Now that it’s being recognized as legitimate, everyone’s clamoring for social media marketing services. Savvy business owners are looking to social media marketing for higher website traffic, larger profits and the increased brand visibility everyone’s shouting from the rooftops about.
But what about online reputation management? That’s one part of social media marketing that sometimes gets lost among those other benefits, which are often perceived as being more lucrative. How could you possibly know what everyone’s saying about your company in the far-reaching corners of the Internet? What does it even matter? Well, it matters plenty. One disgruntled customer can now be heard far and wide, often negating the effects of all the money you’ve spent dumped into your social media marketing campaign.
Web 2.0 has given customers their voice back. It’s no longer David vs. Goliath when a consumer is mistreated or has an unpleasant experience with a company. Web 2.0 has evened the playing field and returned power to the consumer. Unsatisfied consumers won’t hesitate to log onto sites like Consumerist, hit the comments section, and start driving nails into your company’s coffin. Or they go to forums or networking sites and post negative reviews. If particularly vitriolic, one review can unspool the five positive reviews of your company posted directly above it. It might not be fair – that bad experience might have been the result of a bad-apple employee that has since been let go – but that review is there.
Blog and forum members visit these sites because they are particularly concerned with quality of product and experience. They’ve got a little bit of a watchdog complex in them. So when customers get on there and complain, they’re doing so to the most attentive audience possible.
What does this mean? You’ve got to fight for your reputation. And you need to be proactive about it. Start a customer loyalty campaign that encourages recent clients to post positive reviews, or at least search for and respond (appropriately) to any negative reviews posted. These responses can be vital, because it gives readers a chance to see that your company cares enough to respond to consumer complaints.
So if you haven’t started already, I highly recommend getting out there and claiming your company’s reputation and identity. That way, any negative review that finds itself posted will have less steam because your company will already be established as a clean, fair, and caring company.
Check out this post over at Duct Tape Marketing. I like what the blogger says about how everyone now has two brands: online and offline. The post lists 34 online reputation management sites and is extremely comprehensive. Check them out and get started on protecting your company’s most important asset: its image.