The congruence between traditional and online reputation management lies on the time it takes for either to achieve results – lots. But the Venn diagram for traditional and social media that sets both strategies in motion is a circle. And since most searchers now use the web to research brands, businesses must use their capabilities, curiosity, and creativity to control damaging content, links, and other red flags in order to avoid potential reputation issues in a cost-efficient way – and for the long haul.
While reputation managers are constantly reminded that social media is not a panacea, it is still a crucial element.
Kermit Pattison of The New York Times has kept track of how social media turns organizations on their heads, and how the reputation managers must maintain balance. Were an entity to misuse or misunderstand the platform, it could be catastrophic. It is through this channel that both the company and its customers speak, and the whole world listens. Here are a few ways to benefit from social media while avoiding risk:
Some social media platforms are more tuned into either local or global audiences than others. Yelp and Yahoo! Local Search do not disappoint when it comes to reviewing local businesses, with Amazon, Google Maps, and TripAdvisor close behind. But Twitter has been the unquestioned connoisseur of trending topics. If business owners would like to know where they rank on the most-reviewed graph, this microblogging site would be a good place to look.
After the initial task of scouring for the market’s hubs has been done, patterns have to be sought. Nuanced consumer behavior poses a challenge to any business. Foodies would rate restaurants, readers would rate the authors, and clients would rate the company services, all according to their varied thoughts and tastes. Ghostwriting their reviews would betray the collective trust placed in a company. At the end of the day, good service will always get the stars.
Online reputation management is a means to an end, and that end is profit. Simply put: A good name counts. Using social channels for analytics and marketing is the way to reach customers, both potential and returning. Leveraging online network-based information – such as the Facebook Graph Search – is part of the market research for a person, brand, or business.
All of these steps are phases of the reputation management cycle. Social media activities done strategically are a force to be reckoned with, snowballing into a successful online public relations campaign for individuals and businesses alike.