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9 Questions to Ask When Developing Your Online Reputation Management Strategy

Businesses from a variety of fields now have to contend with the fact that their digital presence is often how they make their first impression. Because the internet is the first point of contact for customers and partners alike, developing and maintaining an effective online reputation management strategy is crucial for long-term success.

9 Questions to Ask When Developing Your Online Reputation Management Strategy

1. How Can Your Brand Maximize Social Media Impact?

Social media is a critical component of your business’s online reputation management strategy. A thorough social media plan should account for multiple ways for customers to contact and interact with your brand. Effective use of social media may require you to have staff specifically tasked with updating and moderating social media accounts. One way to streamline this process is to pre-schedule postings as part of your content marketing strategy.

Taking the time to fine-tune your social media accounts gives you more ways to connect with customers. While social media strategy will depend on a variety of factors, including your field, these are some major platforms to consider creating and optimizing:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Groupon, Foursquare, or other social discount programs

Part of optimizing your social media will include incentivizing users to follow and engage with your brand on these platforms. Consider using traditional advertising materials to spread the word about ways to interact with your brand online. Use your accounts to start conversations, ask questions, and build a sense of community among your users.

2. What Can You Do to Incentivize Positive Reviews?

Reviews make a tremendous impact on whether someone interested in your services converts into a customer. But besides managing bad reviews, your plan should also offer incentives for leaving positive reviews. Reviews can substantially influence whether a customer patronizes your business and are often the first thing potential customers look at when researching your business. Some popular tactics for getting customers to review your business include offering special rewards programs, discounts, and even giveaways for positive reviews.

You can also harness the power of positive reviews in your favor. Positive reviews can make fantastic additions to marketing materials or web copy, and some businesses even dedicate an entire page to what customers are saying about their products and services. This customer-generated content typically reads as more authentic than company-crafted advertising copy and can help gain the trust of new users.

3. What Is Your Plan for a PR Crisis?

Proactivity can help you plan ahead for negative press, bad reviews, or other reputation-damaging events. Every business will face a crisis eventually, whether major or minor. Being aware of this reality, expecting potentially damaging scenarios, and tasking qualified personnel with addressing these types of problems can help your brand survive these incidents with its reputation intact.

Some plans may involve removing negative reviews from search engines. Other companies may focus on garnering more positive reviews or press attention to outweigh negative attention. Regardless of specific strategy, the company should have some plan developed ahead of time for responding to criticism, including criteria for which criticism merits a response at all.

4. How Quickly Can You Respond to Emerging Events or Bad Reviews?

Timely response can be critical when handling potentially damaging situations. Many businesses have learned the hard way that ignoring a bad review or barrage of criticism can make its consequences worse. A reputable reputation management group will address the situation immediately to prevent bad reviews from lingering online for too long. Mistakes are inevitable in any business, so you want to use your company’s digital interactions to demonstrate that you are doing everything you can to remedy problems as they arise.

Responsiveness also shows your company’s genuine investment in your customers’ satisfaction. As a general policy, you want to respond to both positive and negative feedback, particularly on social media and review applications. Doing so shows that you value your customers’ insight and actively look for ways to improve your services and customer relations.

5. How Can You Improve Your Search Engine Ranking?

How effectively your business uses search engines directly impacts how visible your business is. When you are monitoring your business, be aware of how online content affects your search ranking to avoid triggering spam filters. Third-party links on spam sites can damage your Google ranking, so be proactive about addressing this content.

6. What Metrics Will You Use to Measure Success?

Brand reputation businesses should be able to state how they will measure reach and other outcomes. Clear, measurable objectives help your experts determine which aspects of reputation management are working effectively. For instance, social media analytics can reveal both what your campaigns are doing well and areas for improvement. Platforms like Hootsuite keep track of analytics across multiple platforms for you, saving time and allowing you to fine-tune or redirect your campaigns.

You can also set up free Google Alerts to stay aware of how often and where your company is being discussed online. This is one simple monitoring tool you can use to gauge reputation and the types of coverage your company is receiving. Google alerts can also reveal what types of conversations your company’s name is appearing in, illuminating details from what questions customers have about your services to their desired features.

7. How Is Your Business Doing Compared to Competitors?

Keeping eyes on your competition is a wise move. Knowing what has worked well and failed for similar businesses can help you borrow successful tactics while avoiding embarrassing or damaging pitfalls. Take the time to read what business insiders and customers are saying about your competitors to give yourself an edge.

