by Mitt Ray
Do you want to better protect your brand? Would you like to learn how to manage your online reputation?
Managing online reputation is something every business should do 24/7. The spread of negative information about your company on blogs and social media can have dire consequences.
You might have already witnessed what happens when a celebrity or influencer with a large social media following tweets something about a brand. Their stock instantly dwindles.
When an angry customer or fan shares something negative about your business it might not have the same effect as a large celebrity or influencer, but it can lead to more negative responses from other customers which can multiply and cause a serious loss in credibility and sales.
This is why you should monitor your online presence every day to check your reputation. You can use this information to encourage positive comments and nip negative comments in the bud. I am going to discuss exactly how you can do this below…
How to monitor your current online reputation
While monitoring their online reputation one of the biggest mistakes businesses make is solely relying on monitoring tools. The problem with monitoring tools is that they only track social media handle mentions i.e. when someone intentionally tags your handle.
So, what’s going to happen when someone mentions your company’s name but doesn’t tag your handle? On Twitter alone people type the company name without tagging them 30.72% of the time.
Therefore, if you don’t want to miss out you should use a social mention and listening tool like Sentione.
On the Sentione dashboard, you can type in all the keywords you want to track. The keywords can range be the name of your company or a names of all your products. You can even type in other keywords in your niche and your competitors and their products as well.
This social listening tool will then scour social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and display all the posts in which your keywords have been mentioned. It even tracks mentions on forums, blogs and news sites.
The data is also represented in the form of several graphs. This includes a graph that shows the number of positive, negative and neutral mentions of the keywords you are tracking. This graph which displays the sentiment levels is the one you should pay the most attention to.
If the pink line graph which represents negative sentiment has a sudden spike, it means that you have to get to work and turn it into positivity.
How to devise a strategy that boosts your brand and generates sales
Once you find the negative comments it is necessary to follow a well-planned strategy and execute it efficiently instead of haphazardly responding to one comment here and one comment there. When you follow a proper strategy you will be able to finish the task quickly and completely. Here are a few things your online reputation management strategy should include…
1. Respond quickly
When you get started with dealing with online comments the first thing you must do is quickly respond to the oldest comments from people that still require your assistance. As this report shows most people expect a response within the first 2 hours.
As the ones who mentioned your company first have probably been delayed significantly, you should get back to the as soon as possible. After you get back to the oldest comments, you can begin responding to the latest online mentions. Here again be as quick as possible.
2. Work as a team(s)
Responding to all those comments quickly at once is not a one-person job. This is why you should hire people to assist you. Organising who handles which comments is an easy task as most social listening tools let you add several team members and assign tasks.
It is also advisable to have several teams located in different parts of the world. As people will leave comments at different times of the day, especially if you have customers all over the world. For example, if your company is based in America, you can get your local social media management and customer service teams to handle the comments that flood in during the day. But you can also hire teams to work remotely in countries like Australia and UK to handle those made during night time.
This way you will monitor everything 24/7.
3. Don’t say anything negative
While handling these negative comments, it is important that you or your team do not make any negative comments. People can sometimes be very mean online, but it is important for you to stay positive. If you make a negative comment it can reflect poorly on the company and it will only spur more negative comments online. Sometimes it is better to ignore these comments and not respond at all instead of saying something.
An example of a company that messed up severely while handling their online social media presence was Amy’s Baking Company. People began making a lot of negative comments on their Facebook page, but instead of ignoring these comments they fought back with their own negative comments and it just sent them on a downward spiral.
When you are in a similar situation it is best to ignore the comments. Do not read them or respond to them. It might seem hard at first, but they will eventually die down.
4. Know your facts
While responding to these online comments it is essential for your team to know the facts about your company, the product and the current situation that is causing the uproar. This way your team will be able to respond with the most honest and helpful responses.
Never lie to people online. This is not the type of relationship you want to establish with customers and potential customers. Also, if people figure out that you are lying, it will lead to much bigger problems.
If someone in your team doesn’t know the response they are supposed to give, they should assign the task to someone else who has more information.
5. Look for sales opportunities
While you deal with both positive and negative comments online, you will come across several sales opportunities. These could be to convert new customers and even to upsell products to existing customers. So, ask your customer service team to keep an eye out for them and pass people on to the sales team.
Sometimes instead of asking people to directly purchase your products, you can direct them to the starting point of your marketing funnel, like a lead magnet. This way you don’t have to sell to them via social media right away, but with email later which can be more effective than social media in generating customers.
You can even find sales opportunities when monitoring your competitors online. Your products might have the features your competitors products lack. So, track some of your competitors and their products too.
6. Collect feedback
While you monitor and respond to these comments, your social listening graphs will change. If the negative graph line is going down and the positive and neutral lines are going up, it shows that what you are doing is working and you can continue executing your current strategy.
If the graphs continue to follow a similar trend as they did in the beginning or things get worse, you need to change it immediately.
You can also get feedback by sending people to a feedback page and asking them to rate the experience. This will not just help you check how the entire strategy is doing, but also how individuals are performing.
If you follow the above steps you should be able to effectively protect your brand’s online reputation and avoid a crisis. Start off by monitoring your current online presence with a social listening tool to check if everything is flowing smoothly or if there is a problem.
If there is a problem and a lot of negative comments are flooding in, follow the above tips, gather your customer service team and create and execute a strategy that will rectify the problem. This will help you keep your customers happy and build a better brand.
How do you protect your brand’s online reputation? Which strategies have worked best for you? Please leave your comments below.
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Mitt Ray is the founder of Social Marketing Writing where he shares social media tips.