I try to keep up with what keyword phrases users are searching for to reach my site, but I also like to keep track of other keyword phrases that I somehow end up ranking for that may not be so apparent ...
Here are all the 'surprising' search terms I currently rank in the top ten for, and the average rank (data may be a little out of date when you read this):
There are quite a few I'm pleasantly shocked by, including "urban social media marketing" and "new thoughts on marketing" -- but what really made me sit up and think was "movable type customer support."
That's right -- I currently out-rank Movable Type's own website when it comes to this search term -- and it's not exactly good for Movable Type since the two posts are complaints I made against their customer service.
As a marketer, this says two things to me, 1) this is the price of burning a customer on the web, your choices are much louder than before and 2) this is a perfect example of a company in need of online reputation management.
In this post, I'll begin to explore what online reputation management is, using Movable Type as an example.
So what is online reputation management?
It's the process of searching for and managing the public perception of a brand and its services online. Literally, we track down every way a user might be exposed to your brand and identify areas of improvement and create a complete strategy around your online presence. It's also important to realize that a negative reputation can start by offline actions (look at the further reading list below), and then enter the web through someone's frustrated blogging -- so it's important, in an overall strategy, to coordinate with every offline customer touchpoint as well. We have to educate your staff on how to deal with customers better, how to search for online complaints, and how to provide online solutions to common problems and concerns.
Online Reputation Management is a function of: Customer Service (providing and improving), Social Media (social searching, social interacting, social submitting), Search Engine Optimization (promoting the positive and searching out the negative), and Branding (living and breathing the desired brand, both online and off).
Quick Case Study, Movable Type:
A quick search for "movable type customer support" on Google returns the following results:
You'll see that not only are the first two results links to complaints (on this blog) -- but also that last result is entitled "Is Anyone Else as Frustrated with MovableType?"
I know that in our process to choose a CMS product, we evaluate what others have to say about a company's customer support -- and a search like this could sour anyone's perception of Movable Type, or at least send them on a search for a competitor's product.
In online reputation management, we look for instances such as this and work to repair negative brand perceptions -- we use tools like company blogs, or we increase the visibility of a customer service expert to continually address the community (think Matt Cutts of Google). Perhaps that's what Anil Dash was trying to do when he originally found my blog and apologized for the problem. But his mistake was to drop off the face of the earth when I (or anyone else in my firm) tried to follow up -- so we moved on, and chose a competitor, Text Pattern, instead.
Do you ever wonder how often this happens to your company? Do you do anything about it?
The point isn't that you can't fire a customer, it can be quite
healthy for your business, the point is that all repercussions are more
visible online to the community as a whole -- and that what you don't know, or can't see, will still hurt you.
Why is Reputation Management So Important?
Online Reputation Management Begins Offline
If You Mess Up, Admit It! Looking at Dell and Reputation Management
Search Engine Guide Covers Presidential Reputation Management
I'd also like to say that I do use Six Apart's other product, TypePad, and my experience thus far has been very positive.