Nadav Dakner is a veteran online marketer and entrepreneur whose expertise is in high demand by multinational brands. As the founder and CEO of InboundJunction, a Tel Aviv-based content marketing agency, Dakner and his team help online businesses and start-ups with reputation management, influencer marketing, public relations, blog management and content amplification.
He spoke with Reputation.com about how to think about reputation management, social listening and measuring marketing ROI.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Why has reputation management become top of mind for marketing and brand management?
The big picture is about what people think of you and what they say about your brand, and your ability to engage with and affect that conversation. Better reputation management will help your brand with sales, with growing your social trust and increasing your bottom line. That’s especially the case where you have bad press or reviews. It is super important for you to understand that social sentiment and what people say about your brand. The right set of tools helps you do this.
What are your clients surprised by when they begin to do some work in this space?
I find that many brands don’t even know about it. A lot of our clients are not aware of their ability to track brand mentions or social interactions. Often, they don’t use basic tools, such as Google Alerts, because they don’t know which ones to use.
The second thing a lot of brands are blown away by is how many people are talking about them online. They are not aware of, for example, a lot of discussions in forums or articles mentioning their brand, whether those mentions are positive or negative. Clients are often excited by how many good things people are saying, though some do come to us because they want to properly address bad press.
When a client comes to you because they’re getting bad press, what’s your approach?
When people come to us with bad press, there are a few ways we can help the situation or fix it. One solution is to create good assets. You can do PR and highlight good use cases that will combat the bad press. Once you produce enough, those use cases will either rank above the bad press or at least populate some of the search engine results.
Another thing we do is to find good assets that already exist, such as social profiles or previously published good press or product reviews. We push them up on engines by either optimizing the page from an on-page perspective, content optimization, link building or driving some traffic to those assets. That’s another way to start ranking above the bad press.
But beyond articles, if the bad press has to do with poor online reviews or social interactions in forums or social media, you need to be using a tracking tool or monitoring software to respond to these events in real time or close to real time. This gives you the opportunity to respond quickly and reframe the discussion.
Let’s talk a little bit about reviews. It seems the Google algorithms are really paying attention to the number, frequency and recency of reviews.
No one really knows exactly what Google takes into account, but reviews seem to weigh into the algorithm. Sometimes you search for products or a brand, and you see reviews pop up with a star rating.
Part of what we do is work with social influencers to help brands garner positive reviews. Of course, we can’t control the outcome of every review, but we are familiar with which publication, which blog, which influencer would like each product. Our job is not only landing these reviews but also predicting if they will be favorable or not through due diligence.
What’s the difference between customer reviews versus influencer posts? Is there a difference in authenticity?
There’s a huge difference. If a John Doe reviews your product and says it’s very good, that’s nice. But if an influencer says the exact same thing, it can ultimately translate into more sales.
Our job is more about reaching out to influencers, depending on the product, to write a review. We find that those reviews usually rank well in search engines because most of the time these influencers have clout. We also find that once an influencer reviews a product — and let’s assume that the review is good or at least neutral — that lots of people rely on what the influencer says, especially in areas like fashion or tech.
If a company wanted to get going on this marketing work, what are some things they should think about before diving into reputation management?
First of all, they would have to put brand monitoring tools in place, and they would have to start tracking what’s happening with the brand and understanding social sentiment. That’s a must. You’d be surprised, but not too many companies do that.
Step two would be doing some research because listening and monitoring solutions don’t necessarily backtrack to what’s happened in the past. Brands need to look at everything and analyze it. Make a list of how to improve your products and services. Make a list of all the interactions that you had and why they happened. If people said good things, understand why and focus on delivering that message in your sales pipeline or on your website.
Nurture your customer relationships so that customers turn into evangelists or brand ambassadors, and thank them. That’s something any brand can do and should do.
How do you suggest that companies measure ROI on reputation management?
I get a lot of people asking me this exact question, but in different contexts, and it’s difficult to answer.
For example, a lot of people come to us with questions like, “How do I measure the ROI of PR?”
How do you measure the ROI? There’s no tool to measure exactly what an article on Bloomberg or Forbes does for your brand. It could have a huge impact or maybe not. It could cause a massive spike in traffic or not. You can’t really put a finger on it and say, “Okay, this generated 37 percent ROI on whatever I spent for my PR agency.” However, creating good assets that you can use in sales or show to investors is essential to your company’s success.
When Coca-Cola puts an ad on television, you can’t really attribute how much revenue is a direct result of that ad. There’s just no way to know. But you do need to build a brand. You need positive mentions, and you need to show that your brand is getting traction.
It’s the same thing with SEO or reputation management. They’re both extremely important for building a stronger brand, but calculating exact ROI from SEO or reputation management is difficult.
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