Brand Reputation Management - it all starts with social websites. The content on Social websites are consumer generated, more people use social media to share their agony about a service or product. So watch out, the CGC (Consumer Generated Content) on social media may be different from your company’s policy, and if left unattended it will have a huge impact on your brand. So there is a need to track what is being said about your product.
We at Reputation Management For.com understand that brand is the foremost important thing for every company. When we talk about brand reputation management…
- It’s a strategic approach to reinstate your online image, to turn negative into positive that allow customers to vest faith in your brand, and
- A tactical approach with search engine optimization targeting keywords, to help businesses in the long run to give you an edge over others.
At times targeted keyword SEO also fail to get the desired results and then pushing down negative content can be quite challenging. Most successful online reputation manager sometimes find it hard to get rid of bad press despite pumping heavy finance. This is probably because of the nature of the content that sounds more like advising business owners on how to reform their business or brand. So dealing with negative content can be a nightmare.
Secondly, as the number of visitors on such social website increase it tends to rank high on search engines, unfortunately it will be above your official website. This results in the need for brand reputation management.
How do you go about this? Never think brand reputation will improve by itself. There are plenty of opportunities and you just have to pick the right ones. A few things you need to be doing.
- Company needs to be a Media Socialite, it needs to on top of the latest thats happening in the social media circles and update itself,
- Hands-on experience with technical blogs and internet marketing skills will add value to your initiative,
- Promoting your brand online through blogs, articles, discussion forums and press releases, is also a great way of letting your voice be heard, and
- Monitor your brand reputation by setting Google alerts, which is easy and free to keep track of your brand. The company can even start a parallel website to counter bad press and allegations if any.
Brand Reputation Management is all about the expertise in promoting your company’s brand and apply preventive tactics accordingly for the long-term. Brand reputation management, after all your business hinges on it.
Consumer Review websites are increasingly becoming the source of pernicious attacks on competitors as they allow effectively anonymous attacks on a competitor without any real comeback on the critic. Simply post a complaint without any facts or details and, hey presto, you have damaged their reputation at no cost to yourself. We cannot think of a better example of when a competitor tries to trash a reputation management company name.
What should we make of it?
Consumer Sites will need to sharpen up their act:
As companies pay more attention to these sites, so the role of website publisher will put consumer complaints websites in the legal frame. They will need to capture more structured and verifiable data about complaints or risk being repeatedly sued. At the moment, they publish without proof, soon the burden of proof will be on them to be more proactive in establishing the veracity of complaints.
The ReputationManagementFor Experience:
We have been the victim of a hoax complaint that we have assumed is originating from a competitor. The same complaint has been posted across a number of consumer complaint boards:
Coincidentally, other reputation management companies are being criticised in relatively similar ways at the same time:
- http://search-reputation-management.pissedconsumer.com/searchreputationmanagement-org-scam-20100114167737.html (14th January 2010)
- http://erepute.pissedconsumer.com/erepute-net-are-scammers-don-e2-t-trust-erepute-20100113167601.html (13th January 2010)
- http://tsavoagency.pissedconsumer.com/tsavoagency-com-is-a-total-ripoff-tsavo-agency-20100113167616.html (13th January 2010)
- http://repuclean.pissedconsumer.com/repuclean-just-a-nightmare-20100111167363.html (12th January 2010)
- http://ez-positioning.pissedconsumer.com/ezpositioning-it-e2-s-ezpositioning-com-complaint-20100112167458.html (12th January 2010)
- http://reputation-repair-center.pissedconsumer.com/reputationrepaircenter-com-reputation-repair-center-20091216164639.html (December 2009)
Interestingly PissedConsumer.com offers reputation management services of its own: there may or may not be a coincidence there.
Other consumer complaints sites seem to have a number of new complaints:
If you read through RipOff report (http://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/reputation.aspx?p=2 ) you get a strange feeling that everybody suffering from Reputation Management issues was taught by the same English teacher.
Reputation Management is not exactly a widespread phenomenon so it is unusual to see so many complaints all at the same and all written in very similar terms and tones. Coincidence?
You are the next victim…
We monitor our clients and also our own site and brand names so we picked up on this attempted sabotage straight away. Damage limitation and reputation management is all about stopping such negative and non-factual content effecting your business.
Reputation Management does not only protect your company from negative customers, but as this post shows it also defends your brand from competitors who have no ethics.
How you deal with such negative comments is essential to show potential customers that some comments on the net will be completely false.
Hopefully search engines like Google will devalue these sites like they did with directories and links or will develop algorithms that can measure these complaints. These sites can be used to trash a company reputation and quite often these companies won’t know until the damage is done.
When talking about Online Reputation Management(ORM) we mean monitoring web 2 media like; blogs, social forums or network or video streaming sites for negative content. So how do you defend your product or organization when somebody is beating you blue with all that negative comments. Needless to say negative comments severely dent the reputation of an organization and the brand.
It’s a global phenomenon – positive or negative if attracts million hits will always rank on top. We need to understand that negative comment comes in all notorious forms and languages, type ‘Microsoft sucks’ on Google and see for yourself. So it becomes extensively important to protect your brand when consumers/competitors have larger ground to air their views.
Pushing down negative comments on search engines is what most Reputation management companies do, but it’s a temporary solution while the issue is still at large. So in our opinion relegating negative comments monitoring along with brand content optimization is the best option. Branded content in the search will stave-off negative contents.
