With online platforms giving more people more opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings on anything and everything that comes to mind, reputation management has become a much bigger marketing challenge in recent times.
By now, most brands are aware of the need to monitor their brand name on social media, and manage branded organic visibility. But are those elements enough? Are businesses missing important reputation management tasks that can threaten their standing?
Here's the truth - most businesses are doing just that.
To help, here are three important tasks that every business should include in their reputation management strategy.
1. Accessibility Issues May Blow Up
Web accessibility is a largely ignored issue, which is unfortunate, because roughly 15% of the world's population is considered disabled to a degree (meaning that they are not able to use the Internet effectively and/or independently without assistance from humans or technology or both).
Ignoring this huge audience is not just a marketing fail, it's also a major risk to face a reputation crisis.
The most recent web-accessibility-related reputation scandal that blew up was pizza chain Domino's facing web accessibility lawsuits due to their website being inaccessible to the blind, which is in violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Another example is Beyonce's official website facing a lawsuit for failing to accommodate visually impaired users.
The recent wave of web accessibility lawsuits and scandals means that ensuring your website is accessible should be prioritized to avoid reputation crises and legal expenses.
accessiBe is an Artificial Intelligence-based platform which helps businesses comply with accessibility laws, and adapt their websites to the needs of disabled customers in accordance with ADA compliance.
Unlike web accessibility plugins, accessiBe answers 100% of the WCAG 2.1 requirements, which are the key standards for creating an accessible website.
2. Monitoring Your Competitor's Fails Can Be Your Marketing Opportunity
This tip will be especially useful for startups and new businesses that don't yet have enough reputation of their own to manage.
Monitoring your competitors' unhappy customers can provide a goldmine of marketing opportunities.
Through competitor monitoring, you can:
- Win those struggling customers to your side by providing a solution that would solve their problems
- Learn from your competitors' mistakes to avoid any reputational crisis they may be facing
- Use the findings to develop better products or services that cover a marketing gap in the industry
There are two ways to research and monitor your competitors' fails:
2.1. Set up Twitter Monitoring for [competitor :(]
Not many people are aware of this, but Twitter actually supports the "smilie" operator, which means that whenever you type :) or :( into Twitter search box, the results will include those symbols.
Tweetdeck, as Twitter's property, has that ability too. In order to utilize this, you can add a new column into Tweetdeck in order to get alerted whenever anyone is expressing a public disapproval of your competitor:
It's also a good idea to set this type of monitoring for your own brand name.
2.2. Research Questions People Are Asking About Your Competitor
People ask questions when they're struggling, which makes question research a great way to understand those struggles and address them.
Text Optimizer, like Google, relies on semantic research, so this can be a great way to better understand any searchable topic, including any entity (i.e. a place or a brand).
3. Google May Be Steering Your Customers in the Wrong Direction
Both Google and Bing have an autosuggest feature, and it's something that I think we tend to take for granted.
For professionals and business owners, this feature can offer some interesting perspective. Many businesses have no idea what's being suggested to their current customers when they type the brand name in the search box. Some of them don't really search their own brand name often enough - and even if they do, their suggestions may look different from what their customers are seeing because Autosuggest results are personalized. Or they may not be digging deep enough.
I've seen some pretty concerning auto-suggestions in the past. For example, if you put "McDonalds is" into Google, the first three suggestions are "bad", "nasty" and "expensive". That's hardly a good view into the positives of the company - and I have seen much worse examples.
On the other hand, when you just put in "McDonalds" you get "menu", "secret menu" and "dollar menu".
If you 've noticed that negative (or at least non-beneficial) search results are the first offered when you put in your brand name, you may have a problem. This can actually hurt traffic, and the overall reputation of your company.
On the other hand, this information can open your eyes to some burning issues with your site usability (for example, people desperately searching [your business name + how to upgrade]).
Here's an easy tool which enables you to dig deep into your branded auto-suggest results. Consider having your brand manager use it on a regular basis to spot some unfavorable results:
Reputation management is a key consideration for all businesses, and it's worth undertaking regular reviews with tools like these to ensure you're on top of any areas of potential concern.
Hopefully these tools assist in your process.