Cory Huff, of Netbiz, shares what Netbiz learned when it comes to online reputation management and listening to the online conversation.
Netbiz is also giving away $1000 to one lucky reader – see details at the end of the article.
The Internet provides an open forum for consumer opinions. The power of social network sharing combined with search engines makes it impossible to hide a company’s mistakes or customer dissatisfaction.
Listening is Crucial
This is what we experienced at Netbiz. While we are proud to say that we’ve been in business since 2002 and have over 12,000 small business clients, we came to realize that there was a storm brewing online and it caught us blindsided. We weren’t listening and it came back to bite us.
Netbiz was being talked about on blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks and we didn’t pay enough attention to know the full extent of the conversation. Even though a great deal of what was being said was distorted or wrong, there was also truth to what was being said.
Changes for the Better
We have made some major changes recently at Netbiz and as part of that we created a plan to become more open and engaged with the small business community. Incidentally, the plan we created is taken, in part, from the story of what happened to Dell Computers. They had a similar customer service problem and have undertaken a major effort to clean up their reputation online (see Ideastorm.com). Here’s what we’re doing in order to become engaged with our clients online.
Listening. We are using existing free tools as well as some paid ones to monitor the discussion of our company’s brand online.
- You can use Google Alerts and TweetBeep (Tweetbeep.com to find mentions of your brand for free.
- Trackur by Andy Beal is a good way to filter results if you find too much information related to your brand.
- We have created accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites to hear what’s being said.
Engaging. Every company has dissatisfied customers. When complaints happens on the Internet we can approach the customer and see if there’s anything we can do to make it right.
- In addition, we are partnering with high profile bloggers, like SmallBizBee.com, to see what our customers, present and future, are really looking for in a Search Engine Marketing Company focused on small business.
Building a Community. This is something that remains to be seen. We love our company and think that our people do a good job helping our clients. The true test of this, is creating an environment that will engage our satisfied and unsatisfied clients, as well as our potential clients who are wondering who we really are.
Building a blog. We’ve launched the Netbiz Blog and there we will provide tons of useful information to our clients on how to set up effective internet marketing campaigns. It will also be a forum for discussion of both our performance and our clients’ needs.
- Giving back. We’re getting ready to launch a new contest where small businesses can earn a huge package of free Search Engine Marketing services. Our hope is that by giving back to the small business community, they will see that we are sincere in our desire to help and be willing to use that as a starting point for an ongoing discussion about the market.
- We have been doing charitable work from the very beginning but have always been hesitant to talk about it publicly. We’ll be sharing openly some of the work that we are doing for groups like Open Arms International and other organizations.
Having fun. We certainly recognize that the day of the corporate wall of silence is past. We are slowly changing as an organization. We’re becoming more relaxed in our interactions with our clients. We’re trying a little more to let people in and see who we are. We’re not trying so much to force a message as to open up our organization and let people see who we are. We hope that they like what they see.
I’m really curious to read about all of your experiences in the SmallBizBee Community. Have any of you had to deal with this kind of situation? Let us know in the comments below.
Win $1000 From Netbiz!
From now until September 21st, you have an opportunity to win 2 months worth of free search engine placement on Google (valued at $1000)!
Here’s how you can enter to win:
* Follow @Ask_Netbiz on Twitter and ask us a question about small business internet marketing. We’ll answer your question and enter you in our drawing.
* Every time you Re-Tweet our contest, we’ll give you another entry in our drawing.
* Become a fan of Ask Netbiz on Facebook and ask us a small business internet marketing question there. We’ll answer your question and enter you in our drawing.
It’s that simple. Ask a question, get an answer, and as a bonus, we will give one lucky business owner two month’s worth of Search Engine Placement at no cost to you!
About the Author
Cory Huff is the Social Media Specialist at NetBiz.com, a search engine marketing firm based in Portland, Oregon. He has worked in Social Media since 2003. Cory is always looking for partners to collaborate with. If you are interested, you can email him at chuff [at] Netbiz.com.
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