I started this blog a couple of months ago after I heard a talk by Andy Sernovitz on word of mouth marketing. The topic that stuck in my mind is that people are already talking about you and your company and products. Your only option is to join the conversation.
I think 80% of the stuff on the web is junk. Many will argue it is close to 95%. It seems like there are many blogs and micro sites that are operating for the sole purpose of selling you something or trying to get you to click on a Google Ad. I wonder how successful they are. There are individuals however that are publishing some very good information about specific topics. It doesn’t take a lot of research to separate the good from the chaff. People will link to a good blog and share the information readily with friends, family and co-workers. Information is spreading with the pace of a wildfire in a windstorm. Some information is accurate. Others is not. For example I find it amazing what some people are doing to treat their children’s head lice. It seems the more frustrated they are the more extreme the remedy.
I’m not that old, at least I don’t think I am (just don’t ask my boys). I like to think of myself as informed on current events and trends in the marketplace. That said if you would have asked me 6 months ago where monitoring blogs about industry trends fit in on my priority list I would have ranked it very low. Heck blogs are for kids. Well not anymore. It seems like there are blogs popping up everywhere on every topic. The scary thing is that one upset customer that is properly connected can create havoc for a company very quickly.
Michael Snyder, managing partner for the MEK group published a very good piece on this topic this morning. His article titled Ignoring Blogs: A Recipe for Reputation Disaster outlines why we must at the very least monitor what is being said about us. Then we can decide if we want to join the conversation and what we should say.
Sernovitz talks about dealing with the negative. The best defense is a good offense. The first point is to know what people are saying. Go where they go and read what they write. People are blogging and most likely they are talking about you. Then show that you are listening. Reply, respond and identify yourself clearly. Many individuals (bloggers) are pleasantly surprised to find out that a company is reading what they write. Convert critics when you can. Treat critics like valuable customers. Finally don’t try to win. Tell your side of the story. People will give you credit for being honest. Maybe that is the last and most important point – be honest. If you are not, people will find out and then watch out!
Until next time – all the best!