7 Basic Principles You Should Follow to Manage Your Online Reputation
Internet and social media marketing can involve considerable risks. Taking care of your good reputation on the web is a must for every company.
Anyone who wants to get involved in social networks also runs the risk of receiving negative reactions or comments or becoming the victim of caricatures and parodies. Managing the company’s reputation on the Internet and social networks is therefore an integral part of the online marketing strategy.
The Internet is like a mirror with extreme magnification, in which every little mistake or flaw can be spread around the globe in record time. There are plenty of examples of venerable companies whose online marketing strategy was destroyed in just a few days after being communicated poorly, arrogantly or inappropriately in a crisis. Therefore, it is essential for both companies and individuals to maintain their good reputation on the Internet.
Here are some basic principles that can help you with your online reputation management.
- Keep a constant check on your reputation. The best way to measure your online image is to install monitoring software that checks what is said about you so that you can react as quickly as possible. For example, use Google Alerts, Yahoo! alerts or similar tools, search for your name, your products or services, or the names of your employees who appear most often in public.
- Respond (very) quickly. The best online marketing strategy, a modern website and interactive, popular videos are useless if you don’t respond to users. At least try to respond to the most important comments in social networks (e.g. on your Facebook page). If the comments are positive, a simple “thank you” may be enough to show that you value the opinions. Meaningful negative comments give you the opportunity to improve the quality of your products or services: Answer calmly and politely and show that you are willing to question yourself.
- Formulate precise rules for the use of social networks within your company. Your online communication should give the impression of coherence and uniformity. It is essential that your employees contribute to this by not posting negative or reputation-damaging comments — not even (and especially) on their personal profile. Create a precise set of rules for your online communication that explicitly defines what may be said by whom under which circumstances and make sure that your employees take note of them.
- Publish content of good quality. A good information offering that is useful to users is not only important for reaching an audience, but also the best way to build and maintain a positive reputation.
- Repel negative messages with positive ones. It can happen that negative messages about your company appear on the first results page of search engines, whether they are true or pure slander. Sometimes it is possible to enforce that certain reputation-damaging content is removed from the net, but this is usually a lengthy process. A more efficient method is to “wash away” the negative message so that it no longer appears on the first result pages in search engines. This requires sophisticated SEO techniques and it may be wise to contact companies that specialize in protecting and cleaning up the online image.
- Rely on your virtual community. In a crisis you will get the best support from your fans. Once you have successfully implemented your online marketing strategy, you usually have a loyal virtual fan community. They can step into the breach for you and defend you in case of an attack.
- Make a plan B. The Internet is a very fickle medium that reacts to everything immediately. Even the most professional and sophisticated marketing strategy is not immune to failure or misdirection. Follow the results of your efforts closely and learn the necessary lessons from any disappointments.