Tuesday 19 February 2013

Business Reputation and Social Media Management (Part 5)

Social Media Lawyers: Business Reputation and Social Media Management (Part 5)

How much influence can a company have over what is written about it on the internet? Clearly, it is not possible to police every comment or blog post but still, very often, it is possible to assess the organisation's susceptibility to becoming the target of an online reputation attack.

Evidently, many of the reputation issues that that my law firm deals with on a daily basis find their roots with the lacking of one or more of the three essential elements that we have discussed in this series, namely:

1. Prevention
2. Listening
3. Influencing

When it comes to taking steps to reduce the risk of online reputation crisis - everything counts. How much effort has the company been putting, over time, into understanding its customers, their needs and their reaction to the company's marketing, sales and customer support strategies? How much listening is the company doing? How sensitive the company is to customer's complaints, issues and unhappiness? How influential has the company been in shaping what people see, hear and feel about it online? The answer to each and every one of all these questions could be proved critical to the company's online reputation.

But how much influence can the company really have over what people see about it online?

Influencing your company's online reputation

You can influence what your customers see when they search for your company online. Companies need to get involved in online discussions. They should post articles and comments using methods such as blogs, discussion groups, websites and more.

These are not necessarily marketing tools, but they are forums of discussion where the company can present its views on matters that are important to consumers. Whenever you find negative comments about your company, join the discussion—but not necessarily on the forum where it has been initiated.

You might not want to comment on certain websites and forums for obvious reasons. But you can deal with substantive complaints and objections through your own company’s blog or website and invite your customers to join the conversation there.

Don't simply stay away and hope the complaints will disappear, because they won't. If you feel the situation is starting to get out of control, get expert advice.

You need to ask yourself hard questions. What caused the problem in the first place? What can you do about it? Use such adversities to improve your company’s performance and put customer support high on the company’s agenda.

Dell, a strong multinational company, survived its online reputation crisis, but at a very high cost. Smaller organisations don’t have Dell’s resources or reputation. If they don't follow the advice in this series, they might find it very challenging to survive, let alone thrive, in the months and years to come.

Posted by Social Media Solicitors.

Read part 1 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
Read part 2 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
Read part 3 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
Read part 4 of the Business Reputation Management and Social Media series.
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