Constant monitoring becomes very important to manage your online reputation. But how do you keep track about all that bad mouthing your new product gets? Setting Google or Yahoo alerts can be handy. Searching with adjectives or modifiers like “sucks”, “worst”, “bad” with your keyword will give you a better idea what others think about your product.
Implementing manual monitoring will be more effective to check results. A tool in place that would alert the business owner if there is any negative comments about the product out there will be great. You will be able to check the authenticity of the negative comments and take action immediately if urgent.
Employing proactive monitoring system enables you to get an insight about the content and the customer’s understanding about your brand. This further will let you interact with the customer directly and sort issues amicably. Your instant action can save your product identity, and let Reputation management be a part of your best practice.
Neat acronym for the process of online reputation management:
- L = Listen
- E = Engage
- A = Address
- R = Respond
- N = Next…
Companies need to start with listening about what people are saying before they respond (aka that does not mean REACT)
Response needs to be thought through and considered and addresses the problem.
Step 1 – Listen…
Try Google Alert (www.google.com/alert) and subscribe for alerts for your company name or key product names. A good way to stay on top of discussions on a daily basis via email. You can then track those comments and remarks back to the source and if appropriate leave a comment yourself. This is free and easy to manage. You can move on to trackur or distilled for more coherent reporting tools.
(Keotag is another good free service – www.keotag.com)
Step 2 – Engage
Reach out to critics and engage with them. Most important, you have to ADDRESS the underlying issue. They have to feel that they have been HEARD and also UNDERSTOOD. You need to know what has happened and what has gone wrong and why. Some criticisms can be unfounded, but many times, criticism has due cause and can be resolved.
Step 3 - Address
Before you can respond to online conversations, you need to address the underlying problems or incidents within your organisation. Criticism offers a learning process, but it is wasted if you dont make use of it. A customer problem can be a one-off or can turn out to be a symptom of a much wider systemic problem that the company needs to work on.
Step 4 – Respond
It is important that the response carries some weight and not be a low level customer-service operative. It should carry executive weight, acknowledge, apologise and then correct . If you give a meaningful and authoritative response then your critic can become an evangelist.
Step 5 – Next…
Move onto next issue… or in other words restart the process. Too many marketing and reputation managers tend to work from crisis to crisis and do not develop a systematic approach to their online reputation management. An iterative, patient process that builds up a real knowledge of the online enviroment, who’s talking and where and why allows you to shape and join important conversations rather than always being caught out by emerging threads.
Executives within the organisation need to understand the brand and its message, but most importantly have a strong sympathy for the reputation. It needs to be important for them what people say about and experience with your company.
At last google has talked about the importance of reputation management on their blog Google’s stance on negative results appearing in their search results has always been it’s not there responsibility to remove the site from their search results. Their take on it is that the business or person effected needs to contact the website owner and ask them to remove it from their site.
“If you can’t get the content removed from the original site, you probably won’t be able to completely remove it from Google’s search results, either. Instead, you can try to reduce its visibility in the search results by proactively publishing useful, positive information about yourself or your business. If you can get stuff that you want people to see to outperform the stuff you don’t want them to see, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of harm that that negative or embarrassing content can do to your reputation.”
The biggest issue for reputation management is people not even knowing what to search for to get help. I have asked many business owners / people if they have heard or know what reputation management is, and to date I have not had anyone heard of it. It was the same with SEO 10 years ago, no one knew what search engine optimisation was or involved. By google acknowledging this industry helps make people aware that there are companies like www.reputationmanagementfor.com who can help remove negative results in the search engines.
So lets continue to educate people and make them aware of the service reputation management companies can offer. Businesses know they need it, you only need to see site like TripAdvisor, RipOffReport, Scam.com to name a few sites that can often appear right below a companies main website. Up to 70% of people click on a negative search result if its directly below the company website. How many times have you checked tripadvisor before you book a hotel room?
If you are a business and have negative reults damageing your online reputation then search google for Reputation Management to find a company who can help remove or bury the negative results.
I often get clients using Google Alerts and emailing me about a new posting, especially blog posting. I have to say there are a few issues with Google Alerts, number 1 is often google picks up blogs actually hosted on WordPress and Blogger.com and often misses thousands of blogs hosted on actual domains. The other main issue is quite often the alert does not actually mean the page is going to rank well for the keyword. Out of 100 alerts I would say on 5% actually make it onto the first page normally via Google News which only lasts 24 hours.
So often the Google Alerts only relates to the blog search and not the web search. I don’t know about you, but I never use google’s blog search and I think there is only 2 reasons why anyone would:
- Me Searching – looking to see how well your own blogs and posts are doing
- Real Time Searching – Before google got fantastic at updating the web results and their bots fly around scrounging for new news, blog searching was a more effective way to track how well a particular story was doing.
I have searched for figures on how many people use the Google blog search facility and to date not found anything solid , Google does not make it an obvious search choice option unlike pictures and videos, so I’m guessing that it’s not that popular filter.
So don’t panic if you get a Google alert and its a negative story about you or your company, as it probably won’t come to much. |However it is a usefulcustomer service feedback tool and also helpful to watch a story just in case it does create momentum and start moving upwards.
Another sure way of reducing the likely hood of negative content rising up the search engine is of course to take positive reputation management steps to stop it.