A good online reputation is the results of well designed strategies, positive word-of-mouth and a constant improvement led by a continuous monitoring activity. However, sometimes startups and small business companies think they do not “need” to care about their online reputation because they are still too small. Well, this is totally wrong. Here are five reasons why they should care about Social Media Monitoring:
    • They are talking about you, even when you don’t know. If nobody cares about your business it means that you didn’t generate awareness around it. If you are a startup, reputation is really important: it could influence an investor, let other people know (and adopt) your service and attract journalists’ attention. You might not have enough money to run an advertising campaign, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t use Social Media, build a strategy to promote your business and analyze what people are saying about you and how you are performing on these channels.
    • Reputation is money. It is true: investors will judge you based on your business plans, traction and so on, but having a bad reputation is not a good a thing. The startup ecosystem, like a village, is a place where people talk about other people. And you do not want others to tell bad things about you. You need to know what people say about you, face the critics, welcome the feedback and start conversations.
    • You are not alone in the market: what are your competitors doing to promote themselves online and generate awareness around their business? Yes, people talk about you, but they talk about your competitors too. Benchmarking is necessary to understand your position in the market, and how you are perceived online.
    • If you offer a service, then you should offer a customer care too: Social CRM is the way to do it. “The app crashes every time I launch it”. What if this complaint comes in a tweet? Would you ignore it? Huge error. Building a trustworthy relationship with your users is the best way to create fidelity.
    • Too small for a crisis? Too late to think about that after it happened. “It will never happen to us”. Are you sure about that? If people chose your service, platform, app or product, they trusted you. What if the product does not work, or there is a passwords leak or your CEO says something bad? Bad reputation (see point #2) and online crisis. It is not an “epic” fail, but it could be “epic” for you. You know your weaknesses, deal with them and get ready to quickly react.
  Social Media Monitoring is not a mere exercise, it could turn into a competitive advantage and it is definitely THE way to improve your business, collect feedback, and generate awareness around your products and services. It is not a choice, it is a powerful weapon. ----   Emanuela Zaccone recently published a book focused on Social Media Monitoring, in which she talks about the importance of building a strong online reputation in order to improve the brand image, establish better relationships with (potential) customers, generate leads and manage crisis.