The first response of many retailers who start to see negative comments posted about their businesses online is to try to find a way to shut down the naysayers before revenues get impacted in a big way. But the new world of social media with its empowered and vocal consumers has seriously eroded the control of business operators. This situation has given rise to the new industry of online reputation management.
A new white paper attempts to establish the best process for marketers who need to manage the online comments made about their business. Using 3 simple steps – listen, analyze, and engage – businesses can improve their online reputations.
The listening phase can be as simple as setting up free Google alerts or paying for a monitoring service provided by operators like Scout Labs or Buzz Logic. Once the comments are located, marketers should be categorizing the information and following up with consumers who post negative comments. Then it’s time to move to the engage phase of the process. In some cases, it might be possible to get the person to retract the comment or post a new positive comment. Whitepaper author, Missy Jensen, suggests that working with the customer to resolve the issue will result in a satisfied and loyal customer. Clearly, that will not be the case in every instance unless the business owner agrees to compensate the individual in some way. Since this will not always be practical, marketers should understand that not every negative comment will go away. The best way to counteract negative comments is to make sure plenty of positive content exists about the marketer. Posting blogs and press releases with the same keywords and phrasing that appeared in a negative post means prospective clients see the good along with the bad.
Marketers can also take some proactive steps to prevent reputation destruction. Writing for Search Engine Watch, Kristine Schachinger advised readers to buy up all related domain names including the extensions of .us, .net. and .tv. In addition, marketers should buy up domain names that contain any ‘colorful four-letter words that will fit with your name.” The same goes for owning the social media site names that are associated with a marketer’s name.
Schachinger correctly notes that there are competitors, hackers, and disgruntled people who will go to any lengths to make trouble for a business online. As the social media world grows more complex, marketers will have little choice but to invest time and money into reputation management.[Sources: Jensen, Missy. DME Automotive White Paper. 2011 Web. 7 Apr. 2011; Schachinger, Kristine. The Online Reputation Management Wars. SearchEngineWatch.com. 17 Mar. 2011. Web. 6 Apr. 2011]