5 Tips to get your 2010 online reputation right
2009 was filled with cases of companies handling (and mishandling) their online reputations as social media became more influential in decision makers’ decisions.
What about your company? Will this be the year you finally decide to dabble in social media? Or is your company ready to revamp its social media listening strategy?
Either way, you can make this your year for a positive online reputation. We stress to our clients that listening and analyzing online conversations is essential to creating and maintaining a strong online presence, but it’s not always so easy. Here are some tips to help make your online reputation management easier:
[2010 ORM Tip #1: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid]
Remember the 1978 “Peoples Temple Agricultural Project” AKA Jonestown, created by a California cult in Guyana and ended by cyanide-laced Kool-Aid? to remind us that while social media is hot, there’s still some legwork to be done.
While social media has proven to work for a number of large and small businesses from Starbucks to The Marsh Cafe, their strategies were developed specifically for their own purposes.Copying what others have done to increase business, lower costs, provide better customer service, etc. is not a sure-fired guarantee to success. Your business needs to develop its own social media listening and engagement strategies customized to fit your needs.
[2010 ORM Tip #2: Monitor online conversations at least once a week]
Ideally, monitoring should be done on an hourly basis, but let’s be realistic. You already have too much scheduled on your daily calendar to be monitoring what is being said about your company every hour.
There are a number of free and paid tools available to help you monitor conversations easily and efficiently. Google Alerts and Social Mention are popular free tools that you can use to receive scheduled reports about company mentions if you think you aren’t quite ready for a customized dashboard that lets you access the data directly. But make the commitment to check at least once a week. If you’re just starting to get into social media, it could provide you with some great insights as to where to go next.
[2010 ORM Tip #3: Root out at least one problem area]
Online reputation management is often seen as trying to get rid of negative Internet users’ comments and reviews.
But what if they’re right?
Businesses are often reticent to get involved in social media because they are afraid of the risk of exposing themselves to attacks online. But look at these so-called “attacks” as opportunities to improve your product, customer service, or brand image. And – bonus – everyone that sees your online interactions will also build a more positive connection with your brand name.
[2010 ORM Tip #4: Connect with at least one influencer]
And we don’t mean send them a PR pitch. Find people online that are influential in your industry or that talk about your industry, and figure out what’s important to them.
Connect with them on their blog, on Twitter, or wherever they are, and then try to connect with them offline. Bloggers and other social media mavens are people just like you; they like to be encouraged in their work and pitched interesting ideas, not sold on how to promote you. Connecting with them on a non-professional level can lead to long-term relationships that stand to benefit the online reputations of both parties.
[2010 ORM Tip #5: Accept total transparency]
Information about your business, product, brand, and/or competitors is out there. And searchable. What consumers find, though, depends on what is put out there. And what is put “out there” just well may be information you weren’t willing to share.
Join in! If you engage Internet users in conversations that are meaningful to them, you are taking a step to show them that their opinions and thoughts matter to you. Now who wouldn’t love to do business with a company that cares about its customers?
Of course, these are only a few of many suggestions that can make this year the year you take control of your online reputation.
What are your tips? What has worked / not worked for you?