Reputation Management

Have you ever been bored, or just plain curious, about what you can find about yourself on the Internet. So one day you finally decide to sit down at the computer and do a little search, see if anything interesting pops up. You may find awards and achievements, mentions in news articles, embarrassing videos, and social media websites, or anything else you may have ever been involved in. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I have Googled myself on multiple occasions. And, I know I am not the only person who has put my name into a Google search either.

I was talking to my dad one day about six months before my sister got married. I told him I was going to help myself with a wedding website she wanted to create through a premade web service. She made her website live before it was actually completed though and had written a really nice paragraph about me because I was made of honor. To my knowledge, my parents didn’t know or see the website yet. When I mentioned it he said that he had seen the website, but my sister didn’t know he had seen it yet. I found out that my dad actually Googles my sister and me sometimes; he likes to check up on us and see what our online reputation is. The wedding website showed up on the first page of Google when my name was typed in.

While people aren’t generally Googling a person specifically, unless it is somebody well-known, companies are Googled quite often and have to try and maintain a good online reputation. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of professionals feel that their companies are prepared to deal with a social media-based threat according to the “Data Points: Social Faux Pas” article in AdWeek. Adding to this, the majority of people who use social media are between the ages of 18 to 34; this age group is three times as likely to complain about a brand or product via social media than those between the ages of 47 to 64. Complaints of a brand or product on social media sites can be extremely damaging to a brand if the company is not prepared to deal with it. Some people believe that social media creates relationships, and while it does have the ability to do that, social media mainly just makes relationships visible for the world to see.

Some companies are trying to actively maintain their image by studying their brand’s social echo. PR Newswire coined this term in “Amplifying Your Social Echo” and defines it as a “reverberation of conversations around your brand that occur in the numerous social networks where people gather today.” Companies need to pay close attention to what is said on various social channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs. It is also important to note what the social echo is from each platform because of the different type of audience profiles from each platform. It is also important to note the content quality of a website, as discussed in “Online Reputation Systems.” Understanding all of these concepts all help create and maintain a positive image for a company.

 

Questions:

1. If you were in charge of a companies online reputation, how would you maintain a positive image online? If many people were talking negatively about your company, how would you handle that situation?

2. Have you ever posted a complaint to a company via social media? What happened?

3. Does the company you work for have a system for responding to negative social media?

4. Have you Googled yourself before and did you find anything surprising or interesting?

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4 thoughts on “Reputation Management

  1. I would maintain a positive image online by first making sure I knew everything that was being said about the company through a variety of services. From there, I would address all negative comments from people who may be considered influencers first. I would also be proactive in reaching out to people who had a negative opinion of my competitor. Part of the reputation of one company is based on the reputation of their competitors. If many people were talking negatively about the company, I would address it directly and use the media to my advantage by running a positive PR blitz (can be done on a number of topics).

    I’ve only posted a complaint to a company via social media once and that was to Comcast. One of their reps responded promptly, but ironically to find the information he asked for, I needed internet for my computer that I didn’t have because of Comcast’s failure.

    At Vocus, we obviously have our own system for reputation management. Generally our Social Media PR Manager responds to all concerns as quickly as possible. Other people within the company will also offer to help, particularly on the sales side. I’ve seen sales executives give new demonstrations of our platform to try to change the opinion of those who are negative towards the company.

    I didn’t find anything too surprising or interesting about myself since my name is fairly common. I think had I found some information about myself from before college, I’d be a little surprised and amused at what I’d see though.

    • You talk about responding to people’s comments who you consider influencers prior to responding to other comments, but how would you decide who is an influencer and who isn’t? We talked about this in class some – do you value people’s opinions more who are more “experts” in that topic or treat them all equally, from both a consumer and business standpoint. Social media is great in terms of addressing a negative comment instantly, but it is also the cause of some problems. People can post a positive or negative review at any time of the day and it can be seen worldwide, making it much more difficult to manage the reputation.

  2. I had a situation about a year ago where I purchased a bag of barbecue pop chips which I was really, really excited about. I typically don’t eat a lot of processed foods, especially carbs so this was a treat and I love the barbecue flavor. I got about halfway through the bag, this was the personal sized one, when I started to notice that some of the chips didn’t have that much flavoring on them. I didn’t think much of it until I got to the very bottom of the bag and realized that four or five chips were so covered in think barbecue flavoring that they were practically cemented together. I wish I still had the picture to share with you, but it was incredibly disgusting. I normally am not one to complain, but felt like that quality control was so lacking with this product that I had to share with the company. I posted the picture with a quick description on the Pop chips Facebook page. I made no big complaint just worded it as an FYI from a regular customer. To my surprise the post garnered over 30 likes from people I had never met, and within about three hours I had a response from a customer service rep asking me to send the picture and information to an email address and they would be happy to replace the bag for me. I didn’t end up doing that as my purpose was just to be heard, but I really appreciated the fairly prompt response and polite manner in which they addressed me. I continue to buy barbecue Pop chips so they didn’t even lose a customer.

    • I’ve heard of a lot of companies who will provide customers with a coupon, replace the product, or send a gift card. It is a great way for companies to make it up to their consumers. I’ve even heard of some companies even sending gifts to customers who mail them complimenting their product or business practices. It is a great way for a company to help maintain a positive image. Otter Box replaces any case of theirs that is broken free of cost – all you have to do is take a picture and contact them and they will mail you it.

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