The development of the Internet and the growth of the online community has allowed more people to express their views on pretty much any topic they feel passionate about.
When someone feels they strongly disagree with a news story or the latest political developments they can access the Internet and post their views instantly on new sites, blogs and forums, or via social media.
The same process can apply to your company; people can, and will, express their views on your products, services, and organisation, there is simply no way of avoiding this. It’s true that you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. Internet users will take to the web to berate, moan, attack and comment about your company if they feel they have been treated unfairly or they are not satisfied with your products/service. As a result of this, it’s crucial that you engage in monitoring your brand’s reputation.
Why? Because the potential damage you could encounter if you don’t pick up on negative issues can result in a loss of traffic to your site and therefore a decrease in business/revenue. This is where brand monitoring can really help.
Your company will no doubt have a website, and in addition it is also likely to have a social presence on the web, and maybe even a company blog where customers can leave comments. As the Internet is a large space, you need to ensure that comments and feedback associated with your brand are monitored closely so that you don’t become the laughingstock of the World Wide Web. It has happened to a handful of companies and the effects can be disastrous, not to mention highly embarrassing.
So how do you monitor your brand, small or large, in a space as vast as the Internet? First of all, value your customers and make time for them. If there are any negative issues that need to be addressed you should sort out the problem at the time you discover the issue. Say for example you have noticed a negative comment about your company on Facebook or Twitter, in this instance you need to listen to what exactly they are saying and respond. If they are criticising a new product, ask them what they didn’t like about it, and offer to give them their money back or another product in return.
Remember that if you lose customers, you are losing revenue and this is certainly something that you don’t want to do. Therefore, make sure you have someone within your company who can monitor any negative attention that is being drawn to your brand, or hire a professional SEO agency as they will have the time available to manage your campaigns and also be able to notify and assist you in dealing with bad comments. It’s important to have someone in the position of monitoring your brand, if you fail to do this then it’s harder to put out fires.
There are consequences for not keeping an eye on your brand. A recent story on Econsultancy told of how one company, Hasbro, upset a blogger who was writing about one of their as yet unreleased products on his blog. Hasbro were under the impression (falsely) that the photo used in the post came from the blogger, named Martyn, and tried to obtain his address in an effort to take the case to the company’s lawyers. On top of this he even had people visiting his house and questioning him about the issue.
Cue a mass online frenzy and a ton of negative abuse aimed at Hasbro. The issue has gone so far that the company are now believed to be the subject of complaint with the New South Wales Legal Services Commissioner. There is even a Facebook petition in place to boycott them. This whole process is negative and damaging to say the least for Hasbro but it’s an example of how things can quickly get out of control. What they should have done was address the issue, asking Martyn where he obtained the photo from. Brand monitoring would have brought this to the company’s attention and they could have resolved the situation amicably. You need to respond fast, but you certainly shouldn’t accuse someone, attack them, or take it to these extremes. It’s hardly surprising they got caught out.
Brands need to be honest and value their customers. Setting up Google alerts will allow you to keep an eye on where your brand name is being mentioned but you shouldn’t just rely on this as the only way to monitor your brand. Make sure you check social media regularly and any places where your company name may be popular. Bad comments can be damaging, but they are even more damaging if they are not dealt with. Negative remarks should always be resolved so that you can maintain positive relationships with your customers.
Magnifying glass via BigStock