We all know, that reputation is everything, but with the internet years of reputation building can be ruined in just a few clicks– by virtually anyone. The free and transparent nature of the internet fosters an environment that is favorable to the consumer but not so much to businesses and corporations which are often targets of internet trolling. This begs the question: How can brands manage reputation in the digital space?
Social Listening Is Key
Social listening is a proactive way for marketers to view what people are saying about their brand online. It presents an opportunity for brands to measure performance while simultaneously managing their reputation online. There are software applications, like Google Alerts, that allow a brand to be notified when they are mentioned online to track internet conversation in a timely, direct and strategic way.
Knowing When/How To Respond
Responding to negative feedback online can be tricky, but the motto “the customer is always right” is a good way attitude to embody in your response. You should address customer concerns and make them feel that they are important and their concerns are valid. The way you respond to negative feedback can influence the future of a relationship with the customer in question and others who view the response. Taking responsibility and being transparent are always going to be viewed more highly than being defensive or trying to remove negative feedback all together. It is also ideal to move these conversations to more private outlets than social media by prompting other communication outlets such as: email, phone call and direct message.
Positive Content Is Your Friend
Content that is positive in nature can be used to prevent negative, or potentially harmful search results from appearing at the top of a SERP. For instance, corporate blogs can be used to create an additional (positive) SERP result, thus pushing less optimized results lower on SERP results. Positive content is most likely to rank above negative content if it holds extensive links to reputable sites that also use brand keywords.
In times of a crisis brands will need to move forward with an emergency response to the situation. For large companies this usually involves a press release addressing the situation and providing solutions to remedy the problem, helping to rectify the brand’s reputation. In any case, emergency responses should revolve around timeliness, transparency and future training. Nonetheless, situations meriting emergency response can often be avoided by championing quality products and engaging in proactive customer service practices.
While negative content is never what we hope for, there are ways to largely prevent it. One way is to consider having a social media account or handle (often Twitter is used for this) dedicated to providing timely support to customers in need. This allows you to filter negative responses to one channel and respond to them quickly, hopefully nullifying the situation before it spirals into a larger public relations disaster. In addition, response to negative feedback can actually foster a stronger relationship between the brand and the customer than they had before the complaint was filed. Lastly, other current and potential customers often see interactions between support accounts and users filing complaints, so responding to them in the appropriate manner is crucial.