6 min read
Christophe Asselin - Jun 19, 2013

Winning Strategies for a New Era of Online Reputation

Excerpt from a special report from SQLI Group featuring Christophe Asselin, Head of Analysis and Online Reputation at Digimind

With the increase in conversations and discourse on social media, monitoring and analysis of the social web (Social Media Monitoring) have profoundly changed the "classic" phases of the monitoring cycle (qualification, collection, analysis, distribution).

“A dynamic online reputation strategy involves new approaches and, therefore, new software requirements,” states Christophe Asselin, Head of Analysis and Online Reputation at Digimind.

From now on, in order to be effective in terms of online reputation strategy, you need to go beyond distribution and actually engage with internet users. You then need to measure these actions and manage the workflow and targeted exploitation of data. In addition to these new steps, the traditional phases of defining requirements, collection and analysis also need to evolve in order to implement an active online reputation strategy.

1.   Qualification: Who do you want to get to know better on the social web?

Social media obeys the same rules as mainstream media (TV, press, radio) in terms of segmentation: each social network has its own typology of users and its own practices.

In France, Twitter users are mainly 15-24 year-olds and those over the age of 55 (Comscore 2013). If you need to monitor 30-50 year-olds, you should include other social networks.

On this subject, social networks are not limited to Facebook and Twitter. In practice, certain products or topics are only discussed on "good old forums". This means that detailed conversations about medications or politics will mainly be visible on Doctissimo or improvised forums in the comments section of Rue89 or LeFigaro, for example. 

2.   Collection: Are you prepared to include all the threads?

Collection from the social web can be profoundly overwhelming. The data to be managed may amount to several tens of thousands of items. Take Twitter, for example: more than 1 million tweets relating to televised broadcasts are posted in one week in France (the crowning of Miss France alone witnessed 450,000 messages posted on social networks).

Therefore, a collection strategy must be adopted: do you want to include all threads, filter some of them, select the most representative, collect metadata in order to analyze it (number of re-tweets, tones, links, influence, etc.)? In order to do so, you need to equip yourself with tools that can cope with the workload, provide completeness (i.e. include payable API on Twitter), identify the language or detect influencers. Which takes us to analysis. 

3.    What online reputation should be analyzed?

Here too, you need to ask yourself questions that enable analysis to fuel future actions. What reputation are you interested in: the online reputation of threads (the most commonly covered) or "Top Reputation"?

Although both kinds create the digital memory of a brand (or a company or people), they are not addressed in the same way.

  • The online reputation of threads is specifically made up of the opinions and notes of experts, fans and the general public, although the information is widely spread in the form of buzz. The types of media involved and the tone must specifically be analyzed and the influencers (where these exist!) or authors identified.
  • "Top Reputation" leaves more lasting traces that are, above all, more visible to the average internet user. Take, for example, a prospective customer looking for information on a product, a person exploring a brand or seeking to verify information. Monitoring the online reputation of threads, the froth – in a manner of speaking -, is unsuitable for picking up on these concerns: instead, you should monitor the queries entered most frequently using mainstream tools (like Google, an internet gateway with 92% of the market share in France) as well as developments in the positioning of web pages that internet users are likely to encounter during their searches. Therefore, if, when entering queries, internet users systematically associate the words toxic or irritation with your brand of deodorants, there is a problem: rumors, hard facts, a lack of information or smear campaigns? Equally, if queries associated with your company revolve massively around recruitment, this is a cue to beef up your content, presence and strategy on this subject, in order to meet the expectations of internet users. Far from buzz effects, "Top Reputation" scans the expectations and concerns of internet users over the long term.

4.   Engage for precise objectives

Management of your online reputation for action involves being engaged. Being engaged means "talking to, responding to" clients, prospective customers, members of a clearly identified community or not, influencers or not. In order to be effective, engagement must be based on monitoring a wide spectrum of social media, not focusing on the most "straightforward or obvious" (Facebook, Twitter). In effect, an internet user may express himself/herself on Twitter, in a blog comment and on a forum: therefore, you must not separate the tool, which offers multi-media monitoring, from the engagement console. An engagement tool integrated into a monitoring tool favors responsiveness and the legibility of threads.

Why be engaged? You don’t become engaged in dialogue with an internet user by chance. This conversation must clearly form part of a customer relations approach on the social web (Social CRM) with a number of goals that can be pursued collectively.

It is possible to distinguish between acquisition (identification of commercial opportunities: a twitter user seeking to buy a 3D flat screen), retention (an internet user clearly expressing a desire to leave), loyalty (an internet user complaining about not being rewarded) and more simply assistance (a request for help from an internet user). Social CRM allows web data to be exploited for the purpose of selling or consolidating the customer relationship. However, in order to be effective and legible, the information stream must be clearly identified. This is where workflow management plays a part.

5.   Workflow management: pay attention to human organization

Managing online reputation now needs to incorporate workflow management processes and indicators. Take the case of a tweet, which is highly critical of your customer service, having just been published. The Community Manager does not deal with it but identifies it as "pending", assigns it to the Social CRM Manager, files it in the "Customer Relations" file and classifies it as "high priority" and "to be dealt with" and attaches a comment "attention, very popular Twitter user with more than 12,500 followers".

Therefore, in order to manage conversations on the social web, there is a need for an organization and tools similar to those used for "classic" customer relations and in call centers. In addition, for effective workflow monitoring, the tool must enable messages to be classified on the basis of a number of criteria: their nature (request for help, complaint, etc.), their priority, their assignment (with an e-mail sent to the assigned person), their status (to be dealt with, pending, dealt with) with a space for comments.

Workflow management also involves having defined a presence and communication strategy on the various social networks, depending on their core target and the objectives for your organization. Example: Twitter to respond to straightforward urgent requests, a dedicated forum for after-sales service matters, a Facebook page for talking about your new products.

A Digimind-Acticall study actually reveals that each social network has its own specific characteristics. Facebook is used more for entering into a direct relationship with the brand, Twitter is more a channel for accusations (naming and shaming) and "ranting" while Forums are more widely used for seeking information and advice. Once you have segmented your social networks, it is advisable to create the appropriate social accounts for responding to each target audience and issue. Example: a Twitter Corporate account, a Twitter_Myproduct1 account and a Twitter_After-Sales-Service account. The same applies to Facebook, blogs and forums.

All these accounts must be accessible via a simple mouse click on the engagement console and the task allocation menu.

This management of conversation threads, which appears relatively straightforward at first glance, is actually quite complex to establish as its success depends specifically on well thought-out human organization. There is therefore a need to control interactions between the various parties involved in the Social CRM chain, as well as to benefit from awareness on the part of managers (beyond just "digital" managers) of the need to manage conversations between internet users. There is not yet a systematic approach: a study reveals that 70% of Facebook fans are still ignored by companies (SocialBakers 2012). We are still far from workflow management, as simply incorporating the internet user into the company’s ecosystem is not yet effective.

In short, the online reputation strategy, in its approach, organization and tools, must comply with the LAWEM concept: Listen, Analyze, Workflow, Engage & Measure

To see the full report, please visit:



Written by Christophe Asselin

Christophe est Senior Insights & Content Specialist @ Digimind. Fan du web depuis Compuserve, Lycos, Netscape, Yahoo!, Altavista, Ecila et les modems 28k, de l'e-réputation depuis 2007, il aime discuter et écrire sur la veille et le social listening, les internets, les marques, les usages, styles de vie et les bonnes pratiques.