Reputation marketing isn't something to be improvised. I always encourage my clients to take the offensive when it comes to their reputation. Most companies have an area or two where they operate in the crisis management mode and can get away with it.
Given today's connected society reputation marketing is an area that can have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time.
Every company from a major corporation to a solo entrepreneur working at home has to have a solid plan for managing its reputation. There are five steps to doing this effectively.
Step 1 - Brainstorm Possible Reputation Damage Scenarios
Sit down and make a huge list of all of the different things that can happen. Imagine everything from a small bump in the road to a major emergency. The most obvious problem would be a negative post somewhere complaining about your company's service. There may also be a situation where a customer doesn't understand your company's policies and the complaint comes from this misunderstanding.
Brainstorm each place where a comment could appear so that you can create a plan for dealing with each. Examples would be personal blogs, your blog comments, social media sites, online forums, review sites, etc.
Step 2 - Determine the Best Response
For each item on your list, decide what would be the best response. Consider it from the point of view of other customers who will be watching. For example, you might respond to a complaint on Facebook by engaging with the customer, asking them to clarify, empathizing with them, and then offering them a solution.
To other users who are reading the thread, your company shows that it cares about customers and not just its own reputation.
Included in this plan should be a chain of command notification. When a problem is discovered, how will it be communicated to everyone in the company who needs to know?
Step 3 - Set up a Plan for Monitoring
You know what to look for. The next step is to decide how to monitor. One way to monitor all online content is through alert notification programs like Google Alerts.
You may also routinely check Twitter using hashtags and Facebook by searching posts or using HyperAlerts.
You might identify certain online forums, review sites, and other sites where you're likely to be mentioned for monitoring.
Step 4 - Delegate Monitoring
Put someone in your company in charge of monitoring.
You may want to delegate to several staff members. For example, if a certain staff member handles your Facebook account, put them in charge of monitoring Facebook for comments.
Make sure everyone is on the same page with all procedures for dealing with negative comments.
Step 5 - Create Positive Content
This step is often forgotten. In addition to doing damage control, reputation marketing is also about creating content that shows your company in a positive light.
Seek testimonials and reviews from your customers and create fresh content on your website, social media sites, and blog. Positive content will off-set any negative content.
This is an ongoing job, so make things like soliciting feedback from customers a regular part of your sales process.
Many companies and online professionals decide to outsource reputation marketing to a company that specializes in this field. These companies have experience and tools to manage a company's reputation comprehensively.
Look on what on your strategic plan for the next 6 months? Do you have a plan? Make this a priority.