3 Steps to Building a Positive Online Reputation for Your Business
If people hate you, you must be doing something right.
It’s a statement that really resonates with the online world. Let me elaborate on this slightly: no matter how perfectly you run your company, how strong your social media presence is, or how terrific your product is, you’ll more than likely face negative criticism. And the fact of the matter is, this may put you at risk of losing clients, getting fewer page views, and losing money.
So how do you best respond to complaints – whether genuine or not – without putting your reputation on the line? Moreover, what strategies can you put in place in order to limit the damaging effects of public criticism to your brand, while at the same time enhance your company’s profile and reputation?
According to Kristi Hines from KISSmetrics, ‘‘One of the things that many businesses fear about being online is that they will open the door to people publicly criticizing them, their products, or their services. But it doesn’t matter whether your business is online or not – if your customers are online, then people will still be talking about you!’’
One particularly valuable technique that will put you a step ahead toward building a positive online brand is the ‘‘M.O.E Method,” which centers on the concepts of monitoring, optimization, and engagement.
First, protect your brand by monitoring it – To successfully manage your reputation, you need to monitor your products, company, brand, and key executives, in addition to monitoring the news search, the tags, social media, search results, forums, threads, and blogs. It’s not as complicated as it seems. You can monitor all of the above by using Google Alerts or Yahoo Alerts, or through subscriptions to your RSS feed. To monitor tags, you can use www.keotag.com. Mastering these effective tools is crucial to managing your reputation and is an important practice for defending the credibility of your company, your products, and of course, yourself.
Secondly, optimize your brand on a daily basis – This approach is an effective preventive measure. Start by building your daily social media and online schedule around promoting your brand. Engage with fans and followers of your company on social networking sites. Each site has a different image and feel, and will reflect your brand differently. In turn, each individual channel will attract a different type of user to your brand. Once your channels are up and running, concentrate your time and effort on creating high-quality, original content that enhances your brand’s image.
Finally, engage with your community – You have to engage by addressing the cause. You have to deal with both the positive and negative comments about your company. Make sure you research the situation, encourage feedback, and always, always address customers’ concerns and criticisms immediately.
These three steps will inject some momentum into proactively maintaining a strong online brand image. Maybe you’ll even end up like First Direct, who are expert leaders within the online banking industry when it comes to managing and protecting their brand. So much so that they have become associated with proactivity, consistency, and honesty, thanks to their highly-effective Twitter support feed.