Do you know what others are saying about your company online? Media monitoring and social listening are two of the most important tasks your B2B business can undertake to protect its reputation. This involves more than simply listening to what people are saying about your business and hoping for positive feedback. Effective management of your company’s reputation requires proactive planning and engagement. Below are six important online reputation management guidelines every B2B business should follow:
Really listen to what customers are saying. Social listening is one of the easiest and best ways to discover the unfiltered voice of your customers. The feedback your business receives from customers may not always be the extreme positive you are striving for, but that is okay. In fact, less than perfect feedback can be an opportunity for your company to shine as customers are often leery of ‘too good to be true’ businesses and respond well to businesses who solve customer issues and concerns. Real-time feedback presents an opportunity to learn more about ways to improve your image by quickly acting on constructive criticism. As you monitor social media be sure to include searches for mentions of your brand using the hash tags that may be associated. Or, even better, create your own list of hashtags and encourage your customers to join the conversation using these tags.
Always respond to reviews quickly. Reviews and comments on your social posts can add up over time and can be viewed by countless others. Make sure you have someone dedicated to checking in frequently to review and respond if action is needed. A simple ‘like’ is oftentimes enough. In some cases, a customer may be reporting a negative experience and require further conversation to resolve. If this is the case, respond quickly to acknowledge the customer and ask to take the conversation either offline via email or phone, or move to private message.
Proactively monitor your search results at least once a month. Finding news before it’s brought to your attention by a customer is imperative to managing your brand’s reputation. Set a system in place to search for news with mentions of your business name and any associated products, employees, etc. Make sure to include searches for negative associations that have become attached to your brand as well. You can set up alerts via Google, and be sure to include searches on Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Distribute optimized press releases on a regular basis. Search engine optimized press releases can add great value to the visibility of your company website. In addition to extending your brand through announced news to keep the public informed on new products, services, and events, distribution of press release with targeted key words helps search algorithms associate your brand in likely searched phrases.
Always be polite. As mentioned above, despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be the occasional negative feedback about your company. In some cases, this is in relation to a scenario that is beyond your control and may be unfairly attributed. Whatever the case, it is important that you are not defensive. Remain polite and respective even to the harshest critics and work to find a solution that works for both parties.
Practice transparency. Be upfront and honest with customers, always. Not doing so may lead to immeasurable damage if it is later discovered that you have a reputation of deceiving customers.
As challenging as this may sound, the internet provides many opportunities for you to take control of your company’s brand and build a positive reputation. Long-term management of your brand can be greatly supported by hiring an experienced B2B PR Agency.