Community feedback–that is, when a customer actually uses your product and provides real feedback to improve it–is the dream that everyone’s chasing. You’d be hard pressed to find even small brands in your home town that don’t tuck Facebook or Twitter logos beside their company names. That dream is largely a fantasy when it comes down to the nuts and bolts. The reality is that finding the feedback you really need often uncovers things you might not want to know.
So the solution is to take more control over your brand. Build channels for users to discuss your brand, monitor that feedback, respond when necessary and most importantly build character for your business.
Managing Negative Feedback
Case studies suggest that you can push negative feedback out of a search engine using some quick SEO tricks. Start buying domain names now that are similar to your brand’s name, like “YourBrandReviews” or “YourBrandCompany” and keep these around. In situations where you accumulate negative feedback, you can build some highly optimize microsites on these domains to push those results out of your sphere of influence.
If there is a more serious event, like a customer publicly angered over service who wrote a long blog post, wait for the initial social media fervor to die down a bit and then respond with one well-crafted statement. Keep the message simple, and briefly state the company position on the matter. Do not further expose yourself to invasive questioning.
Your company should own and maintain its company blog to highlight projects you are working on and take more ownership over search. Maintaining a copywriter you can trust with the ability to write about the topics for your business is good practice. Regular postings will make you seem more authoritative, especially if those posts are well-researched and present original ideas.
It is important to monitor audiences, not just online. Companies such as Kantar Audiences, specialize in monitoring audiences across channels, platforms and devices. If your company does not have the capabilities to do this, then it should consider hiring the services of experts within the field of audience measurement.
You should also start guest blogging and looking for other ways to spread your links around the web. Basic SEO strategies like site redesigns and keyword research will pay off over time if you continue to nurture the business.
Aside from the company blog, press releases work well to celebrate industry awards your company receives. The advantage is distribution. Your release is automatically picked up by search engines, and then again by blogs who redistribute that content packaged in its own format. When you plan a big event, contact local newscasters to garner interest.
Learn to write short, impactful headlines. You can practice these skills while you campaign on social media outlets like Twitter, where limits on how much you can type force good copywriting habits.
Getting What You Want
Some brands utilize social media very well, some brands not so well. Marvel Comics, for instance, is a world class brand now owned by Disney. Before they were an entertainment powerhouse, they were a bunch of comic creators with an attitude who liked to tweet about tacos and kittens. These off-topic exchanges helped them facilitate a bond with fans that not everyone can mimic, but certainly everyone can learn from.
Think about it. If you want people clicking on your links you need to have trust. And just like the artist formally known as Prince once asked: what makes you real? That’s the takeaway, being real. If that means talking about last weekend’s sports game to get someone commenting on your page then let them know your office is full of fans.
The only thing left is to challenge everything you believe in by testing your assumptions on a daily basis. Without making adjustments to your landing pages, products, and ads you might not ever get ahead.