Managing reputation online

Now it has become a practice for the people to search for a brand which they want to purchase on offline and online.  Whenever I want to purchase a certain item I always refer Google to get  the exact specs and the  brands that are being presently marketed.  Recently when I wanted  to purchased a laptop I searched a number of Sri Lanka sites to get the names of the companies who are marketing the particular brand which I wanted to buy.  This helped me find the company which marketed the exact brand I preferred to purchase and I must say I really succeeded in buying one to my satisfaction.

In Sri Lanka online business is not a big hassle because only few companies provide online service.  Also I would  like to point out that very rarely customers in our country search for information o n online.  In order to promote a brand it is always important to get the opinion of the customers regarding the product which they have purchased online or offline.  Although it is difficult for an organization to have a track on offline purchases word of mouth,  it is easy to have a track on online buzz about the brand.  It is possible to get the views of the customers through online but there is also danger in same as well.  For e.g. if there are more negative results posted by unsatisfied customers regarding a particular brand, the company tends to lose 70% of the business made online.  In order to overcome this, the company should have a proper strategy to manage the online reputation.

As a marketing manager of a company you will be happy to view positive comments regarding the products marketed by your company, but at the same time you will be very much disappointed when you see negative results in Google search results.  If you come across a situation like this, you can implement the following tactics in order to overcome this problem and in the long term this will give you good results.

1 – If you have a site try creating some of the subdomain to get listed in the search results. Make sure you do some link building activities in order to increase the popularity of the sub domains.

2 – Create other domains that  represents your brand name. Eg- If your brand name is genuine.com then think of registering other domain pointers like genuine.net, genuine.org, genuine.info and add some valuable content.

If the .com site is transactional then .info to tell something about your brand such as new releases , new features, press room, corporate information etc.

3 – Create blogs and optimize it related to your brand name. According to my experience a well written wordpress.com blog is well picked up by the search engines. Eg- genuine.wordpress.com. Add some good content and update it regularly. So once the search engines identified your blog as a useful one it will show  up  your brand keyword. You also can try the same for blogger.

After creating blogs representing your brand name now submit it to blog communities. Blogged.com, mybloglog.com, blogcatalog.com are some of the good communities where  you can submit. Make sure you create the usernames represent the brand name.

Eg – http://www.blogged.com/profile/yourbrandname

4 – Try creating social networking profile to represent your name. Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Dailymotion are some of the good sites. Try to avoid using nicknames instead use your brand name.

5 – Create company profiles in Linkdin, which will also highly valued content by search engines. Don’t you have a company profile in Linkdin, What you can do is create an employee profile and then add your company name. Once one entry is added you can see a page created for your brand. In Naymz you can also claim your company identity.

6 – Create a sample site in Webnode. It is a free web site creation tool but high search engine friendly. The inbuilt options give you the way to set up site maps, optimize the site. You can have some related content in the site and have some bookmarking.

7 – If there are blog, forum sites contains your negative comments, request them nicely to remove the posts. Just explain them the situation that you are in. In general sites wont remove those because it can be a breach of independent opinion. But you can have a try.

8 – If you see some good result in the second page try to get those pages up by doing some optimization activities.

9 – Do press leases and find out good PR sites to distribute it. These will be crawled quickly and get listed.

10 – If you can create widgets use widgetbox.com to create and submit. This will be also get listed quickly in search results.

11- Do some bookmarking as well

Just do the above by having an action plan. It will get you positive results after few months and you will realize most of the negative results gone down. For your brand keywords if the search results are not competitive then your job will be more easy. You can see the results very quickly.

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Online Reputation Management- Tools you have to consider

Online reputation management consists of tracking your brand and reacting when necessary. When I heard about the topic I was not so clear what actually an online reputation management is? So went through all possible sources to identify what does it mean. In simple term in it a way of brand monitoring.

Its now year 2009. You should be able to monitor your bran in the online world. Why it is important?

1 – It will save you from a potential disaster ( say if someone cites your bran in an article)

2- Help you to join the conversation about you ( Forums)

3- It will help you to identify the potential customers most importantly your supporters

4 – To build relationship

If you are not active in the online world it means you are loosing a lot of chances and opportunities to advertise your value to the world. The below tools are originally published in Marektingprof and I think its useful to give those in this post.