8. How Can You Use Content to Draw More Business?

Unique, useful, and shareable content can do wonders for your brand’s reputation. Adding a blog to your web page gives you the opportunity to show off your expertise and build community among your customer base. You can use this space to share insider tips, build credibility, and promote special events or discounts for new and existing customers. A smart content strategy can help you stay in charge of your online reputation and engage your target audience effectively.

9. How Do You Typically Work With Clients?

When you hire someone for reputation management, you will want to know exactly what to expect. Ask questions about how you will meet with your strategists (by phone, email, Skype, meeting, etc.) and how regularly you plan to meet. You want to be certain that the company’s style of client management works for your needs.

10. What Effect Are Your Personal Accounts Having on Your Business?

Finally, evaluate your personal accounts and privacy settings to ensure you are always putting your best foot forward. It is perfectly fine to have personal accounts, but you want to be aware of the fact that these accounts can impact your business. Keep your social media, blogs, and other online spaces professional. A reputation management company can offer personalized advice on your situation.

Optimize Your Reputation Management Approach With Professional Help

If you own a business in the Calgary area and are ready to optimize your online reputation management strategy, contact Digital Marketing Collective today. Our experts can assess your situation and offer customized advice on managing your brand’s digital reputation.

Put Your Trust in an Edmonton Marketing Agency: 5 Reasons to Work With Someone Local

Even in today’s increasingly global world, where one can place an order from nearly any corner of the planet with the click of a button, the vast majority of economic activity continues to take place locally. Particularly in service-based economies like Canada, a large number of business transactions still depend on geographic proximity. That’s why at DM Collective, we take pride in being an Edmonton marketing agency specializing in our local community.

5 Reasons to Work With Someone Local

1. A Local Marketing Agency Knows Local Tastes

Perhaps the biggest benefit of working with a local marketing agency is that its team members live and work right here in the local community, giving them first-hand knowledge of local tastes and preferences. Simply by living in the region where they provide marketing services, local marketers already are immersed in the culture and “feel” of a place: an incredibly valuable commodity that can be difficult if not impossible for an outside marketing group to replicate.

National or Outside Agencies Can and Do Get It Wrong

We all are familiar with instances where an attempt to tap into the local spirit via a marketing campaign has gone embarrassingly wrong due to a misunderstanding of the local culture, customs, and/or tastes. In many instances, the negative backlash and perceptions of inauthenticity can be so intense that it would have been better never to have run the ad or campaign in the first place, and the stains of a poorly executed marketing campaign can take years to overcome.

Local Marketing Agencies Understand Locals

On the other hand, local marketing agencies are highly familiar with local customs, from the way people talk, to what sports teams they root for, to what public figures are adored or abhorred locally. All of these factors are highly important when it comes to connecting with your customer base, and a local marketing agency is best situated to provide you with expert guidance in navigating these sometimes complicated nuances.

2. A Local Marketing Agency Knows Local Trends

What presently is trending in one region may not yet be popular in another and may already be a passing fad in still another. Local marketers are experts on what is currently popular in their area and are keeping an eye out for what is coming down the line. By focusing exclusively on the local region, local marketing agencies are able to delve more deeply than those seeking to cover a broader geographic area, who must inevitably spread themselves more thinly.

As one digital marketing blogger on DMClocal.com rightly observed, “An advertising campaign in Los Angeles, California is going to look a lot different from an advertising campaign in Glasgow, Scotland.”

Agencies Serving Large or Multiple Regions Have a Broader Focus

Marketing agencies that provide their services nationwide or even internationally possess little understanding of local trends. Further, they tend to focus their attention mostly on the few largest urban areas where they stand to make the bulk of their revenue, giving them little incentive to focus on smaller regional trends outside the world’s major cities.

This leaves the huge national and international marketing firms with little understanding of regional trends in even medium-sized municipalities, where they are left casting a wide net with little ability to tailor their messages specifically to the local community. Often, this can leave them relying on antiquated and/or inadequate market research or, worse yet, regional stereotypes, which, again, can seriously backfire if they end up appearing like false efforts at authenticity or even alienating potential customers.

3. A Local Marketing Agency Knows Where And How to Reach Locals

Despite what the advertising giants would have you believe, local marketing agencies know best where to reach locals. After all, we are locals, too! We live in the local community, have family and friends and coworkers who also are locals, patronize local businesses, and consume the local media. Who better to understand how locals actually live and what forms of advertising will convey your message most effectively?

