by Kevin Kaiser, Startup Biz Blog
If one of your company’s predominate goals is to remain on the cutting edge of innovation, then you are not only going to have to hire some brilliant minds, but you are also going to have to engage your target market. Like it or not, a great business usually interacts with its niche audience on a regular basis.
Because of the rise of social media sites, review sites, and discussion forums, consumers are more interested in interacting in a one-on-one setting with the business in which they give their patronage. They want to know what is going on behind company doors, they want to be given frequent updates, and they want their voice to be heard. This may sound like additional work for a business, but providing customers with platforms to do so can actually provide a business with the insight and direction needed to succeed. Typical perks to properly social networking include:
- Gaining insights in to the positives and negatives of your company’s product or service
- Increasing company loyalty from frequent customer interaction
- Greater visibility by using a variety of social networking sites
- Reducing marketing costs
- Determining exact market and how to better reach them
Although social networking sites provide a great way for companies to see where they need to improve a product or service, using these sites comes with a great deal of responsibility. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are an ideal way to quickly spread word about improvements to products or new services your company may be offering, but they are also an easy way for upset customers or other brand enthusiasts to completely slander your company.
A brand takes years to build, but only one bad Tweet or Facebook post to destroy. These sites have become highly popular, and most consumers are now going to a company’s Facebook page to review its credibility before even stopping at the company’s actual website.
To avoid having your company’s name slandered online, there are a few easy steps in online reputation management that can be taken including:
- Holding an account on each social media site
- Regularly posting updates – including those regarding product or service improvements
- Quickly and politely responding to any negative press
Reputation management is essential for any company looking to survive the next five years. However, it requires a great deal of time and energy and many companies may not have the adequate staff to properly provide the service. To help companies keep their brands presentable, many firms now offer online reputation management services which can not only increase visibility to make national and international recognition easier to attain, but also save a company thousands in marketing costs.
Kevin Kaiser is an entrepreneur who deals with online marketing and reputation management for start-ups he’s involved in and can be found writing at Startup Biz Blog.