Customer reviews, feedback, metions and comments are crucial for yoru overal Web reputation. Before you know it, they can either build your online reputation or break it to pieces.
In fact, when you think about it, what your customer says about you online can already be considered as digital "word of mouth advertisement." Priceless, right? However, as much as you need to exert effort to please your online audience, you need to focus on the potential threats as well. Prevention is better than cure, so be careful and watch out for these 5 common online reputation management mistakes:
1) Neglecting Your Online Presence
No matter how hectic your schedule is, you really need to make time to check all your online accounts (social media, offical email, website comments etc). All of them. Take note that people do not just post reviews or comments on one site. They will post to any of your “recognized” official accounts, expecting response in a timely manner. Make sure to check your official pages and profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. at least twice a day for any concerns about your product. Be where your customers are online.
Having an online presence is not enough because there are many other sites where your customers can talk to you or about you. While it is not necessary to have accounts on all social networking sites or to find out all blog site that might be mentioning you, there are ways to monitor conversations about your company across the web. An efficient monitoring tool you can use is the Google Alerts.
2) Passing on Your Personal Opinion
Talks about religion, politics or any controversial topics should always be separated with your business pages and profiles unless it touches on the nature of your business. As tempting as it may get, don’t let your emotions get in the way with these 3 sensitive topics. While you may feel strongly about a certain issue and share the same sentiments with some of your customers and stakeholders, there will be other stakeholders who do not. Personal insights should remain personal to avoid isolating and turning off people who may be important to your business. The goal is to appeal to everyone. Maintain your business to be always neutral.
3) Failue to Apply Social Media Policy for Employees
Your employees directly represent your company. What they do online might have a big impact on how your customers view your business. Imagine a circulating photo of employees of a restaurant playing with ingredients inside the kitchen area. Wouldn't that have a bad reflection of the restaurant?
While you are not imposing what they should do online just because they work for you, having a social media policy for your employees will help you manage what kind of online “publicity”your business should get from them. A social media policy will also help make your employees understand the value of professionalism and will set your legal responsibilities over their behavior online as well.
4) Engaging Customers in Anger
Negative reviews happen, and while not all are valid, a raised legitimate concern should always be addressed in an objective and open-minded way. Remember with the online community, one complaint can be seen by multiple people. In the same way that one well-thought of response can be witnessed by a lot of people. Engaging an irate customer head-on could never lead to anything good. Instead, keep your cool, acknowledge the complaint with politeness and state an action point to appease the customer. Never take the defensive approach to a negative feedback even if you suspect that the feedback is a dirty trick from the competitor or a troll. How you respond to angry customers will have an impact on all those who will witness. So the next time you encounter one, take a deep breath before composing your message.
5) Snubbing Customer Comments and Reviews
One of the biggest benefits of going digital is the ability to create and nurture a relationship with your customers. Ignoring comments and reviews made by your customers gives your business an unwelcoming impression. Who wants to have a relationship with someone who is giving you the cold shoulder anyway? While attending to your online presence does not only apply to negative feedbacks, it is equally important to acknowledge postive posts by thanking customers who took the time to say something nice about your business. Issues that cannot be resolved immediately should be replied with a turnaround time or with a suggestion for a solution that they need.
The key here is to make the customer feel valued by responding to their comments, whether postive or negative, in a timely and tactful manner.
Because the Internet has empowered every customer to voice out an opinion about your business and broadcast it to millions of people in realtime, online brand reputation management has become an integral part of any digital marketing campaign. Getting it right early on can save you from experiencing an online brand reputation nightmare.