The change in emphasis in algorithms to start looking at the trust and authority factors have been on the horizon for a while. Back in June I talked about how customer comments could effect your ranking and in November how Search Wiki could be the start of customers ‘voting’ for your site.
This is all fair and square but how do you actually start understanding how to implement this kind of strategy?
- Set up Google alerts on keywords associated with your products and services
- Start understanding who are the main influencers talking in the sites
- Where are a lot of the conversations happening – which sites and which forums?
- Look at your target audience and research the main sites that they get involved in
Once you have established which sites and who the movers and shakers are, you can then start planning the next stage:
- Set up an account – make sure it’s a real person, real email address. Not a company account – as that’s not authentic, nor real. Look at your business, and understand who manages a lot of the customer queries now, as it should potentially be the people with the best product knowledge who understand how to manage customers
- Once set up, start reading the posts and discussions on a frequent basis
- Where appropriate, offer information and suggestions (think about offline customer service and how you would approach it)
- Integrate these sites into your over customer communication strategy, so you openly encourage discussion with your customers. So look at how you can promote this on your site, in your email correspondence, and any direct mail.
- Integrate this with your offline PR strategy – to get links from the more main stream sites
- Ensure you have the metrics in place to measure success of the campaign. Is is volume of traffic to the website, number of mentions of the brand name (buzz marketing) or something else. Have a read of Measurement Camp for more details
Building trust and becoming an authority is not a quick win strategy, it something that grows over time. So when thinking about ROI (as that’s what everyone talks about!) put tangible measures on the campaign, so the powers that be can see results for the resources they have allocated to it.
So tell me how you have gone about approaching a building the trust and recognition around your brand. What were the main challenges?