Creating online credibility through your online relationships

Social is a large part of being online, and the biggest reason for this is that people love seeing and interacting with other people and organisations they know and enjoy. It allows everyone to see what’s going on and to get involved.

Organisations across the world, have embraced this idea and used it to their advantage, interacting with people in a personal way.

This transparency allows for vulnerabilities, but this is very much a minority in terms of interactions which take place and the value added by allowing this transparency. What should keep organisations strong through this is their own understanding of processes and performance they currently run with. Knowing how to add value and how to measure it are key to any success, be it online or offline.

Allowing conversations to flow to and from businesses, creates value through the relationships developed, understanding and using the data is key.

I say this because each organisation is different and so are the reasons for them being online. However, one thing stays the same: their desire to interact and build relationships, even if they are unsure what to do with them. I have spoke about this before in terms of driving traffic back to brands by using the social networks more as connectors. There is just too much distractions for brands to use them as a destination for their stories – they are great for starting the buzz, but should always push back towards their own website.

A company which does this extremely well is bookmakers BetFred who has a strong online presence, using it to interact with it’s community and address any technical errors people encounter along the way. In an industry where people can win and lose money in an instant, some would see it as a bold move to be addressing all their issues in public. But I would say it is absolutely vital, taking control and displaying its personality for people to see and communicate with.

In the majority of cases it works wonders for the brand, showing people they have a voice for their sporting opinions and a platform to communicate issues and get them resolved. They do not respond to negativity, which is something I agree with, as that would engage would fuel for further negative interactions. This is represented in their strong Reputation Index score (105.66), which is calculated using the number of active relationships and performance towards them.

This type of transparency not only exposes the credibility of the brand but also allows their community to show off it’s personality, growing influencers and creating credibility in peoples opinions.

I think we still need to understand the power of our voice as individuals as we are no longer unseen by organisations. Everything we say and do while interacting online creates a profile, which becomes our online identity.

This means everything we do online should be a true reflection of ourselves, because one day it will be used to decide a lot more for us, and that goes for both organisations and individuals.

This all starts by deciding what it is you want to achieve. It is a place to air your views, maybe a place to interact and find things, or both, deciding what it is you want will help develop the foundations of a strong online presence.

Employers look online, you look online for employers, customer service flows online, and opinions are broadcast online, and content is read and ideas are formed. Digital is very much a part of each and everyone of us so understanding our own web presence will decide our future selves.

James Curran is managing director of Yuftee.com, ‘tracking the relationships you build online’.

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