This week’s our readings focused us on not on participating online, but listening and watching. A couple of our readings focused on online reputation management, including this one from MIT Sloan Management Review titled “Online Reputation Systems: How to Design One That Does What You Need”. It said that in a time when more organizations are “harnessing the collective intelligence of crowds and communities,” capitalizing on the power of reputation will attract good, self-driven people that will trust each other and collaborate effectively. (I will talk about this a little more in a couple of weeks when I present Crowdsourcing.) As with any undertaking on the web, it’s important to identify your organization’s goals and clearly define what your conversations are.
Reputation is defined here as the summary of one’s past actions within the context of a specif community that can help other community members make decisions. And the aim of managing reputation is to build trust, promote quality, facilitate member matching, and sustain loyalty. Prior to reading this, I had no clue that I had already seen reputation systems in action, but I had — Amazon, eBay, Barnes and Noble, to name a few. After having an issue with a product recently, I begun looking online for solutions and what other people were saying and it completely changed my image of and loyalty to a specific brand.
While I did learn much about reputation management, I was even more fascinated by the white paper “Amplifying Your Social Echo.” First of all, social echo is the “powerful reverberation of conversations around your brand that occur in the numerous social networks where people gather today.” Measuring social echo is in essence another a tool for reputation management, but it is also a powerful, accessible, and efficient decision-making tool, also. Listening is the key in social media marketing, a topic that increasingly peaks my interest. Rufus Manning was quoted as saying, “So much can be obtained by understanding what the conversation is, as opposed to trying to start up a new conversation.” Traditional marketing has been so focused on generating talk, that watching and listening is a new approach. Online chatter can be so enlightening. The examples about Windstar and Unisys were spot on, showing that the echo is a giant, available focus group. Echo also tends to be what makes the news, often not so much the original message. If a celebrity or athlete tweets something that no one really pays attention to, it’s just another day. But if that same person tweets something that causes a major echo, then usually it makes for a good story.
This is where analytics plays a big role in monitoring the impact of social media marketing and “social currency”. Time, focused effort, and significant dollars will be required to invest fully in social media marketing and monitoring. Another great point was the advice to not jump into social media conversations on a difficult issue, but to wait, find answers, and hone in on the right message. There are too many non-examples of this on the Internet right now. Here is a great blog entry I ran across Blind Five Year Old, an online marketing firm specializing in search, that presents social echo plainly.
Where would you be more likely to focus your time and money – online reputation systems or social echo amplification?