Local Agencies Don’t Use a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Because no national agency could possibly possess expertise on every single local market, they are forced to rely on cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approaches to regional marketing plans, applying the same methods to multiple regions based on an area’s demographic breakdown and population, for example. By contrast, local marketing agencies focus only on one region: their own. This makes them experts on everything from the local lingo to which billboard locations attract the most attention to what pitfalls one should avoid.

4. A Local Marketing Agency Won’t Treat You Like a Second-Class Client

Although their prices probably won’t reflect it, one major shortcoming of giant national or international marketing agencies is that they tend not to treat all of their clients equally, giving preferential treatment to enormous corporate clients with multi-million-dollar advertising budgets. While they charge top dollar, these companies often rely heavily on their reputations but lack a detailed understanding of local markets.

One should ask a potential digital marketing firm: How do we compare to your other clients regarding budget and production requirements?

Be Treated Like a Valued Partner

In local business, reputation matters. And when our client partners succeed, we succeed, too. That’s why at DM Collective, we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible outcomes regardless of size. We strive to be known as the Edmonton marketing agency that gets results so that our clients stick with us and share their success stories with others.

5. A Local Marketing Agency Knows Where Local Marketing Dollars Are Best Spent

Only a true local can acquire the detailed knowledge necessary to know exactly where a client’s marketing dollars are well spent and which investments to avoid. From city to city and even neighborhood to neighborhood and street to street, not all marketing investments are created equal, and a local marketing agency is best situated to guide you in making these important distinctions.

Don’t Waste Your Advertising Dollars

There’s an old saying: Half of your advertising dollars are being wasted, the key is knowing which half. Local marketers are much better situated to help discern in advance based on experience which advertising dollars are likely to be wasted, helping you to make the most out of your precious marketing resources.

Local Business Needs a Local Marketing Agency

For these reasons and more, businesses operating in a local region are much better off relying on the services of a local marketing agency rather than a regional, national, or international firm. At DM Collective, we are an Edmonton marketing agency specializing in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and the surrounding areas. This gives us unique insight into local tastes, trends, and marketing opportunities that outside marketing agencies just can’t match.

Local Does Not Mean Less

Don’t think that somehow local marketing firms aren’t able to provide the same level of service as outside firms. At DM Collective, we offer our clients the best in tech performance and person-to-person service. On the tech side, we provide a single dashboard where you can view all of your business’s marketing activities in one place, but we still offer old-fashioned one-on-one consultations, as well.

Work With the Best Edmonton Marketing Agency

Ultimately, we judge our success based on one thing: our clients’ results! Our objective is to help you meet your objectives, whether that’s expanding your market share, increasing revenue, growing your brand presence, or all of the above. Contact DM Collective today to see what we can do for your local business!

No Place Like Home: 5 Reasons to Work With a Local Digital Marketing Agency

It is important for businesses of all sizes to have a healthy online presence. Every day the internet claims a larger share of the total global marketplace, and the sooner you take advantage of digital marketing opportunities, the better equipped you will be to handle future demands. A local digital marketing agency can help you construct an affordable plan custom suited to the needs and the budget of your business. In this article, we’ll discuss five reasons why it’s advantageous to work with a local agency.

5 Reasons to Work With a Local Digital Marketing Agency

Digital marketing is the name given to a broad spectrum of smart advertising strategies. It differs from traditional marketing in that it allows you to target the people you wish to see your ad, and it provides you with analytical data as to how to make your ads more effective. In the old days of traditional marketing, businesses had no alternative but to attempt to achieve the widest reach possible. The advantage of focusing your marketing strategy only on those most likely to become clients makes digital marketing more effective and inexpensive.

The technological world evolves quickly, and new innovations and strategies are constantly being introduced to the marketplace. For your business to remain competitive, it’s important to implement the best technologies and strategies available. The best way to keep up-to-date is to form a partnership with a local digital marketing agency that can guide you through necessary changes to your overall strategy. Here’s how:

Face to Face Meetings

Digital conferencing is very powerful, but there is still no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. With a local agency, you can schedule meetings and training sessions that can get your business team up to speed in the shortest amount of time possible. Modern strategies involve everything from web design to conduct training for how you and your employees must behave online.

It has been said that once something is on the internet, it lives forever. That is especially true when it comes to unfortunate social media posts. When a post reflects poorly on your business, even if the post was inadvertent, it can be very expensive to undo the damage. Social media training is just one way that working with a local digital marketing agency can provide you with peace of mind. When a complex concept needs to be absorbed and implemented on a tight schedule, a local agency has you covered.

