The essentials of social listening and brand management
Thanks to today’s technology, it is now easier than ever to project your opinion online and use the opinions of others in your buying processes. In less than a few minutes, you can learn what people believe about a product or service, why they hate or love it, and what their experience with it was like.
As a consumer, this is great news – there’s a world full of opinions and reviews opening in front of your eyes before you even consider making a purchase.
As a business owner, though, this may not be so great if you don’t handle your online reputation properly.
But what is online reputation management anyway–and, more importantly, how do you make sure you correctly apply it to your particular business?
The Construction and De-Construction of Online Reputation
To understand how online reputation works, imagine a house being built, brick by brick. What would happen if you included a cracked brick in the foundation of the house? Would your house stay standing– or would it start to crumble with time?
Online reputation works the same: one crack is enough to generate total social destruction for your business. This is why it is absolutely crucial to always ensure your online presence is not only clean, but that it corresponds with the values your business hopes to project.
Online reputation is built with attention to detail and patience. But it can very easily be broken, so it is important to constantly monitor and manage everything that happens in the online world and might affect your brand’s reputation.
Online Reputation Monitoring: The Devil Is In the Details
To understand how to handle your online reputation, you first have to learn the difference between online reputation monitoring and online reputation management. At their very cores, both of these tactics have the same main purpose: to ensure a brand’s reputation is impeccable in the online world.
However, there are some differences that make these two techniques distinct. Think of online reputation monitoring as the law enforcement agents on the street, while online reputation management is the court room where the decisions are made and solutions are found.
Online reputation monitoring is there to help you keep your eyes open. Everything brand-related on the Internet should be carefully watched out for – from the company social media accounts to the news published online. A reputation monitoring expert will need to know how to spot potential pitfalls when they are still fresh and he will have to keep tabs on all the issues that may affect your business.
Online Reputation Management: The Basics
In general, it is highly advisable that you hire someone to handle your online reputation. It’s not that you may not be able to do this on your own, but the absolute truth is that it can take a lot of time and effort away from other aspects of your business.
Online reputation management is all about finding suitable solutions for the issues that might appear along the way, as well as about devising strategies that help you stay away from those issues. An Online Reputation Manager needs to know how to draw conclusions from the data and information gathered by the reputation monitoring expert, apply the most suitable solutions, and create a plan that helps the company avoid similar situations in the future.
However, even if you do hire someone, you should make sure they follow some basic principles of good ethics and efficiency when managing your brand’s online reputation:
- Use tools. I will always recommend using automated tools that help with online reputation monitoring and management. Some of the best include:
- Brandseye. A very complex tool with many features, Brandseye is in the more expensive range of brand management tools. Although it might not be suitable for small businesses or companies on a tighter budget, the multitude of benefits it comes with makes it more than worth it.
- Social Mention. Social Mention is free, and it does a great job of scouting the Internet for social mentions of any type, including for a business’ competitors. What’s more, the tool will show you where these mentions are coming from.
- Google Alerts. Google Alerts may sound very basic, but they can be extremely helpful. While Social Mention and Brandseye will offer you a clear view of what’s happening on the social media and might be related to your brand, Google Alerts will help you learn about the blog posts and news articles where your company is mentioned.
- Be transparent. In a day and age when everyone puts everything about themselves on the table, your business needs to do the same. Being transparent will make you more relatable and more trustworthy in the eyes of your potential clients – so it is highly important that you adopt transparency as your base rule.
- Be careful with your reactions. Regardless of how legit your customer complaints may be, your reactions should be prompt and truly polite. However, if someone is claiming something completely untrue about your business, remember that this is illegal and you can take action in court against the rumors perpetrators.
Of course, these are just the absolute basics to remember when it comes to online reputation management and monitoring. However, they are quintessential to developing a good attitude towards what happens online and might affect your business. Remember them at all times, on all Internet media, and your brand will surely see the benefits.