Thursday, August 19, 2010

Benefits of Online Reputation Management - Social Media

Online Reputation Management comprises of various elements. Together they start to form a complete picture and enable our stakeholder’s experience to percolate within the system. We need to understand that there's a high degree of correlation between good customer / stakeholder experiences and their willingness to associate with the same organization, brand, product and service.

The various points of influence are:
  • Traditional/mainstream websites.
  • Professional networks like LinkedIn.
  • Social networks like Facebook and others.
  • Consumer Review sites such as epinions, MouthShut and others.
  • Social news / bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, technorati, dig and others.
  • Collaborative Research sites such as Yahoo Answers, Rediff Q&A.
  • Independent discussion forums based on categories and general interest by profession. 
  • Blogs created and managed.
  • Blogging communities as the Open Diary, LiveJournal, Xanga.
  • Microblogs e.g. Twitter.
Our primary goal when developing a social marketing strategy should be to establish conversation parameters. We cannot possibly control the direction of every conversation, nor should we try to, but we can be available to answer questions and provide honest and helpful input wherever possible. People visit social networking sites because they want to have conversations that don't involve sales pitches. In order to gain trust, we will need to create an environment in which potential and existing customers feel free to express opinion without fear of being censored, but also in which we can provide responses to negative comments that help viewers understand the reasons behind your company's actions in any particular area. When appropriate, we can point readers toward your product, but in such a way that they feel we are providing useful information rather than pitching your company. When we do professional activities on the above elements within the internet space we start to approach our stakeholders at various levels. We start to mean, what we aim to be perceived by our target audience.
  • Improve customer satisfaction by gaining insights from consumers about what is good and bad about our product or services.
  • Increase positive perceptions of brand by creating opportunities to listen to and engage with consumers.
  • Gain insights about competitors and their customers’ perceptions about their products and services.
  • Maintain shareholder value by mitigating risk by having ears close to the ground where opinions about our business are being formed and propagated.
  • Engage in more effective public relations by understanding who the real influencers are.
  • Gain understanding of the relationship between user generated content and traditional forms of online media, e.g. news, print, etc.
  • Provide early warning systems for reactive Public Relations.
  • Reduce marketing spend by learning how to reach out to customers more cheaply.
  • Reduce internal costs by employing services which save time and effort, as well as money.
  • Help identify gaps for products and services which can be developed for profitable niche markets.
  • Gain insight into online networks and keywords and key phrases found in user-generated content, which can help to bolster natural search results about the person, product, or business. 
The benefits are definitely there in the Social Media Network space; yes if we do the networking in the right manner. Do join here, what do you think?