Picture this… You’re a small business – a medical group in a major city. You’re going about your day just the way you always do, thinking everything is honky-dory.
Or so you think anyway…. Because your brand’s reputation is being shredded online, and you have no clue. Worse yet, you’re doing it to yourself!
You see – it seems your office has this cool new software for sending out automated e-mail birthday greetings to your patients.
It’s a nice, friendly touch, right?
Except – you haven’t quite figured out your process for stopping these notifications when one of your patients is deceased.
And unfortunately, the mother of a young boy who died several years back kept getting one of these automated birthday messages – every single year, ripping her heart open again and again.
She’s called your office every year for 3 years, but whether it’s a dropped message, an IT issue or some other excuse, the issue still wasn’t fixed – FOR THREE YEARS.
Let that sink in a moment…
This year however, she’s decided not to keep her grief so private, so she vents on her own Facebook profile and tags your company’s Facebook Page as well – as would anyone.
But there’s radio silence. Everyone in your office is working on “Very Important Things”, so no one is alerted when your brand is tagged on Facebook, or of the ground swell of support she’s getting.
(See where this is heading?…)
Her loyal friends pick up he ball – after all, they’re not going to stand by while she keeps getting plunged back into the rawness of her grief over and over and over again by your office’s insensitivity and negligent oversight – (remember you’ve been doing this to her for 3 years now.)
Then social media starts to kick in and her friends and sympathizers try to take it to your website or email to help her, but, well, it seems that your contact information isn’t up to date on your brand’s Facebook page, so they take the next step and start leaving messages about their opinions of your customer service (not to mention your medical care) on your Facebook page.
And when a response isn’t prompt, they head over to Yelp and leave a string of negative reviews there, too.
All the while – you’re still completely oblivious to the fact that your brand’s reputation is going very quickly in the toilet.
Eventually (after 3 years…) someone at your company catches on and leaves a response – except instead of owning the mistake, they make excuses and have the nerve to ask you NOT to call them out on “their” facebook page. Really?!!!
Instead what should have been a sincere heartfelt apology and the promise to resolve the issue comes across as nothing more then a lame attempt to cover up the negative publicity.
And the truth is HOW they handled this situation so far will turn out to be far more damaging to brand then if they had just “owned” the mistake and asked for forgiveness and sincerely apologized.
Why? Because people remember the things you did when you’re a jerk.
Our hearts go out to the mother of the little boy and we hope this Medical office quickly get’s it together and does a better job then they’ve done so far.
The point of this story is to show you in real world terms WHY reputation management so critically important to your business.
So now let me ask you a question. After reading this story so far, are you angry? Of course you are. Think you’re likely to share this story?
Of course you will; if for no other reason then to make sure that nothing happens like this at your business.
So let’s talk about your reputation and some ways to make it easy to monitor and manage.
What is Reputation Management
It’s a formal sounding term, but reputation management (sometimes referred to as reputation monitoring) is nothing more than simply staying on top of what people are saying about your brand online and having a strategy to respond.
In the example I’ve shared here, for example, the office needed to be monitoring Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Your reputation management strategy should also include any other social media platforms you’re on, as well as a general scan of the internet each day for any mentions of your brand.
Tools for DIY Reputation Management
There are companies you can work with if you need to outsource your reputation management activities. However, there are a number of tools you can use to take care of your own reputation management activities.
1. Social Media Dashboard (Hootsuite, Trackur, for example) The most important part of reputation management is getting started. You have to actively monitor your brand in order to respond to mentions both good an d bad about your company.
The easiest way to do this is to find a service that monitors social media automatically and notifies you if there is something you need to be aware of.
2. Google Alerts It’s an oldie but a goodie. Set a Google alert to monitor across the web for mentions of your brand and notify you of anything you need to know about.
3. Social Mention It’s not automated, so you have to remember to use it. However, it’s free, and you can target your search by what kind of site you’re looking for – social media, blogs, microblogs, questions, videos, etc.
4. IceRocket No account needed; just plug in your search term and it will instantly search blogs, Facebook, and Twitter for the relevant info.
5. If This Then That (aka IFTTT) It’s reputation management for logic lovers. Set up rules for notifications based on triggering events. If “this” happens (a website mentions your company, for example), “then do that” (such as sending you an email update).
How are you staying on top of your online reputation?