Online reputation management is often misunderstood. People usually confuse it with public relations or social media monitoring, while some do not even know it exists. However, effective online reputation management can benefit companies of all sizes and can have an impact on the bottom line. In this short guide, we will explain how to use reputation management in Naperville to benefit your business.
The Social Media Landscape
The internet has changed everything. In the past, most companies would have little direct engagement with their customers, outside of a few market research techniques that were performed either through surveys or in a closed environment. The communication was pretty much one-way and top down in most cases, from the company, to the clients, through advertising.
Today, however, this is no longer the case. Social media has given a voice and wide reach to anyone with a smartphone or laptop. This has closed the gap between companies and their customers, with customers being able to openly share their opinion about your company. They are talking about your products and services, leaving comments on your blog, sharing reviews, describing their customer experience on social media, and more.
Reputation Management Mistakes
There’s no doubt that being transparent and open to the public can be risky. However, this risk is worthwhile in the long run. To start our guide, it’s best that we start with some common mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
- Dark Horse Café: The Dark Horse Café received criticism on Twitter regarding the lack of electrical outlets in their locations. Customers wanted to charge their laptops and phones while they were enjoying their coffee. In response, Dark Horse Café wrote something along the lines of: “We are not an office building, we are a coffee shop. We have all the outlets we need to do our job.” This type of overtly defensive/passive aggressive response reflects very poorly on the company, especially in their line of work. The experience of a coffee shop is as much about feeling welcome as it is about the coffee itself.
- Nestlé: Nestlé showed a similar disregard for its customers when the company received a lot of criticism for its environmental practices. In response to the many complaints it received, Nestlé remained silent, choosing to ignore the outcry. Soon enough, customers became more aggressive in their criticism to the point where the company was forced to close its public page. This case teaches us that it is important to respond to the criticism in a timely fashion, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.
- Amy’s Baking Company: This case was so egregious that it actually ended up on the local news, when the company’s representative started insulting one user who left a one-star review. Needless to say, this is a very bad PR practice.
Online Reputation Management in Naperville Best Practices
Now that we’ve covered what NOT to do, let’s take a look at some best practices. To start, you’ll want to be aware what the general feeling is out there. If you keep an eye on what people are saying on social media, not only can you anticipate and respond to poor reviews, you can also interact with your audience and answer any questions they may have. Always address criticism forthrightly and in a polite manner, but make sure that you discern between legitimate criticism and illegitimate attacks. There are websites out there that are dedicated to negative reviews, with some disgruntled customers creating impromptu websites to attack a company. If you are targeted in this way, make sure that you have a legal recourse, or at least proof-based argumentation that can address the false information spread by the attackers.
If you would like to discuss the advantages of reputation management for your business, contact us today!