The Organic Marketer


Online Monitoring: Know Your Virtual Reputation

Posted in Reputation Management by Jim Tome on March 6, 2008
Tags: , , ,

An interesting question came up recently when we were meeting with a client about their web site and its search engine rankings. This client was well-versed on the somewhat “black box” methodologies of search engine rankings and knew that offsite linking was often a good way to enhance organic (or unpaid) listings. So they sprung the question, “Should we have an entry in Wikipedia on our organization?”

A good question indeed, and one we began hearing more and more. So we thought about this and began to see a greater need for what’s now called reputation management, often affected through the monitoring of online actions and opinions. In fact, the acclaimed Wikipedia defines reputation management as “…the process of tracking an entity’s actions and other entities’ opinions about these actions….”

In fact, smart marketers should definitely be monitoring — and managing — their reputations online, but not for the reason this client thought (although, yes, it could conceivably help out your search engine ranking depending on how frequently your entry here and elsewhere is visited). Online monitoring is valuable as it gives companies and organizations the ability to truly listen to the experiences, opinions and feedback of past, current and prospective customers.

You’ll get to hear first hand what your target market is thinking and experiencing — both the good and bad. And for those that pay attention to what is being said, how it is being communicated and under what circumstances, smart marketers can actually use these sources to reach out and engage these consumers, integrating themselves into the conversations (herein lies the “management” aspect).

It is important not to see every conversation about you as a crisis, but rather as an opportunity. An important obstacle in reputation management is certainly the time it takes to monitor, maintain and react to the conversations. But done smartly — and consistently — you’ll turn regular customers into evangelists as you show them you’ll go the extra mile to address their concerns or reward their loyalty.

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