Todd William is the founder and CEO of Reputation Rhino and has over 15 years of experience providing a wide range of legal and strategic advisory services to Fortune 500 companies and financial institutions. Todd advises individuals and companies on online reputation management, public relations and digital marketing strategies.
What have been some of the most significant changes you've seen with reputation management over the past several years?
Reputation Management has gotten harder, takes longer and is more expensive. In the beginning, a few exact-match domains, a press release and a few social profiles and you could own Page 1 in two or three months. Now you need high authority content, strong links, powerful profiles and a little luck.
You have experience working with Fortune 500 companies, as well as small- to mid-sized businesses. What are some things you've learned, working with global corporations, that also applies to smaller companies, in regards to reputation management?
Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a startup in your parents' garage, reputation matters. Large companies have resources -- financial resources and human resources-- that small companies often lack. It is a blessing because a larger company can afford public relations and crisis communications professionals, lawyers, advertising/marketing agencies and other talent to help shape the conversation about a brand. It also means you have a larger target on your back.
One important lesson that can apply to smaller companies is the importance of monitoring the conversations about your brand online. You don't need to be obsessive, but you do need to be aware. Larger companies also tend to be conservative in how they respond to issues, knowing that any response will likely be analyzed and evaluated by a wide audience. This tempers a knee-jerk reaction that can turn a small problem into a big problem.
Responding quickly is one of the most important things, in regards to addressing negative opinions of a company or brand. Can you recommend any particularly useful resources or methods for social listening, to see what people are saying about a company, so they can respond as quickly as possible? What's an ideal turnaround time for responding?
There are great listening tools out there. Ranging from premium services like Sysomos to more affordable social media monitoring solutions like Hootsuite. Ideally, a company will try and respond in 60 minutes or less to urgent issues. 24 hours or less seems reasonable for ordinary queries.
Getting positive online reviews is one of the solutions you offer your clients. Can you recommend a few tactics to help encourage customers to leave positive online reviews for a business or service?
We don't exactly "get positive reviews" for our clients, but we do help our clients earn them by tracking and monitoring online reviews, responding to their customers in real-time, resolving issues quickly and converting negative experiences to positive experiences. It is also appropriate for companies to do a little introspection where there are recurring issues like shipping delays, product failures and other service issues that seem to keep popping up in negative reviews. The best way to get positive reviews is to run a customer-centered business and instill those values from the top-down.
Text message marketing is getting to be more and more prevalent as a viable marketing strategy. What are some reasons why SMS marketing is getting to be so popular, currently?
We are on our cell phones from the moment we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep, text messages connect us wherever we are.
According to Mobile Marketing Watch, text messages have an open rate of 98%, versus 20% with email marketing. Why is text message marketing so effective at getting people to read? Can you offer any advice on writing SMS messages that people will be eager to open?
Text messages tend to be short and to the point, marketing emails tend to be long, rambling and "salesy". I would recommend putting yourself in the shoes of your target customer when writing an SMS message, what does he or she want and how does your product or service fulfill that need and how can you communicate that message in a couple of sentences or less. Offering a special discount is also helpful.
SMS marketing also has a response rate of 45%, versus 6% with email marketing. What are some things marketers can do, to make the most of this higher response rate? Why is engagement so popular, for truly effective marketing?
Ask a question, solicit feedback, these are ways to promote and get the most of engagement.
Millennials are particularly prone to texting, sending an average of 67 text messages a day, according to Business Insider. What are a few ways marketers can optimize their SMS content for millennials, without being too obvious?
Authentic, organic content is most appealing to millennials. I would try to avoid selling and focus instead on content millennials may want to read and share.
SMS marketing is especially effective for local marketing. What are a few different SMS marketing strategies a company can use, to reach their local audience? Why is local search so important for marketing, these days?
Whether we are choosing a dry cleaners or a diner for dinner, we shop local. Messaging that is local is more personal and more effective.
Can you offer a few suggestions on how to get customers to opt in to receive SMS marketing? How is consensual marketing so much more effective than unsolicited messages, in a world where we're constantly being inundated with advertising?
The time will come where filters and spam blockers will limit SMS text messages to all but opt-in subscribers, just like what happened to email. Forward-thinking companies will try and develop their lists to anticipate this and focus on quality (opt-in subscribers) versus quantity.
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