In an industry where word of mouth (and golf courses) play a huge part in how business gets done it’s interesting to see what happens AFTER the word of mouth interaction occurs. Even if you are on a golf course or at a networking event and someone recommends you, it’s important to understand what the next step is in that process or journey especially as we all have the internet right at our finger tips.
Do you know how many people Google you as a result of someone recommending you? You may or may not. Do you know how many phone calls you have had as a result of someone recommending you? You may or may not.
Here’s an example of a ‘what happens next’ once some one recommends a company on Twitter and then researches the company via Google.
1. Original Tweet
2. My response
3. Another recommendation made via Twitter
Now at this point you would take action if someone says “yes, I’ve used this company many times” and this shows a sign of loyalty and good service right? It’s a sense of reassurance. If you’re like me then you might take a look at their website and just see if they have any recent projects or case studies displayed on their website, you might take a look at where they operate or serve.
What happens when someone Google’s your company name?
So off I went to have a look at this companies website, and remember it could be your next prospect or customer, by starting off with a search on Google for this company.
I select the first option that Google displays within the Instant results and here’s what was displayed:
What we see here is forums populating the first page of Google where others have been talking about you. Sometimes they can be positive and sometimes they can be negative. Notice the date of the post highlighted? 2006! 6 years that post has been there followed by a couple more from 2010. It’s a digital footprint or trail from 2006.
Managing your reputation and brand online
In today’s mutli-channel world where your prospects and customers can source information from so many places it’s much more important that companies, business owners and marketers are aware and on top of managing their brands online. Google is usually the first point of call so it’s important to start here.
Negative search results can be pushed out of the first page by conducting online PR or creating valuable content optimised for brand searches such as videos or images for example. Creating social media profiles are a good way to occupy the first page of Google for your brand name too.
Here’s an example of occupying the first page of Google with branded content:
So what happens when you Google your company name? Is it all positive or is some of it negative? One thing to remember is that search results change all the time and you have no idea if someone has started a discussion about your company or products within a forum today or tomorrow. Hopefully you will have already signed up all branded keywords with Google Alerts as a notification service to alert you when some content has been identified by Google which contains the terms you have specified.
Finally, as we are talking about reputation and brand management, you may also want to read this post which highlights why you need to register your company name on Twitter if you haven’t already done so.