Do you know what people are saying about you?

If you want to know how to track your presence and monitor your brand, then you are in luck. Below are the top 6 tools for your online reputation management program. They can be used for product and corporate brands in addition to your personal brand. Use each to search, locate and respond when necessary.

Also, they can be leveraged as part of your marketing strategy, to discover your audience and market to them directly.

1. GoogleGoogle.com/alerts

  • Definition: Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query or topic. You can subscribe to each alert through email and RSS.

  • Application: Many people use their RSS readers to view these alerts, and PR agencies use alerts to track their campaigns. You can monitor a news story, keep current with your industry and competitors, and see who is writing about you, all at the same time.

  • Marketing strategy: Set a comprehensive alert, notifying you of stories, as they happen, for your name, your topic, and even your company. As your feed reader fills up with articles that match your query, you should start a database of bloggers and journalists so that you can market to them directly and form better relationships.

2. Blog posts—Technorati.com

  • Definition: If you have a blog, then you have to be on Technorati, which is the largest blog search engine in the world. When you register with it, Technorati tracks “blog reactions,” or blogs that link to yours.

  • Application: Search for your name on Technorati, and subscribe to RSS alerts so that when someone blogs about you, you find out.

  • Marketing strategy: Use Technorati to log every blog that is linking to your own. Keep track of these blogs, and when you write your next post link to them. Doing so will give recognition to those who have recognized yours.

3. Blog comments—backtype.com

  • Definition: Recently, a new service came out to solve the problem of monitoring blog comments. Think about it, someone can comment on you on a series of blogs, but if you only track posts you’ll really miss out. BackType is a service that lets you find, follow, and share comments from across the Web. Whenever you write a comment with a link to your Web site, BackType attributes it to you.

  • Application: Use backtype.com to remind yourself where you commented, discover influencers who are commenting on blogs that you should be reading, and continue conversations that you started previously.

  • Marketing strategy: Establish a list of key influencers in your topic area. Then follow their comments from blog to blog and leave your own comment after theirs. This will help build your brand by association.

4. Discussion boards—boardtracker.com

  • Definition: Along with blogs and traditional news stories, discussion boards are another channel where people can gather in a community and talk about you. Most people disregard discussion boards until they see other sites commenting on information viewed on them.

  • Application: Use boardtracker.com to get instant alerts from threads citing your name.

  • Marketing strategy: Find all boards that are related to your subject matter and join the top 2-5, based on the amount of conversations and the volume of registered users. Join the communities by starting threads, while leaving your name and URL at the end of each post.

5. Twitter—search.twitter.com

  • Definition: Twitter is a microblogging service, hosting over three million people. Twitter messages (tweets) move at the speed of light, and if you don’t catch them they will spread like a virus.

  • Application: Using Twitter search, you can locate any instances of your name and tweet back (or remain silent).

  • Marketing strategy: As you see tweets with your name attached to them, you should use the “@” sign and the tweeter’s account name (e.g., @danschawbel) to respond accordingly. As you respond, you start to build brand recognition and your audience feels that you care and are actively listening.

6. FriendFeed—friendfeed.com/search

  • Definition: FriendFeed is a social aggregator. You have the ability to take all of your social accounts, such as YouTube, Delicious, Twitter, blog, and Flickr, and pull them together into a single (Friend) feed.

  • Application: You can conduct searches on your brand throughout all social networks at once using this search engine. Aside from learning about the latest video or tweet related to your topic, you can analyze comments that people make under them.

  • Marketing strategy: Grab a FriendFeed widget (friendfeed.com/embed/widget) and display it on your Web site or blog, so people get a sense of your social media activity. Also, as you search and locate people who are talking about your brand on FriendFeed, respond to them through comments.

All six of these free tools can be used to monitor and market your company’s brand name as well.

If you aren’t taking care of your online reputation, others will. It’s time to find out what people are saying—and do something about it. Marketing to your audience becomes seamless after you’ve done your homework using these tools.

Originally Published on Marketingprofs