Posted by Steve Parker, Jr. (@sparkerjr)
We’ve all seen it happen in social media. A brand makes a statement or change to a policy and suddenly–a viral onslaught of disapproval. It can begin anywhere online with just one disgruntled customer. It’s important to monitor conversation about your brand so that if there is ever a problem, you can tackle it head-on. Now you may be thinking, “how do I know what my customers are saying online?” And that’s a valid question. After all, you might not be getting everything you need just from a quick Twitter search (you’re doing that, right?). But social plays a big part in finding out how customers feel about your services/products, customer service, policies and more. First, we’ll discuss tools that can help you and secondly, we’ll discuss tactics for online reputation management.
1. Set up a Google alert. Any time someone mentions your brand (and it’s crawled by the search engine), it will show up in your alert. You can choose to get these alerts in real time or just once a day/week.
3. Paid options (which will be discussed in more detail later in the series) like Radian 6 can also bring new depth to your understanding of customer conversation… as long as you can aggregate it properly.
You’ve found what your customers are saying; now what?
1. Every complaint is an opportunity. What is this person really upset about? Is it something you can fix? How might you be able to turn a bad situation into a beneficial one? Chobani’s Facebook page is full of love from fans, but also occasionally gets peppered with complaints about a bad yogurt. What does Chobani do? Send the customer in question a shout-out and a coupon. It instantly turns the customer from unhappy to happy, maybe even brand advocate.
2. Every accolade is a chance to promote. Some brands will ignore a fan that celebrates them. But why not promote that compliment by using it in a Facebook ad campaign or [at least] re-tweeting? Word of mouth works both ways and can often lead to positive brand awareness.
3. Listen and refine. Listening to social conversation can often give your brand insight on how to improve customer satisfaction. It could be something small like offering free coffee in a waiting room. It could also be something big like product refinement or development. No longer do we have to wait for test groups. People are volunteering their opinions and information about your brand right now in online public forums. Shouldn’t you be listening?
See More from the “Sink or Swim” Series: