The amount of criticism is generally directly proportional to one’s popularity. This is true in all cases and brands have lately been more prone to criticism with the online podium being opened to all. It is nearly impossible to keep everyone happy. Not to forget competitors who may be desperately waiting to add fuel to the fire. Hence, it does not make any sense to expect zero negativity for your brand online. However, you must strive to do is to get positive content many times more than that of available negative content about your brand in order to nullify the effect, and pave way for a positive listing.
With sites like Complaints.com, SmashScam, Complaint Board, RipOff Report and Local sites like Yelp and Superpages that act as a venting point for frustrated consumers, Online Reputation Management has become even more necessary for all brands, big or small.
First: Know what they think of You…
Unlike earlier days when companies had to embark upon surveys and experiments to study, consumer behavior like chipping in a focus group, manual tools like Google Alerts, Yahoo! Pipes and varied RSS feeds available online can at an instance can help you understand the online turf with respect to your brand including news, tweets, posts, comments, wikis, blogs, etc. Once you comprehend with this information, ascertain, and weigh the positive and negative ones.
Second: Measure the Noise
Examine the net and scout for the negative information about your brand i.e. the noise that consumers are making with respect to your brand. You need to gauge them individually and measure the threat level they impose. Do not strive to alleviate all of them. Some of them can be harmless considering the bleak chances of them reaching out to your target audiences.
Do not shun from responding. Internet is for all. You are free to explain the situation and defend yourself the same way your consumers are free to criticize your product or service. In cases where you are communicating with consumers, take care not to sound arrogant but use this situation to make peace with them. Ensure that this will not happen the next time. On the other hand, if you find some fabricated news against your company, do not be scared of attacking the portal. There are high chances they may remove it in case they are not able to authenticate it.
Hence, defend and attack depending on the situation.
Then: SEO comes to Your Rescue
Along with all these measures, you need to be proactive and put to use your SEO skills. Creating positive and unbiased content about your brand on a continuous basis, creating profiles on social networking channels, and engaging in direct relationship with your consumers, encouraging your loyal consumers to write reviews, optimize, and involve in link building activities for your present content.
Online Brand Monitoring is necessary for Online Reputation Management because you cannot solve a problem unless and until you understand it. Keep an eye constantly on the internet to comprehend online interactions about your brand and when necessary, pull the plug before the damage is done. While like said before, it is impossible to have a helmsman ship over online content and keep it criticism free for your brand; you must make an effort to keep them away from the first twenty results.
Summary: Brands cannot please everybody and hence, Online Reputation Management turns out to be an inevitable tool. Constant online brand monitoring will help you ascertain when and how your online reputation management strategies must be implemented.