Your reputation is everything. Originally your marketing, advertising or public relations team carefully controlled your company’s reputation. Messaging was delivered to the consumer by using well-placed articles, fancy PR campaigns, community involvement and advertising. The conversation was one way.  Businesses could share information about their product or service with the consumer. The consumer had a limited number of avenues to reach a business.  He could place a telephone call, write a letter or talk to his circle of friends about his experience. People were limited in how they could express their voice.

The rise and adoption of social media quickly turned the tables. Consumers now heavily influence the perception of your business. The advent of Facebook, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Instagram, HomeAway, Periscope and thousands of additional review-oriented platforms allows the consumer to reach thousands of people seeking information about your product or service. No matter what size of business, people are tweeting, posting, blogging, snapping and recording their experiences.

Online reputation management is more than just reading reviews. It is the practice of shaping public perception. There are many ways to manage your reputation, such as blogs, digital influencer campaigns and public relations, but engaging with those actively speaking about your business is the number one recommendation when entering into social media reputation management.

“Many of our clients realize how important a social reputation management program is to their business’ success,” says Marie Curren, account representative for Global Marketing Solutions. “Time is an important resource and our team can support managers and staff who are time deprived in establishing and maintaining a solid online reputation through our extensive management program. Our clients feel confident that their reputation is in good hands with GMS.”

Okay, you are ready to listen, now what?

  1. Be proactive. If you want to protect your brand, optimize digital communications. Share consumer tweets, posts and videos on your social channels and websites. Incorporate consumer communications into your content plan. Share on a consistent basis.
  2. Set up monitors. Some monitors include, Social Mention, Ice Rocket, TalkWalker, and RSS feeds . If you have claimed your business on TripAdvisor, an alert will be sent to you when a comment is posted.
  3. Start a blog. Become an authority in your field of business.

Negative comments should not be ignored. It is understandable that a negative mention can give you pause. It’s not always fun to hear from a critic. Have your action plan ready and view a negative comment as an opportunity to create a happy customer.

  1. Research the situation and determine if the comment has merit.
  2. If yes, engage the customer to resolve.
  3. If no, ask for more details and engage with the customer. Perceptions can vary and this is where you really need to listen.
  4. Respond quickly.
  5. Consumers will evaluate how you resolve a negative situation. No one is perfect and most consumers understand that. However, manner, voice, and transparency will influence anyone following the process.

Have you launched a social media reputation management program? We’d love to hear about your management experiences or to help you develop a plan to fit your needs.