Increased use of social media and online marketing techniques gives companies a chance to engage with their customers, and brands are quickly catching on to the practice of reputation marketing. The potential downside is that this kind of interaction means customers are also free to publish reviews, complaints and comments that may negatively affect your brand.

 

This is where reputation marketing comes into play. Last year at Pubcon search conference, I ran into Shai Aharony from Reboot Online that summed it up well when he said "reputation marketing tools allow you to analyze, track, monitor and engage online activity, giving you the power to directly respond to customer complaints and turn potentially damaging feedback into a positive experience."

In order to best manage your brand’s online reputation and make customer engagement a part of your marketing strategy, your team needs to have the very best tools at your disposal.

I’ve identified the top 10 tools for reputation marketing that I've used in the past so you can see a real impact as you invest more in your brand’s reputation:

1. ConsumerAffairs

With over 5,000 listed brands and more than a million consumer reviews, ConsumerAffairs offers brands some of the most diverse and advanced features to build a strong online reputation and generate increased revenue. The consumer advocacy group’s website offers free and unpaid business plans and their third-party accreditation program coupled with a powerful software as a service (SaaS) platform offers brands a variety of resources to convert customer engagement into additional revenue.

2. BazaarVoice

Best for larger companies with deeper budgets, BazaarVoice was created to extend the online marketing potential of customers’ voices to shopping portals, offline channels and natural search. Customers are able to leave reviews, ratings, questions, answers and other customer-generated content on client websites, which BazaarVoice then shares on social media and across the internet.

3. Better Business Bureau

Founded in 1912, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is the elder statesman of consumer reviews. The non-profit group serves as an intermediary to help resolve disputes between customers and brands, and with reviews for over 4 million companies, the BBB website is one of the most popular and trusted consumer resources available. Ideal for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to personally interact with their customers, the BBB offers a variety of networking opportunities at a convenient price.

4. Yotpo

Yotpo is a powerful plug-and-play solution for ecommerce with a sleek, mobile-first design. Customers who make purchases on sites using Yotpo receive an email after their purchase asking them to review the product(s) they received. This Mail After Purchase (MAP) technique leads to more reviews, and since the requests go directly to the consumer, all of the reviews are automatically verified.

5. Cision

Unlike the previous tools that focus primarily on consumer reviews and feedback, Cision is a powerful public relations resource that gives brands the tools they need to get their message out. With more than 1.6 million contacts and outlets, Cision provides the perfect opportunity to connect your brand with crucial journalists, bloggers and social influencers who might otherwise be inaccessible.

6. Percolate

Managing all of your brand’s marketing efforts in one place is easy with software from Percolate, whether it’s planning campaigns, storing files, collaborating or content creation. The planner takes into account all your details, such as your target audience, brand identity guidelines and business objectives. Percolate provides a cross channel marketing calendar that helps you plan accordingly and is designed to make it easy to share content with consumers across social media, the Web and other traditional methods.

7. Reputation Loop

Designed to empower small business owners and allow them to expand their businesses, Reputation Loop is similar to Yotpo in that it works primarily by automatically contacting recent customers for reviews. But additional features like real-time reporting and review monitoring on sites like Yelp and Google+ provide valuable tools for brand managers.

8. TinyTorch

A social platform that helps brands build their online profile through social influencers and user-generated content (UGC), TinyTorch allows brands identify, monitor and manage their online presence. This platform helps find your best, most influential customers and cultivates their stories and photos to redistribute across multiple marketing channels.

9. HootSuite

HootSuite is a social media management platform that allows brands to monitor and sync all of their social media accounts in one simple interface. With support for popular networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more, HootSuite makes it easy to share content across multiple accounts and schedule posts in advance for blanketed marketing. From a reputation management standpoint, brands can use HootSuite to monitor customer feedback posted to their social media accounts and share positive reviews and comments across multiple social media networks simultaneously.

10. TrustPilot

Like other third-party review websites, TrustPilot allows users to leave reviews for businesses on its website, while offering both free and paid listings for brands. More than 100,000 companies are listed and more than 13 million reviews are currently available -- with more than 500,000 added each month. With its simple, easily navigated site and a basic assortment of analytics and engagement tools, TrustPilot is a good pick for businesses seeking simpler options.

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/277197

 

You know that weird feeling between excitement and dread that accompanies an invitation to interview? It’s especially strong when you know next to nothing about your potential workplace.

But, even if the first time you’ve ever heard of the company you’re interviewing with was the day you sent in your application, you can still walk in like you’ve known about the place for years. Here are several ways to tackle researching the company pre-interview.

1. Know the Company’s Strong Suits

The best way to convince your interviewer that you know the company well is to be able to articulate what makes it special compared to competitors. The good news? Companies will often tell you the answer to this question right on their websites.

