The Challenge: Companies who do not monitor what customers are saying about them online can wind up using social media for damage control rather than for profit.
In a report by Stanford University it was reported that:
• 90% of executives claim to understand the impact that social media can have on their organization, however, only 24% of senior managers and 8% of directors surveyed actually receive ongoing reports.
• Approximately half of the companies do not collect this social media information at all.
If you are not allocating time for brand reputation management, you will never fully know what your customers are saying to you -- and more damaging, saying about you to others.
• In a study by JD Power, over 60% of surveyed consumers said they want companies to listen to what they say about them online and to respond.
• And an Aberdeen study on Brand Reputation Management, it was noted that companies that take the time to stay on top of their reputation management are more likely to have a higher customer retention rate.
While many companies have been put in the position of rapid damage control after negative social media chatter, Reebok recently demonstrated their ability to respond quickly, make adjustments, and move forward when consumer voices were raised in protest over a product spokesperson, Rick Ross, after he rapped about drugging a woman and having sex with her without her knowledge.
A well orchestrated campaign by the feminist group, UltraViolet included an online petition signed 50,000 times in 24 hours, a video viewed over 17,000 times, ads on Facebook, and messages to Reebok's Twitter page. The group called out Reebok regarding its contradictory position of a controversial spokesperson versus its marketing of products to young men and boys and marketing to women and investing in women's athletics.
As a result the company rapidly severed ties with Rick Ross.
The lesson for all businesses is to truly understand your customers and put in place the ability to listen in every element of the media mix, and react with speed when the voices of your customers are raised -- in any medium.
• It is far easier to cultivate high brand reputation ratings than to do damage control. Create dedicated staff positions to monitor social media on a daily basis to find out what is being said about your business.
• Your monitoring should include searches on all media; search engines, all social media comments on your page(s) or through hash tags, rating sites such as Yelp, and customer complaint sites.
• If a problem arises, don't delay in acknowledging the situation. Respond honestly and authentically. Do not engage in "corporate speak."
Ernan Roman is recognized as a Customer Experience innovator and was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing, and Opt-in Marketing.
He was also named by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing."
His latest book on marketing best practices is titled:Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay.