As online conversations grow and spread, there's a good chance people are "talking" about your brand using the tools of social media. But how can you find out what they're saying...and how should you be responding? In this workshop, Christina Kerley ("CK") of ckEpiphany Marketing educates and empowers you by connecting the dots of how to monitor what people are saying about your brand, how to leverage their talk to grow relationships and revenues and which techniques to use in responding to positive and negative feedback--as well as tips for engaging brand advocates. All this talk = a lot of opportunity.

Why Monitor Online Reputation

CK begins by discussing why you should be monitoring what people are saying about you online. The blogosphere has become a huge customer service channel. Many times customers will provide feedback via blogs and social media that a company can use to their advantage... if they are listening to the conversation.

  • Brand Evangelists - Companies should desire brand evangelists - essentially a person or group of individuals who will promote a brand. It's that old "word of mouth" marketing that can help (or harm) a company. Therefore a company should be looking to build up the number of brand evangelists they have.

  • Increase Brand Equity - Increasing brand equity is also a tactic a company should engage in by actively monitoring the blogesphere and getting involved in the conversation. Having a reputation of being attentive and responsive can go a long way in increasing a company's brand equity.

  • Become Social Media Savvy - Monitoring one's online reputation will also have the result of helping a company to become social media savvy. And why is this important? Because thousands and thousands of users are using social media sites which should send a wake up call to businesses that they need to be there as well.

  • Promotional Opportunities - There are also promotional opportunities. From favorable feedback, one can use the "buzz" as a promotional tactic in their marketing programs or even as a testimonial on their web sites.

  • Real Time Research - Monitoring provides real time research allowing you to listen to unbiased feedback, preferences and even learn about new trends. At the same time by listening to your customers, you can learn the language your customers speak - the language, the lingo and the messages they use.

CK then shows us a real case study where some people were not too happy with Comcast. The site was called Comcast Must Die! This forced Comcast to listen and finally take action in fixing the problems people had become so upset about.

In another example, a blogger ended up getting 7500 free air miles from American Airlines after complaining about them.

On the positive end, a blog called Rei's Pieces gave kudos to Yellow Tail wines.

So it can go both ways. What's crucial for companies is that they need to be monitoring the good and the bad of what is being said about them online.

Tools To Monitor Online Reputation

Next CK points out some free tools that will help you to monitor your online reputation.

  • Technorati - Allows you to search blog posts by keyword, or you can add a search to your feed reader. CK mentions that she feels the service has diminished in quality over the last few years. It is a good way to see who is linking to what right now or in other words, what people are talking about right now.
     
  • Google Blogsearch - This does what its name indicates - searches blog posts. Once you run a search, you can add it as an alert or add it as an feed to your RSS reader.
     
  • Google Alerts - This service will allow you to receive an email on a scheduled basis or as often as you want when certain keywords or phrases show up in new content Google finds. I use this to monitor my name as well as my company name.
     
  • Twitter Search - Allows you to search through Twitter which is becoming more and more important with the number of people who are now using this micro-blogging service. Use their basic search or take advantage of all the options offered in the advance search options. You can also add your searches to your RSS reader.
     
  • BackType -

Some of the keywords you want to include when using these tools is company centric keywords (i.e. trade names, product names), competitor centric keywords (i.e. trade names, product names) and areas of interest.

How To Respond

When receiving favorable feedback...

  • Thank them
  • Promote the positive feedback
  • Add the person's contact info to your database so you can keep in touch
  • Stay with the conversation and comments

When receiving unfavorable feedback...

  • Breathe!
  • Thank them for their feedback
  • Emphasize with them
  • Apologize

Remember, work to build an audience, but first listen to what your audience is saying. Keep listening, learning and participating, Rinse and repeat.

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Note: These are raw notes taken while live-blogging sessions at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Columbus, Ohio. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors.


September 23, 2008





David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as GoGuides.org, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.






Comments(3)

Thanks for sharing this David. I had to catch the other session at SBMU and I missed CK's great preso. Great summary. Thanks.

David

Thanks for taking and sharing your notes!

It looks like CK missed an issue though. Whether you get positive or negative feedback, it has to have an impact on your business operations. If you get positive feedback, the smart business owner will share that feedback with employees and ensure that the actions that won praise are part of the organization's regular way of doing business. If negative feedback is received, that smart business owner will respond publicly with a sincere effort to resolve the issue, and if the complaint has merit, will modify business operations to ensure that the issue doesn't arise again.

If there isn't this "feedback" tie-in with business processes, organizational DNA, staff training, or whatever you want to call it, the kudos will never outnumber the gotchas for many businesses. Reputation marketing only succeeds over the long term when the brand is willing to change and adapt in response to the feedback it receives.

Thanks,
Paul

If you get positive feedback, the smart business owner will share that feedback with employees and ensure that the actions that won praise are part of the organization's regular way of doing business. If negative feedback is received, that smart business owner will respond publicly with a sincere effort to resolve the issue, and if the complaint has merit, will modify business operations to ensure that the issue doesn't arise again.
Thanks for the great reading, ceo reputation management

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Search Engine Guide > David Wallace > Connecting the Dots: Online (Brand) Reputation Management - SBM Unleashed