70% of online consumers have said they use the Internet to research everyday grocery products. (Prospectiv, January 2008)
41% of Europeans claim to have changed their mind about what brand to buy as a result of researching choices online, according to EIAA’s latest Mediascope survey. (Mediascope Europe, November 2008)
Brands with the highest “social media activity” (includes reviews) increased revenues by as much as 18%. (Media Post News, July 2009)
Over half (51%) of consumers are using the Internet before making a purchase in a shop. They educate themselves on the best deals available. (Verdict Research, May 2009)
Do you still think online reputation is something you may ignore?
It is very important for present-day businesses to carefully listen to what is said online, even if what is said is negative. Listening gives you the ability to react, resolve problems and disprove untrue information that may negatively affect your brand and corporate reputation.
Consumers use search engines to gather information. When they search for your company or product names, you will want positive information to be found in the top positions of search engines results pages (SERPs).
Online reputation management is a combination of marketing, public relations and search engine marketing efforts. Visibility and high keyword positions are the main goals for good publicity, because you can facilitate favorable information to appear and spread and, at the same time, push negative reviews out of the SERPs and, accordingly, out of the potential consumers’ sight.
The aim of online reputation management is to make search engines index and rank highly all positively associated web sites and corporate communications. It should result in the increase of positive Web presence, i.e. occupation of multiple top positions for your targeted keywords in search engines. Online reputation management lets you defend and manage your reputation by putting forth proactive efforts to achieve predictable search engine results through a three-step process: monitoring – analysis – influence.
What to monitor and how:
- Set up Google and Yahoo Alerts to catch mentions of your company and product names in the news.
- Use blog search engines like IceRocket and sites like Technorati to watch your keywords in blogs.
- Customize RSS readers for brand tracking. The free FeedReader3, for example, lets you create search feeds to be alerted when your keywords are used on Twitter, eBay, YouTube, etc.
- Keep track of all names including your company name, product names, and key employee names.
- Be sure to monitor industry-related sites, forums, social networks.
Analyze sites under your control to dominate SERPs. They include:
- Your corporate site
- Your product sites
- Corporate blogs
- Your employees’ blogs
- Partner or affiliate sites
- Corporate communications like press releases, your articles and news
Document positions that your site have ever occupied, so you can monitor future movements and activities.
Influence your results by active participation
Your participation will give you the opportunity to improve the perception of your brand. Take part in your industry conversation, become a regular contributor to blogs and forums, make this a two-way communication experience and use comment sections of others’ blog and forums to get your viewpoint across and lead the conversations about your brand. Choose the most authoritative sites in your niche and participate in them. In addition to a constructive dialogue, think of potential sponsorship opportunities – this will help you build relationships and alliances with the authoritative sites.
Remember that online reputation management through monitoring, analyzing and influencing online communications can prevent damage to or even collapse of your business and ensure the ongoing success of your company.