Maintaining a positive brand image online has become a very important part of attracting and retaining customers. Just how important is it? With the news that McDonald’s named their first Social Media Chief, it has become clear that big brands are taking a position on social media and search engine reputation management. More information on the McDonald’s story can be found here: http://bit.ly/dpeBb9
How does that relate to your business? It’s a sure sign of things to come, which means you should already be aware of how your company is represented on the social media websites. That includes the reputation of your products and services to the management team and all the staff that represent your company on a daily basis.
What do search engines have to do with a company’s reputation? More often than not, social media and blog posts are indexed by search engines and can appear in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s). Those posts could contain negative or even inflammatory statements about your products and services. All it takes is one unhappy customer to post information regarding your company or its products and services. Others will have the opportunity to read it and it could affect their opinion of your company and ultimately result in a reduction in your potential sales.
Mobile web browsing is increasing, so the spread of information has gotten more efficient. A person has the ability to research information about potential purchases any time, any place. If a negative representation of a product or service is visible it could affect the decision to finalize that purchase….whether it is for goods or services.
Small to medium businesses do not have the luxury of losing customers like big brands do. However, that is not preventing the big brands from being more proactive in the social media arena. McDonald’s has shown that they want to insure the message of their product is positive across all forms of media (TV, Radio & the Internet – especially social media). How McDonald’s implements their strategy for maintaining a positive brand image on the social media sites and search engines remains to be seen.
For reference, we looked at a few of the big brand Facebook pages. There were both positive and negative remarks amongst many of them. As a consumer, confidence in the product or service of the company with negative posts would be exponentially increased if the posts (both positive & negative) were addressed by the company. Especially if the negative comments resulted in some form of resolution of the complaint / issue…and ended with a positive comment from the person who originally posted the negative comment. We can all agree that there will always be people who just want to make negative (often vulgar) comments for no apparent reason. A company is best served by deleting those types of malicious comments.
How is your business working to remain proactive about its reputation on the search engines and on social media websites?
4/14/2010 – Follow-up: More proof of the need for online reputation management – Google Making Every Tweet Searchable: http://bit.ly/cGcnhg