Why Track Your Online Reputation?

Though unfortunate, a person’s online reputation is nearly always at risk. Regardless of who you are, what you do or the size of your company, your brand name can be attacked in numerous online ways, as well as by a variety of people. Competitors, adversaries, dissatisfied customers, unhappy patients, disgruntled former employees and more now have access to the most advanced information distribution system in the world: The Internet. There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands of online venues available to people looking for way to vent their frustrations, hurt their competitors or inflict harm on their enemies. The need to track your online reputation is an undeniably more important than ever before.

Track Your Reputation

Benefits of Online Reputation Tracking

The benefits of online reputation tracking are numerous, perhaps even endless. Here are several key advantages of online reputation monitoring:

Crisis Control

Negative comments or blog posts, if left untended, have the potential to become damaging threads and receive prominent positions in Google ranking pages. By tracking your online reputation, you can effectively stay aware of any new negative online items and address them before they become real public problems. Consistent monitoring can help to keep both you and your company above the fold.

Reputation tracking is a key component of online crisis control, says Bizzuka.com. “You will be made aware of a crisis long before it has an opportunity to escalate to a point where overcoming negative sentiment becomes a costly, lengthy affair.”

Conversation Control

Online reputation monitoring allows you to know who is talking about you, as well as how your image or brand is being discussed in online forums. Keeping apprised of discussion boards, threads and comments within social media forums, blogging sites and others can help you to tailor your online presence in a way that steers the conversation in your favor. According to a 2013 report by Technorati Media, “Consumers said keeping up with a company’s activities and learning about their products and services were the top reasons for following brands on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.”

By understanding how you’re being mentioned and the people most commonly talking about you, particularly on social media, you have the ability to design an effective and positive content campaign that best meets their communications needs.

Online Marketing

By keeping you informed of your place in online discussion, online reputation tracking can also provide you a valuable opportunity to build an effective marketing strategy; one with the potential to improve your brand’s awareness, outshine your competition’s online presence and create a broader and more profitable customer base. Reputation tracking has the ability to keep you’re company informed about consumer trends, discussions and competitor successes, which can, in turn, provide you with tools to build a better-tailored and more successful online marketing approach.

Better Customer Service

Consistent monitoring of your reputation allows you to immediately address customer and employee problems, providing more attentive customer service through swifter issue resolution. Tracking consumer review sites, discussion boards and social media allows you to more efficiently correct a customer’s recent problem with your product, service or experience, which can lead to higher rates of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Online reputation monitoring allows you to stay on top of your reputation, though it generally requires a commitment of manpower, time, technology and expertise to be performed effectively. “Between monitoring social media mentions, ad campaigns, blog comments and mentions across the Web at large,” says Content Marketing Strategist Angela Stringfellow, “you can easily find yourself thoroughly tied up trying to keep tabs on your brand online.”

Often times the best way to  is through a professional online reputation management service; a company equipped to handle the numerous threats and potential harm to your online  reputation.

Barilla Demonstrates How Playing Politics Gets Companies Burned

Barilla has recently joined the ever-growing list of companies who are learning that it just doesn’t pay to play politics. Company CEO Guido Barilla and his pasta alike are now facing down a storm of outrage after Barilla said publically that he would “never feature a homosexual family” in his company’s advertising.

Barilla now joins the growing list of companies that are suffering for giving in to the urge to play politics.

You are certainly entitled to have whatever beliefs that you want. But you can expect that associating your brand with a political stance will have several negative consequences.

 

You Lose Market Share

It doesn’t matter which political opinion you espouse. Our country is stridently divided on most of the big issues.

So, any way you slice it you’re going to lose customers if you choose to pick a side. The only exception is granted to super-niche industries that only appeal to individuals who are sure to share your stance. If you’re selling vegan hemp handbags feel free to be an outspoken environmentalist. You may still want to remain silent about gay marriage or tax policy.

You Grant Companies a New USP

Bloomberg Business Week reports that Barilla’s competitor, Bertoli, responded to Barilla’s self-imposed reputation problem by releasing a flood of pro-gay ads.

Arguably, pasta is usually just a commodity product. There’s very little that most companies can do to distinguish one $1.00 box of dried flour, eggs, and water from another $1.00 box of dried flour, eggs, and water.

But now, Bertoli has brand new USP that will damage Barilla for a long time. They get to position themselves as “the tolerant good guys.” And while they, too, are technically promoting a political stance, nobody’s throwing much outrage their way. Their market share is growing, absorbing everyone who now refuses to do business with Barilla.

You Wreck Your Web Presence

Cleaning up Barilla’s web presence after this kind of a gaffe is hardly an impossible undertaking. However, it will require a significantly higher investment than it would have required just an hour before the disastrous interview.

Now the web is flooded with dozens of news stories, blog posts, and tweets. The interview was even lampooned on The Daily Show. The public isn’t likely to forget the matter quickly.

If there are any positive returns to be had for aligning one’s business message with a particular political message they are ultimately quite difficult to see. Resist the urge, and you’ll find online reputation management becomes far easier.