Anton Koekemoer is a social media strategist, digital marketing consultant and a ORM specialist with an emphasis on Web 2.0 technologies. He specializes in the implementation of strategic brand awareness campaigns, as well as the development of interactive online communities. Anton has also been successful with his mobile marketing strategies, optimizing mobile websites and campaigns. Heavy Chef chatted to him about his areas of focus in the digital space.
Hi Anton. How would you best describe Online Reputation Management?
The internet is public, so everything you post and share online is available for everyone to see. It can only take an update of 140 characters or less to destroy a reputation where everyone can view what was said. If you have a negative reputation online, it can affect your sales and how others view you. Did you know that people might be talking about you or your brand without your participation? If someone posts anything negative about you online, will you be notified of the negative criticism before it turns into a snowball? If you are notified in time, how are you going to respond so that you can minimize the damage?
With the internet growing bigger all the time, and more Web 2.0 channels being launched on a daily basis, it is becoming impossible to manually track everything about your personal or brand name online. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should spend thousands of Rands on a top ORM system to be notified immediately when someone mentions your name online, you should only be aware that everything online is public, and you should have processes in place to protect your reputation.
ORM doesn’t consist of only responding to negative criticism; it is all about how you are viewed online. What is your credibility? What is your physical reputation online? If you build up your reputation online to be positive and professional, then should anyone post a negative comment about you, your positive reputation might outweigh the negative comments. There are many free and paid systems you can use to be notified when you are mentioned online. Some of the free ones include Google Alerts, Social Mention and Twitter search that you can use for monitoring your personal or brand name online.
What key points would you say are essential to follow when dealing with negative information about your brand online?
The most important thing with any negative comment online about you or your brand is to never ignore it. It will not go away and it is public for anyone to see. It is very important that you address the problem immediately before it spreads further. Review the negative comment and if you were wrong, create a solution. Everyone likes a happy ending. If others see that you have taken action on your problems, they will much more likely to see the problem as being fixed, and also what you did to solve the problem.
You specialise in social media marketing as well as digital marketing. Do you think it is possible to do one without the other?
No. Social media and digital marketing works hand in hand and complement each other. Social media marketing cannot survive on its own because it is a part of digital marketing. To explain it more technically, social media is about the medium, and the medium is only a vehicle that amplifies social behaviour. Media is an instrument of communication, like a newspaper or radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication. Social media is a communication vehicle, or instrument, of digital marketing.
In your opinion, what will follow Web 2.0 in the future?
Facebook and Twitter continue to grow with LinkedIn and Google close on their heels. Have you ever heard of the theory, Six degrees of separation? It refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away. Even if you don’t believe in this theory, if you think about it social networking is making this theory a reality. Even though most of the web trends are leaning to a more mobile connected world, I believe social networking is where the web is heading. Not social networking such as Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn, but social networking where everything is connected. Just like what Google is doing by integrating Google plus onto all of their products.
What are the advantages and disadvantages when it comes to working solo?
Working solo is great because you make your own rules and only you are too blame if something fails. It can also bring you down as everything depends on you and you don’t have a pillar to fall back against.
Lastly, if the internet were to crash forever, what would be you last tweet?
I’ve found a way to save the internet #savetheinternet #iwon. And then add a link. Then I’m sure I’ll get thousands of visitors to that blog post.
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