They Understand the Local Business Landscape

An advertising campaign in Los Angeles, California is going to look a lot different from an advertising campaign in Glasgow, Scotland. Both of these cities are great communities, but they have radically different social perspectives. For an advertisement to be effective, it must tap into the collective consciousness of the target group it seeks to reach. A local marketing agency not only knows the local community, it knows how they think, and it has a track record and experience in crafting advertisements that will grab their attention.

Sometimes advertising copy that comes from a national agency is so vague that the public tunes it out without even hearing it. Local agencies know the keywords, popular local references, and culturally significant attractions that will cause casual listeners to tune in. A local agency knows how to cut through the advertising buzz that customers are subjected to every day and provide a message that is clear, concise, and effective.

Local Contacts

A local digital marketing agency will have relationships with a lot of local businesses. This provides you with the opportunity to reach out for mutually beneficial advertising opportunities. Perhaps a local tire shop wants to run a promotion in coordination with a local car dealership. With contacts already in place, local agencies can make your advertising concept a reality and provide the best conditions for an exponential return on your investment.

Marketing is always about creativity, and combining the reach of respected local businesses can be a huge advantage for everyone involved. One of the most important objectives for businesses in the modern setting is to demonstrate a focus in giving back to the community. By engaging other community contacts in this objective, you have the opportunity to make a significant, positive impression on your area.

Greater Accessibility

One of the best qualities of a local agency is that they are positioned to respond to your calls, questions, or concerns with greater speed than a national agency. You don’t have to worry about sending off an email and having to wait four or five days for a response. With a local agency, you can simply stop by the office after work and have your question answered in a matter of seconds.

When it comes to business, decisions often have to be made and implemented quickly. You simply can’t afford to wait for the schedule of your contact at a national agency to clear up enough so that they can respond to your query. A local agency ensures that you have access to the knowledge and advice you need when you need it. That difference can be invaluable when it comes to ensuring the continued success of your business.

Superior Commitment

A local digital marketing agency is part of your community. They understand that if your business succeeds, the whole community is strengthened as a result. This provides them with greater motivation than you’ll ever receive from a national agency. Your community represents the people who provide aid when there’s a local emergency or donate funds so that a local high school team can compete in a regional event. Supporting local businesses helps keep the community strong.

In addition to contracting the professional services of a local agency, you’ll also receive the benefit of their own word-of-mouth recommendations. If your contact at the agency needs a service you provide, he or she is likely to contact you first about receiving that service. The ties of a local community that supports each other have always been a fundamental component to community success stories.

Communities Support Each Other

Community building is one of the fundamental components of modern digital marketing strategies. More and more people want to see more from corporations than just success as a for-profit entity. When your business is able to reach out to the community and give something back, it creates a sense of trust and appreciation that no amount of advertising can by.

A commitment to social outreach programs is a way to achieve a huge amount of earned coverage, and the more positive stories there are about your business in local media, the better it is for the reputation of your business. Local agencies are more effective at using the kind of language in their advertising copy that will get noticed and leave a positive impact. They have access to local contacts and are uniquely positioned to offer pairing opportunities that can lead to a huge boost in visibility.

Finally, they have an inherent motivation to work towards the success of the community they share, so you’ll likely get a superior effort when you hire local. Contact DM Collective today to discover more about how a local digital marketing agency can serve the needs of your business.

9 Things Outside Marketing Consultants Will Bring to the Table

Particularly since the advent of online marketing, many businesses have been tempted to keep their marketing operations in-house. After all, we can all send a tweet or email and post to social media, right? However, as all too many businesses–from sole practitioners to large corporations–have learned from experience, marketing is best left to the experts. At DMC in Calgary, Alberta, we pride ourselves on delivering customer-first service aimed directly at expanding our client’s market share and increasing their revenues.

9 Things Outside Marketing Consultants Will Bring to the Table

1. Marketing Experience

Just as your business specializes in what it does, marketing agencies and consultants specialize in marketing. It’s all we do. This gives us a depth of knowledge and experience that simply cannot be matched by those cramming to do marketing in their spare time.

Strategy Meets Market Knowledge

Not only are marketing professionals educated in various techniques and strategies that have been developed over time, but they also are able to stay on top of the latest marketing trends to see where things are now and where they are going. As outside consultants keep your marketing plan up-to-date with the latest technology, strategy, and, trends, you can put your focus squarely on your business and customers.

2. Allow You to Focus on What You Do Best

By taking over responsibilities for marketing strategy and, in some cases, execution, outside consultants allow you to reclaim the hours lost to in-house marketing. Not only is this likely to make your marketing plan more efficient and effective, but it will also allow you to put your focus back on running your business as well as possible, knowing that your marketing is safely in expert hands.

