Let’s face it, Word of Mouth (WOM) is still the bottom line in marketing for your business. Used to be WOM only traveled by “mouth.” Today it is spread via the internet and social channels. Managing your online reputation is paramount in today’s world.
Controlling Word Of Mouth Marketing
Managing or controlling WOM is accomplished through Paid and Unpaid marketing channels. Paid channels are just that, places where you pay a media outlet (i.e., TV, Radio, Print, Direct Marketing, Outdoor, Sponsorships) to send out your message and craft your brand message.
Unpaid used to be limited to Press Releases and personal interaction, such as networking, speaking at events,, Those things that basically cost you nothing. Well that has changed in the age of the Internet.
Today you need to be always vigilant, always monitoring what is being said and thought about you online.
Here are some of the guidelines I suggest to my clients to follow. Perhaps you can benefit from placing these in practice for your business.
1. Never pay a customer for a review. That also include paying for a membership to any list; i.e., Angie’s List. Paying for a review corrupts the exchange.
2. Always ask for reviews. Good customer service is expected – great or poor customer services get reviews.
3. Reply to All reviews. No matter if the review is good or bad, you need to reply. This shows others that come across the review that there is a person behind the company. You may turn an antagonist into an advocate.
4. Respond promptly. Don’t ignore the review. Take no more than a week to provide a reply. Prompt replies will show your client you care.
5. Don’t take it personal. Cool off before responding to a Negative Review. We call get them and it does upset us, but do not spew venom back at the reviewer. They may have a legitimate point.
6. Respond professionally and politely. Nothing good is accomplished if you toss a negative response to a negative review. Contact them offline to let them vent and for you to respond. When you get a positive review, be gracious in accepting and keep the focus on the reviewer. Thank him or her for placing their trust in your helping them solve whatever problem they hired you for.
7. Don’t write your own reviews. Don’t fake it. It just isn’t worth it. Also do not go out to a competitor site and write a negative review.
8. Today you are no longer anonymous. Simply put, people that place reviews online have to do so under their own name. This does not mean you won’t get someone building a false online persona and using it to trash your business. Simply put, people that leave reviews need to register in some form or another on most review sites. That also means other people that read those reviews can click on the “reviewer’s name” and see what other reviews he or she has made on that same site. If they are all negative, you are dealing with a “Debbie or Danny Downer.”
Reputation Management Next Steps
Start a Listening Program
On those social sites you already are active on, make sure you are monitoring the posts that are being placed on them.
Another tactic is to use any number of FREE social media listening tools. Here is a list of FIVE tools that I recommend and they have full explanations on the Huffington Post Blog:
Engage in the Conversation
Like I said above, you need to engage in the conversation that is taking place online. Be aware that you are in a many-to-many dialog and not just speaking to one person.
Check out other posts I have made on reputation management on my blog for other tips and real life examples.
Contact me if you need any help in this area. After all sometimes it takes someone from the outside to help you move forward in this area.