Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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They Said WHAT About Me?

April 22, 2015

Reputation management is more important than ever, thanks to social media. Manage your customer relationships carefully to avoid a public relations crisis.

Todd Martin 042215 image 1

You’ve probably heard the horror stories. Someone gets upset about a product or service they received, and they take to Yelp and Twitter and numerous other online venues to try to trash your reputation.

Sometimes, the individual posting the reviews doesn’t even have an ax to grind. For whatever reason, he or she just wants to tarnish your image.

You’ve spent years — maybe even decades — working hard to maintain the integrity of your brand. It doesn’t seem fair that one person can do so much damage to your good name.

But it happens.

Shut It Down Before It Can Happen

One way to avoid damage to your reputation is by owning your brand online. If you’re just launching a new business, get your company name and profile up on the major social networks. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t enough anymore. Host your own presence on YouTube, Instagram, and Google+. Maybe even Pinterest and SlideShare.

If you’re a big company with plenty of money and a sterling reputation that must be guarded, hire a reputation management firm. Otherwise, assign one employee to the task of trolling for dirt daily, or split the chore up among multiple staff members.

Here’s what the designated individual(s) should do:

  • Type your company name into the major search engines and see what comes up on the first five pages.Todd Martin 042215 image 2
  • Dp a search for your company name plus words like “complaints” and “reviews.” Misspell it occasionally.
  • Run your brand through the search tools on social media sites.
  • Read your feeds. Nothing should appear in your social media streams that someone on your staff doesn’t see the same day.
  • Set up a Google Alert for your company name — and for common misspellings.
  • Pay Yelp regular visits. It seems to attract naysayers.

Keep Up With Your CRM

Use your customer relationship skills to be in touch with your audience, and sniff out trouble early. Do as much as you can to post news and comments that have a positive slant. Get your customers involved. You could have a contest for the best YouTube video of someone using your product and award a nice prize. Don’t push it, but encourage positive user input. Solicit feedback and respond quickly.

But don’t go overboard on PR. Your content should be focused on your customers. The more you help your customers with how-to’s, troubleshooting guides, Q&A’s, training manuals, etc., the more likely positive comments about you will bubble up.

Todd Martin 042215 image 3If the worst happens and you’re taken to task for something — real or imagined — online, act fast. If it’s on one of your properties, get the appropriate person on it immediately. If it’s legitimate, acknowledge it and find a way to make it right. If it contains profanity, obscenity, threats, or other inappropriate content, delete it if you can. On properties hosted by a third party, you may or may not be able to have it removed.

One last tip: Formalize a complaint procedure. Make it easy for individuals and businesses to lodge a compliant (ideally, this should be a link that goes directly to staff, not a public thread).

Reputation management is a constant battle, so get out in front and lead the charge.

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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