How to Incorporate Reputation Management into Your Marketing Strategy
Large and small businesses alike are going to be affected by their reputation. It’s a key component to your success as a business, and in this digital age, the search results the appear for your company on Google or Bing can have a huge impact on your success.
Customers are now able to write detailed reviews about their experiences with your company on sites that everyone has access to. They can write blogs on dedicated sites like YourCompanySucks.com or start social media campaigns to protest the way you do business. They can complain about your new logo or product, and their complaints can pick up traction and influence people around them to keep away from or to dislike your business. Customers have the ability to make your company sink or swim like never before.
You are not helpless against them, however. You can make sure that the products and services you provide are of high quality, you can treat your customers well and ensure that you do business responsibly.
Even companies that have customers’ respect can have problems every now and then. This is why you need to be proactive about your online reputation management, and you need to work them into your marketing plans.
We have detailed a few guidelines for ensuring that your marketing approach includes reputation management strategy.
Begin by reaching out through social media.
Customers can interact with you directly thanks to social media, and you can interact with them as well. If there are people out there using social media to talk about your company, then you should be engaging them and overseeing the conversation.
Many companies hire people to deal with the social media aspect of the marketing division. These people can be called social media managers, community managers or something similar. No matter the title, it is vital that you have someone overseeing your company’s social media efforts.
You need to be careful about just throwing someone into the job. Make sure they know what’s expected of them and how they should be engaging with customers. Set a tone for them to follow and ensure they stick to it. You also need to tell them how to deal with negative feedback.
Have a policy for social media interactions.
There are many times where a company has gotten themselves in trouble because one of their employees interacted with customers on their behalf in the wrong way. They may not have the authorization to do so or the right training on how to engage with customers. Whatever the case, you need to make certain that doesn’t happen with your company, and you can do that by creating a social media policy and ensuring that your employees follow it. Tell them what is okay and not okay to do online when speaking about the company or speaking on its behalf.
3. Make sure your marketing efforts include aspects of your social media plan.
All of your online efforts have some bearing on your marketing plans. Whether it is on the Web or not, if it involves communicating with customers, it should be included in your marketing plan.
If you want your company brand to hold strong, then you need to ensure that your customer communications are consistent across all forms of media. If you can keep your tone and message consistent, then you will be better able to retain customers and attract new business.
You should also think about creating a message your employees can use when they are speaking on your behalf or about the company. This doesn’t have to be a verbatim message they copy and paste but rather a list of key words to use, information to avoid including and protocols for how information should be shared. An example would be when you have a new product getting ready to launch, you make sure that your employees don’t blow the big reveal by talking about it too early.
Plan for a crisis.
Accidents can happen sometimes, and you need to have a plan in place to deal with them.
No matter what size your company is, you need to be ready to deal with angry customers, recalled products, site outages and more. Social media tools can ensure that you stay on top of those problems and address customer concerns right away.
If you are proactive about reputation problems, then you will have plans ready to go in the event of just about any imaginable crisis. You may also want to protect your brand by buying out multiple URLs related to your company so that no one else can claim them and make defamatory or negative comments on there. You also want your community manager to be ready to deal with negative press and comments in a professional manner.