Online reviews are the rage and while not every company may be soliciting them, customers on the other hand seem eager to post them online within any forum they find comfortable. Open ended and non-solicited customer reviews can be a very positive element for a company’s marketing. This is because they’re genuine and consequently the most persuasive as well. Due to the pervasive nature of reviews and range of sites across the Internet companies oftentimes do not even know what is being said about them – let alone address the negative comments.
Oftentimes the topic of reputation management is not discussed as part of the marketing strategy. However, with information dissemination facilitated by the Internet and the explosion of social media, online reputation management should be one of the items to consider as part of you an overall marketing strategy. One negative comment that resonates with your customer base could undo years and years of careful brand management and messaging. Online reputation management in one aspect of social media that can have an immediate ROI for your company. So, your reputation on the web needs your complete and full attention.
Getting Started with Online Reputation Management
When considering online reputation management it is very important to have a strategic framework for not only monitoring what is being said on the Internet about your company, but also to devise a mechanism for responding to negative comments and positive ones. The full scope of work should include the following:
- Set up alerts with the major search engines and follow through to the links as the alerts are delivered.
- Monitor social media sites, review sites, and online forums. It may be necessary for you to create accounts to do this.
- Develop a company wide mechanism for responding to negative comments within 24-48 hours.
- Respond appropriately to positive comments. You do not need to respond to every one of these but at least a few. It will make you look genuine.
Online Reputation Management Software Tools
The suggestions above are meant to be an initial start. In order to be proactive and totally alert you may need to deploy specialized online reputation management software programs. I would recommend any specialized software that is specific to your industry. This will make the process of staying on top of the conversation easier.
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