By Fernando Angulo – Head of Communications, SEMrush
Online reputation can make or break a business so, in the modern era, being equipped with best-practice knowledge on how to best represent yourself professionally online is imperative.
To begin, it’s vital to find out who is speaking about you and your brand. For businesses to succeed online, they must constantly listen to online conversations surrounding their brand, competitors and industry topics, and utilising mention tracking can offer incredible insights.
By monitoring competitor brands’ keywords and studying how their online mentions measure up against your own, brands can monitor monthly traffic of the mention source across unique monthly visitors, followers or subscribers. Brands can then start familiarising themselves with the writers of these platforms and, if it’s clear they are interested in the content your brand could provide, supply it in your voice and with your messaging.
Once brands have studied what their competitors are doing online, it’s time to start generating consumer insights. Track your brand, product or service’s keywords, taking note of the sentiment as well as other key words used alongside your brand, particularly if they are positive or negative. This way brands can immediately improve how they are communicating with customers.
Using influencers and ambassadors can be extremely effective when done right. Pay attention to engagement rates and focus on those who don’t currently speak about you but who have direct audience alignment – this is the most important element of influencer work. Opting for influencers who have a huge following but aren’t likely to convert is one of the biggest mistakes people make.
Elaborate campaigns require investment to drive traction and impact businesses’ bottom lines. However, to optimise results and ensure ROI, effective evaluation is essential. Track campaign keywords and drill down into the analytics to understand who is talking about the campaign, especially in associated comments and threads. The number of back links is also key and platforms which use them can be extremely effective routes to drive traffic to your web presence.
Keeping abreast of the latest industry trends is another key element in managing online reputation. Studying reputable sources – whether they are university studies or reliable media platforms – will help content creation ideation and aid finding new, relevant forums and influencers.
Crises in industries are inevitable and how brands manage them is always under heavy scrutiny, so always track your brand’s keywords and pay close attention to sentiment and tone. Online reaction moves fast, and the public expects brands to respond at similar speed, so invest time in an action plan which can be implemented across numerous scenarios. As the old adage goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail.