As you probably know, people spend a lot of time online. More importantly, these people are likely your customers. As the popularity of user generated content grows, the more chance your customers will have the chance to find reviews of your product or service. The bad news? People are more likely to post their comments of feelings if they had a bad experience than if they had a good experience.
You can’t stop them from creating the content, so the key is to monitor it. Anything has the chance to go viral, if it does and you haven’t taken the proper steps to resolve the issue, things can get ugly. Last month the Marketing Pilgrim made me aware of a video that went viral on YouTube. A music video called ‘United Breaks Guitars’ portrays an experience musician, Dave Carroll, experienced while flying United Airlines. Currently there are nearly 5 MILLION views for the video. This does not look good for the Airline. Also, it is important to understand, you don’t have to be a business the size of United for someone to make a video or post a blog about you. Even if it doesn’t go viral, you still may be losing business over bad product reviews.
So how do you handle something like this? First you have to be aware of it. Make sure you set up Google Alerts for your brand name or product name. This is an easy and free step in monitoring your online presence. Also make sure you monitor your brand name and products on micro-blogging sites such as Twitter. It is quite probable that before something goes viral there will be a Tweet about it somewhere. Second, make sure you handle the situation itself properly. In this case, United Airlines refused to pay for the broken guitar. David Carroll already had the attention of viewers and decided to post a follow up to the video. I’m not convinced that United understands the power of a viral video…and now a viral figure. This will not put United out of business, but a video like this could have enough power to force a small or medium size business to close their doors.
Bottom line is a business must monitor their online reputation. For a small business it could take less than 10 minutes a week, while companies the size of United will have to provide much more time to online reputation management. Comcast began monitoring their online reputation in the early stages of Twitter. They obviously recognized the importance and handled the situation in a timely and professional manner. Instead of further negative exposure, the blogs posts about Comcast quickly turned positive.
It is important to understand you can’t resolve every single issue that is posted online about your product, but a quick response to serious ones can certainly help. For more information about online reputation management contact us today.