Experts regularly talk about the importance of online marketing to get your logo design and brand out there. However, they fail to mention that there are dangers and pitfalls to this as well. While you are doing everything you can to build that all-important public image, there may be others, such as competitors and disgruntled customers, who are trying just as hard to trash you.
It’s easy to identify and deal with complaints that are left on your own sites, included your company website, Facebook, and Twitter. However, there are an infinite number of places on the internet where negative feedback can lurk. For example, Yelp and similar sites allow people to rave or rant about their experience with you. Because more and more customers are checking sites such as this before patronizing a business, a single negative comment can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
There are several ways to deal with a negative comment on the internet. The hardest yet most effective way is to address it directly. Leave a public note or comment on the same forum apologizing for the customer’s bad experience and asking for the chance to rectify it. Leave contact information and identify your role in the company. This shows viewers that the negative experience is not typical and that your company is dedicated to customer service.
However, before you can deal with these comments, you need to be aware that they exist. For this reason, new services have been appearing that monitor a company’s online reputation. Social Mention and HootSuite are among the most popular of these, although the range of companies offering this service is certainly growing. These companies have software that tracks customer feedback on the internet and forward only relevant comments to you.
If you are managing multiple brands, you may want to consider more extensive programs. Trackur and Viralheat offer web based programs that keep you constantly updated on the status of several different brands. These tend to be expensive services, costing as much as $500 per month to use, but they can be invaluable to someone who needs constant real time updates on the public perception of their company. Some can even determine the tone of the feedback they detect and tell you which complaints should take highest priority.
If these seem like overkill, there is a free and low-key solution as well. Google has a program called Google Alerts that will send you an email when certain keywords appear on the web. You can use your business name as a keyword and receive reports that will clue you in to the state of your internet reputation. This is not a very targeted solution—you will receive a variety of information, both relevant and otherwise in these reports—but it is one that works for many companies.
Regardless of how you handle it, the important thing is that you take control of your brand. Don’t let a single malcontent destroy your company’s reputation and lower your chances of making it in a competitive world. In a world where the internet is like a god, you can be destroyed with a single click of the mouse. Monitoring services give you an invaluable opportunity to fight back.