3. Focus on Trends

With everything else a competitive business must focus on in today’s world, who has time to stay up on the latest marketing trends? Marketing consultants, that’s who. Because marketing is what we do, outside consultants are tapped into the world of marketing in all of its incarnations 24/7.

4. More Comprehensive Marketing Strategies

Many businesses that try keeping their marketing programs in-house do not even realize the full extent of what they are missing out on. Outside marketing experts are familiar with a broad range of tools and strategies with which non-marketing professionals are unaware. And, in today’s quickly evolving digital world, outside consultants also are able to stay on top of the latest online marketing trends.

Make Sure You’re on the Latest Platforms

Outside consultants keep track of where your customers are, including the latest online platforms. Not able to keep up with the newest crazes in social media, apps, messaging, podcasting, or any other of the constantly expanding number of online outlets and potential marketing opportunities? You don’t have to! Outside marketing professionals literally make it their jobs to provide their customers with the most current strategies based on the latest data.

5. Expand Your Reach

Sure, even non-marketing professionals could name a few familiar marketing platforms, both traditional and digital. But do you know how many you are missing? Do you stay on top of which platforms are currently generating the most traffic and which ones are frequented by users with demographics similar to your customer base?

Do you know the most effective strategy for allocating your marketing budget among online, TV, print, radio, and other media? Outside experts bring all of these answers to the table because understanding how best to deploy your advertising dollars is our business.

6. Make the Most of Limited Marketing Resources

Whether your advertising budget is measured in the hundreds of dollars or the millions, one thing remains true: no marketing plan ever has unlimited resources at its disposal. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of developing and executing an effective marketing plan is making sure that whatever resources are available are deployed to maximum effect.

Don’t Waste Your Money on Wrong-Headed Marketing

Unfortunately, for non-marketing professionals, it can be incredibly difficult to separate fact from fiction when it comes to knowing how best to spend their marketing dollars. Today, there are any number of platforms large and small clamoring for your ad dollars, but only experts with real marketing experience and knowledge will be able to separate the sound investments from the hype.

7. A More Consistent Approach to Marketing

One of the biggest challenges facing in-house marketing operations is that oftentimes, particularly in smaller companies, there is not a dedicated marketing team but rather certain individuals responsible for marketing who also serve other roles within the organization. In many cases, this means a business owner or manager trying to jump on social media to send out some promotions when not busy with other tasks.

Don’t Let Your Marketing Efforts Ebb and Flow

Unfortunately, this kind of hodgepodge approach often leads to inconsistent marketing output, and we all know that one of the keys to an effective marketing plan is consistency. When relying on in-house marketing, output often rises and falls as other responsibilities allow. When things get busy or time is particularly hard to come by, marketing is one of the first things to go by the wayside. However, this can mean sacrificing your business’s future success for its present needs.

8. You Retain Control

Some businesses fear that engaging an outside consultant for their marketing plan means handing over control of their business’s public face to an outsider. However, these concerns are largely unfounded. Marketing professionals work with their clients to formulate marketing plans and campaigns that take into account a business’s unique character and culture, strategizing on the most effective ways to communicate the business’s message to the largest possible audience of potential customers.

A good marketing professional will never make any moves with which their client is uncomfortable. Rather, they strive to accurately amplify the unique voice of each business, while helping to ensure that this voice strikes the intended tone.

The Right Outside Expert Actually Can Give You More Control

In fact, the right outside marketing expert can actually give you more control over your business’s marketing plan, not less. For example, at DMC, we provide our clients with a single dashboard from which they can oversee and manage their entire marketing operation.

9. A Fresh Perspective From a Knowledgeable Expert

A key part of an outside consultant’s role lies right in the name: outside. By bringing in a knowledgeable expert from outside your organization, you can provide a fresh perspective on how you can best achieve your goals and give your business the public face you desire. When one is “too close” to a business or is inside an organization, it can be difficult to see how that entity is perceived by potential customers and the public at large. An outside consultant can literally bring a valuable “outsider” perspective to your marketing strategy.

See What an Outside Marketing Consultant Can Do for Your Business

By possessing relevant expertise in the area of marketing, devoting themselves full time to the study of current trends and best practices and providing a fresh perspective, outside marketing consultants can bring benefits that no in-house marketing efforts, no matter how well-intentioned, can match.

At DMC in Alberta, Calgary, we pride ourselves on taking a customer-first approach to helping our clients achieve their business-related goals. Contact DMC in Alberta today to see what we can do for your business!