How do you define online reputation management? To some, it may mean monitoring the various social media platforms and responding accordingly as and when the need arises; to others, online reputation management is akin to a public relations exercise. Regardless of how you perceive and define this term, it is critical to be cognizant of the important role online reputation management plays in today’s world of digital media marketing. Be the entity engaging in online reputation management a small or a big organization, an independent blogger or a world-famous celebrity, this aspect of digital marketing must always be properly managed.
In this digital era, it practically takes no effort for anyone – customers, prospects, fans and even those armed only with malicious intent – to propagate information across multiple social media platforms within a very short time. Whether the content of the message is positive, negative, benign or harmful, one thing for sure is that it will spread faster than a forest super-fire. It then becomes imperative that you remain alert at all times to address any situations that may occur at any time. In preparation for such a response, you should
- Establish a quick response plan detailing the various standard operating procedures for crisis management
- Build a robust and positive online foundation for your brand’s reputation
- Above all, act fast when things go awry.
Importance of online reputation management
Never underestimate the importance of cultivating a solid, positive online reputation for the brand, business or personality that is being represented. Your online reputation vis-à-vis that of the competitors’ can either tilt the odds in or against your favor: from a business opportunity perspective, this either means landing new customers or losing prospects. There have been too many real-life cases where failure to clarify a negative post on social media or a bad review from a popular blogger timely has caused irreversible damage to the brand.
Regardless of whether your brand is in a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) company, monitoring its online reputation actively is a crucial activity and responsibility. In today’s reputation-driven business environment, reputation is instrumental in every important part of the business. Consumers are now moving away from conventional channels of feedback – such as telephone, email and websites’ feedback channels, all of which are not public – and directly taking it online to air both their praises and grievances on social media platforms. If you are not listening to what they are saying online, the business could be imploding from the inside without your knowledge. Furthermore, feedback is now on public domain, where most of the smartphone-equipped young adults on today will access for reviews and recommendations before they make any purchase online. For this reason, using a reliable digital agency or maintaining a strong in-house online reputation management team to regularly monitor and respond to both comments and feedback about your brand is vital. If you have no visibility as to what your customers are saying online, then your business is definitely operating in the wrong era. Here are some of the key factors to consider in the management of your online reputation:
Create a Media Monitoring Strategy
The first step in any online reputation management exercise is to develop a media monitoring strategy. Start off by deciding which types of media you wish to be covered, and then make a list of channels to track and the categories which need close attention. To facilitate easier management and response, it is advisable to have these channels filtered preferably by geographical region.
Create a Monitoring Brief
After identifying what and where to be monitored, you can begin to create a monitoring system. The fundamental components of this monitoring system are a list of keywords and online searches that are to be monitored for either positive or negative statements. To enhance effectiveness, the monitoring brief should include keywords relevant or correlated to your company or its offerings. Think and look up some of the keywords which your customers might use to get reviews about your offerings – these should be added to the brief. Just as important is the monitoring of your branded keywords, which you can get easily from your Google Analytics account. Create Google Alerts for comments or posts on blogs or sites covering your products and services. You can then configure your preferred frequency of updates (daily, weekly, et cetera) on comments about your offerings. While it is entirely up to you as to how often you would like to get notified on updates, it is highly recommended that you set it to “daily”; studies have shown that a brand which responds and resolves customer issues quickly and proactively enjoy higher levels of customer satisfaction than those who take a longer time to do so. This prompt response can translate to a competitive advantage for your brand.
Monitoring is but one aspect of the online reputation management strategy; the other portion is to be able to have access to reports which can provide actionable insights. This can come in the form of statistics, trends or just plain raw data for further analysis. Fortunately, there are many of such online reputation management tools to collect and generate reports for you. These reports should ideally contain media mentions of your brand, the number of followers on social channels such as Twitter and Instagram, and influencer mentions if any. This will help take the onerous load of collecting data off you and your team’s shoulders, and allow more time and resources to be spent on analysis, strategy formulation / enhancement and execution. When done right, this creates a healthy, self-sustaining feedback loop that further improves your online reputation management process.
The above are just but some key pointers in helping you get started in establishing your online reputation management plan; there is still the need for a holistic and complete strategy. A Singapore-based digital marketing agency specializing in online reputation management, imbued the right tools and skills, is your best bet in helping you resolve the nuances associated with creating an effective online reputation management plan. This will help in securing and cementing your reputation online.