free. He actually walked out the door and told random people in the street about his experience. That’s priceless in terms of building a good reputation for Apple.

Feel free to post any examples of how you have engaged your online reputation management.

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