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TitleMM Emarketing Online Marketing
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Total Pages189
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Page 94

172 173

online reputation management › how it works ›

Listening is the first step to getting involved in the conversation surrounding a company.

Using search tools and RSS feeds means that information can be accessed quickly and

in one place, without the need to visit hundreds of web sites.

As a marketer, the first step in looking at who is saying what is to take stock of the

messages being sent by your own company. This includes: all web sites and domains

owned by a company, all blogs maintained by employees (whether company blogs or

personal blogs) and all blogs maintained by ex-employees. An audit should give an

idea of the content that is available to the public and what that content is saying.

With regular RSS updates declaring that selected keywords have been used in some

form of social media, a growing list is being created of mentions surrounding a brand.

Now what?

Even in the democratised world of the Internet, not all mentions are equal. They vary

in terms of positivity or negativity and influence. Not all mentions require action from

a company. Some require drastic measures to be taken. But all, no matter how quiet

or how loud, are an indication of consumer sentiment.

Whether a post is positive, negative or indifferent can be quickly assessed by reading

it. Influence can be a little harder to establish.

Indicators such as traffic, links and subscriber numbers can all assist in

assessing the influence of a blog. There are also services such as Blog Influence

( and Social Meter ( which will show

the audience and reach for an entered URL. However, statements, particularly

inflammatory ones, should still be monitored as traffic can increase substantially and

quickly online.

Influence can also assist in establishing the credibility of the author. Factors which can

indicate credibility include the size of the blog’s audience, the frequency of posts and

the age of the blog.

The source should also be looked at: is the mention a news item or a tag on photo from

someone’s holiday?

To be able to monitor reputation over time, in can be a good idea to aggregate the

information into a spreadsheet or database along with the factors mentioned above. It

is necessary to determine what is important to the reputation of the company you are

monitoring, and perhaps adapt factors accordingly.

online reputation management › how it works ›

Your database might look something like this:

There are also a number of paid for services on the market that will assist in monitoring

and aggregating this information.

BrandsEye ( is a tool launched in 2008 that does just that.

Not only does it track mentions, but it allows the user to assign sentiment and

importance to mentions, and provides a benchmark of a brand’s reputation.Trackur

( is another tool that monitors the volume of mentions, but provides

limited analysis.

The best way to show that you are listening is by responding. Online, there are many

channels available to companies to respond to the conversation and to become an

active participant in it.

A fantastic position to be in is that every possible mention that includes your company,

its employees and products, is overwhelmingly positive. Well done. However, that does

not mean that there is nothing to do. Consumers want to know that a company is

listening; it needs to respond. Positive comments should be acknowledged.

All of these mentions can also indicate new avenues for marketing and growth.

Then it sounds like the company is very boring. As Seth Godin (

puts it, “safe is risky”. If a company is playing it so safe that no one can be bothered to

either send praise or criticism its way, it’s in danger of being forgotten. The next step

is no one talking about the company at all.

Negative statements should be seen as an opportunity for growth. Negative statements

can be complaints or criticisms, and both should be dealt with.

Complaints are from stakeholders who have had dealings with a company. By

complaining, this customer is giving the company the opportunity to make things 3 Example News 6/10 Contact journalist -2 Blog 4/10 Contact blogger

URL of mention Sentiment Source Credibility Action

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174 175

online reputation management ›

right and is probably indicating where the company can improve. Usually, the skilled

customer service department of a company should deal with these.

If a complaint is online, the resolution should be there as well, although you can try to

have it taken offline first. Even though the customer service will likely take place either

over email or by phone, posting a comment in a blog post, for example, will show the

community that the company both listens and responds.

Criticism need not necessarily come from customers, but it is important to be aware of

it. If a criticism includes false information, it should be corrected. And if the criticism

is true, then it should be dealt with as such.

Responding involves recognising that consumers dictate the channels of communication,

and that a company needs to go to the consumer, not the other way around.

In South Africa, vodacom3G is the name of a Vodacom representative who monitors the

forum and resolves complaints and queries and offers assistance.

Instead of directing customers to an FAQ section on a Vodacom site, Vodacom has

followed their consumers to the channel that the consumers prefer.

Not only do Vodacom resolve questions on the forum, but they also use it to provide key

information that consumers are wanting.

If you are responding to a blogpost, find the writer’s contact details on the blog and email

her directly. At a last resort, use the comments to make contact with the blogger.

When responding, be transparent and honest. Remember that emails can be

reproduced on blogs. At all times, remember that you are engaged in conversation,

not a dictation.

In the chapters on WebPR and social media there are guidelines for companies to

lead the conversation using the tools of social media. Influencing and leading the

conversation can also have the consequence of there being more results that are lead

by your company in the SERPs.

Companies can also get proactive by purchasing negative name domains, such as, to prevent angry customers from buying these and

having them hitting the SERPs.

