With the boom of social media sites in recent years, the term “reputation management” is now being used to mean “online reputation management.” As the ability to spread marketing messages is being transferred from business owners to customers through online communities, both small and large enterprises need to strengthen their online presence. Part of this is staying in the loop when it comes to what people are saying about their brand, products, and services.
To help you get started with handling your online reputation, we compiled a six-item checklist below.
1. Make a list of everything customers might mention online.
The list must include your brand name, the people representing your brand, your products, and variations of these. Also take note of terms that may be misspelled. This way, you won’t miss any important conversations about topics that you should be concerned with as part of your reputation management.
2. Find out who’s talking about you.
Your community is composed of several smaller groups. Among them are your customers, bloggers and product reviewers, investors, journalists, employees, and business competitors. Basically, anyone who knows your brand to some extent can talk about you online. Categorizing them will allow you to come up with a unique online reputation management strategy for each group.
3. Identify your goals.
The basic, yet the most essential, purpose of monitoring your online reputation is to protect your company branding. It is, in some ways, a form of marketing, and it therefore should be anchored to your entire marketing strategy. Identifying how your reputation management efforts relate to brand promotion as a whole will provide direction and guide your future decisions.
4. Determine the tools you must use.
You can either monitor your reputation manually or using a number of tools and applications. Manual monitoring is ideal if you’ve just launched your business, which means you’re still gathering attention around your brand. Free applications allow you to automate certain processes, but the functions are still limited. Paid tools, on the other hand, offer broader functionality and can provide detailed insights.
5. Build the right team.
Online reputation management is a big responsibility. It’s necessary to identify professionals with the right combination of soft and hard skills. Flexibility, being able to think fast, and attention to detail are some of the soft skills that would come in useful for this job. In addition, technical skills including familiarity with social media, knowledge about company branding and online reputation, and digital know-how must be required of community managers.
6. Respond to customers properly.
Perhaps the most important step in reputation management is responding to what people are saying about your brand online. Before you can do this, however, you have to know how to listen properly, understand people’s feedback, make the necessary clarifications, and implement the necessary changes to your organization. Taken together, mastering all these things will allow you to provide better products and services to your loyal followers.