One way companies share how they stand out is through their mission or values, which are typically prominently displayed in the “About Us” section. Read closely to learn what might be different about this organization than others. For instance, if you’re interviewing with a marketing agency, “commitment to client service” is probably something that its competitors boast, too, but if one of its other core values is sustainability, that’s good to know.

Review this along with any other “basics” you should be familiar with prior to the interview—like company size, location, and history. You don’t want to be that person who asks a question that can easily be answered by checking out the website.

2. Sniff Out the Financial Health

While you’re on the website, click on the “Investor Relations” tab. For most large companies, you should be able to access and listen to a publicly available quarterly earnings conference call and read an annual report. These calls and reports cover a range of topics (that are often otherwise hard to find), including new products, company risks, and whether revenues are growing or stable. If you’re interviewing with a startup, check out its profile on Crunchbase. Here, you can get caught up on rounds of funding, acquisitions, recent hires, and relevant press coverage.

Once you have this information, it’s up to you to draw your own conclusions. While you don’t necessarily want to spout off stock prices or funding history, being able to speak insightfully about where you think the company will go in the future, backed up with facts, is hugely impressive in an interview.

3. Watch Community Interaction

Somewhere along the application process, someone you’re interviewing with has likely Googled you and scoured your social media accounts. You should return the favor by finding out what the company has been up to lately.

Aside from the news that comes up when you Google the company (which you should also read), corporate blogs are gold mines, especially for younger companies that are growing. Whether it’s a post welcoming new staffers to the sales team or detailing new features of a recent software update, this is the kind of stuff you should know about.

LinkedIn is also a good tool for learning about what kind of news the company communicates—and therefore wants you to know. Check the company page on LinkedIn and see what kind of updates are featured. Is there a promotion for Mother’s Day, or a statement on how the sales team exceeded earning expectations? Either way, this will show you what types of things to bring up in conversation. (Oh, and while you’re on LinkedIn, check out the profiles of the people you’ll be interviewing with. Make sure you have your profile set so that they can see that you’ve viewed their profiles. This might seem counterintuitive, but it actually shows that you care and are doing your due diligence before the interview.)

Lastly, check out the company’s Twitter and Facebook profiles. Is the tone professional or casual? Is it nonstop promotion with zero interaction? Is the team responsive to complaints? Tuck away positive news and examples you encounter during your research to use in the interview.

4. Go Undercover to Learn Company Culture

You may be able to glean a bit about corporate culture through a company’s blog and social media accounts, but to really build on that information, try looking for information from external sources.

For example, head over to the company profiles on The Muse, where you can watch interviews with current employees and hear what makes each workplace so different. Or, see what positive and negative things people have to say about the company you’re interviewing with on Glassdoor. (You can also sniff out sample interview questions—here’s how.) You won’t bring up all this information during the interview, but it will at least help you come up with reasons why the company is special and help you to know what topics to avoid during the interview. (For example, maybe work-life balance is a touchy subject and should be brought up after you get the offer.)

Better yet, try to find a past or current employee you can speak with, and try to build on what you already know. You can ask something like, “I understand the company is working on growing its presence in Asia—can you tell me more about how this initiative is impacting the team?” This will both impress and grow what you know about your potential employer. (For more on acing your informational interview, try these tips.)

5. Read Up on the Field and Competitors

Aside from knowing as much as possible about the place you’re interviewing with, it’s a good idea to be able to talk about the industry as a whole and even more impressive to be able to talk about competitors and how the company fits into the bigger picture.

Look up competitors by going to the LinkedIn company page and scrolling down to the “Other Companies People Viewed” section. There should be a few competitors there. Do the same thing with the competitors you find until you have a pretty good sense of who the big players in the field are. (Or, if the company has a Crunchbase page, you should be able to find a list of competitors on its profile.)

Follow the same research steps you did for the company you’re interviewing for, but focus only on those things that are relevant to your interview. Think big picture, not minute details on specific projects. Is a competitor actively acquiring startups that target a different market? Or maybe new collaborations indicate a possible shift in audience for a big competitor.

After all this research, you’ll probably be wondering, “So, what do I do with all this information?” Remember that your objective is to be convincing when you say, “I want to work at your company.” Back this up by being able to talk about what makes the company unique, and express your enthusiasm by showing off your knowledge. Work in examples of what you know in your interview answers, and watch your interviewers nod in approval. After all, few things are as effective in an interview as knowing exactly what you’re talking about.

 About The Author

Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she's not indulging in a new book or video game, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.

 

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/05/22/the-ultimate-guide-to-researching-a-company-pre-interview/2/ 

Categorized in Online Research

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