Lastly, take a look at negative brand name searches on major search engines, and

consider PPC advertising to offer the company’s point of view.

online reputation management ›

These 10 rules to recovery should provide a practical approach for brands facing an

online threat.

Before you can recover from an online brand attack, you have to be aware that your

brand can be attacked - no matter how big it is or how untouchable it may seem.

Once you have a clear understanding of the scope of the possible effects of an online

attack and are committed to maintaining a good reputation online, you’re half way

there. Next you’ve got to understand how the process of consumer complaints has

evolved. Use this understanding to guide your actions.

One of the easiest ways to solve the majority of brand attacks is to respond quickly.

A brand that shows it is listening and does indeed care, will go far when it comes

to ensuring a solid online reputation. A conscious reaction is the only way forward

- acknowledging what has been said and reacting accordingly.

If the mention of your brand is factually incorrect, in a friendly tone, send the blogger

(90% of the time it will be a blogger) evidence that they are wrong, ask for removal or

retraction of the entry, and offer to keep them informed of future news. If no action is

taken by the blog author, then add a comment.

If it is true, learn from the “Dell Hell” phenomenon. If the mention is negative but true

then send your side of the story and try as hard as you can to take it offline.

Keeping more people from reading negative things about your brand is imperative.

What you can do is knock them off the first page of the results with basic SEO topped

with some social media page setups such as Squidoo and MySpace or forum posts.

Keep adding pages and links until you’ve forced the offending pages out of sight.

If you aren’t an active member of the online community, it tends to be a little harder

to recover from an online attack. If your company doesn’t have a blog, start one.

Participate in industry forums and chat rooms. Build genuine credibility as a member

of these conversations and you’ll find that people will have more respect for you and

your brand.

to recover

Page 188


. c




It takes a village to raise a child, and a lot of people to publish
a book! Our acknowledgement and thanks go to:

Firstly to all the QuirkStars who have made this happen the second time around - this

project wouldn’t have been possible without you. Particular acknowledgement goes to:

Special thanks to the following, who are not QuirkStars and who have given so

generously of their time and knowledge anyway...

– academic extraordinaire

– book designer of note

- mobile marketing guru


– Interactive Marketing Manager at BMW South Africa

- Senior Lecturer, School of Management Studies at University

of Cape Town

- Online Strategist, FNB


- Associate Account Director, Millward Brown SA

– of and kind supplier of the podcasting


- constructive critic,



Stumbleupon 127

SWOT 316, 325-326

Syndicate 166, 183

Tactic 20, 146, 159, 278, 285, 316-317,

325-327, 330

Tag 75, 80-81, 124-125, 127-128, 135, 172,

201, 206-207, 213, 231, 236, 271,


Taxonomy 125, 127

Technorati 3, 125, 127-128, 135, 137-138,

148, 171

Time Magazine 3, 126

TrackBack 125, 135, 137

TradeDoubler 57

Traditional Media 2, 28, 37, 123-124, 141,

143-144, 148, 156, 182-183

Twitter 126, 138-139, 146, 170, 193, 281,


Urchin 236

Usability 76, 81, 92, 198-204, 210, 216,

220, 300, 303, 311

USSD 257, 260, 266-267, 276

V3 291

Video 19, 26, 30-31, 36-39, 41-43, 63,

125-126, 128-130, 132, 138-140, 144,

147, 154-156, 171, 183, 192, 201, 256,

262, 265, 320

Viral Marketing 20, 38, 90, 145, 149-162,

164, 327

Virtual Works 291-292

Vlog 125, 129

Vodacom 174, 178

VRM xii, 279, 290, 293

W3C 92, 201, 209, 211, 268-269

WAP 257, 265, 267, 269-270

Web Analytics xi, 35, 109, 235-254, 280,

282, 289, 299, 301, 303, 308, 310

Web Standards 201, 211-212, 220, 269

WebPR 77, 84, 90, 92, 142, 145, 174, 177,

179, 181-198, 222, 327

Wicked Uncle 218-219

Widget 138, 272

Wiki 86, 125, 130-132, 290

Wikipedia 26, 125, 131-132

Wikitravel 131

WordTracker 88, 112, 233

World Wide Web 2-4, 6-7, 75, 92, 166, 201,

211, 232, 261, 278, 296, 321, 328

XML 3, 47, 57, 92, 97, 109, 201, 207-208,

212, 215, 219, 319

Yachting Partners International 90, 92

Yahoo! 3, 9, 32, 66, 85, 92, 96-99, 106, 111,

125, 127, 171, 188-189, 285, 302

Younique 268

YouTube 3, 126, 128-130, 143-144,

147-148, 154-155, 329

YPI 90, 92

Zappos 10, 285, 292

Zoopy 42, 359

index › zoopy

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