Who Needs A Reputation Management Strategy?
The Day Of Reputation Management Reckoning
The other week I organised to meet one of my friends for coffee. She runs her own little business so it doesn't surprise me if she's running late every so often. On our last 'relaxing' coffee break I was surprised to find her not just late but very flustered. After some cautious probing she said she'd found the reason for the drop in orders over the previous month but didn't know what to do about it.
It turned out that a misunderstanding about six weeks previously had left a customer irritated and he had consequently taken to the Internet to vent his frustration. His colourful take on her business could be found on various social media websites, review pages and his blog. Some of his rants had even made their way into the search engines, which my friend now believed was putting off potential customers.
Whilst a troublesome and malicious turn of events, it could have been avoided.
Small Businesses Have A Brand To Protect Too
I had mentioned reputation management and brand protection in the past but my friend was firmly of the opinion that only big companies needed services like that. As a local business run by a small team, she was confident she could manage her image with good customer service although I think she's changed her mind now.
In years gone by, reputation management services have been aimed more towards larger companies but times have changed. Social media websites have provided consumers with the perfect platform to share their opinions on local and national businesses. Studies have shown that reviews on social media significantly impact buying decisions with companies so actually, one damaging comment can cost companies of any size.
The trend of consumers sharing recommendations is only set to continue, as Facebook are incorporating a module for just that. Companies need to be aware of what is being said about them because it will directly impact their reputation and without a brand protection plan in place, improving public perception can be very hard.
Be Proactive About Brand Protection
You've probably heard of the adage that once something is on the Internet, it's there forever. In the case of bad reviews, whether on social media websites, personal blogs or other reviewing modules this is exactly the case, so they could pop up at any time in the future to haunt you. Having an in-house or specialist outsourced reputation management plan will mean staying on top of online perceptions and having a strategy to respond to negative press so it causes the least impact or can be turned into a positive. Bear in mind it can be hard to track comments, as they are often not made in relation to a company's own social media marketing, so strong strategies can be time consuming to implement.
Another cliché; prevention is better than cure. Don't wait until a disgruntled customer seeks digital vengeance, like my friend did. Take charge of your reputation management.