A positive brand image can influence a consumer’s decision to purchase a product. For almost all businesses, a brand image is partially created online, either by social media or online review sites. A negative online review can mean a loss of business. The good news is that there are several tools you can employ to make sure you are protecting your brand.
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is the monitoring of how your business is viewed by consumers. This involves protecting your brand’s reputation online on review sites, social media, and Google. One bad review or comment is all it takes to damage your business’s positive reputation. Recovery is possible through positive marketing and promotion. Many large firms have dedicated social media teams that handle the engagement as well as the management of the comments.
Companies have strategized about how they will be viewed by users because it impacts their reputation and brand. The right strategy will help your business take control of its online reputation. Smaller organizations do not have the budget for a dedicated team, however, these tips will help you manage your reputation online.
- Focus on Your Customers. As a business, you should always be aware of what your customers are saying about you. Some companies make the mistake of thinking they know what their customers want but they do not actually listen to them. You cannot expect to build a positive online reputation if you are not satisfying your customers so focus on what they want to avoid future issues down the road.
- Encourage Online Reviews. Feedback is valuable in determining what your customers want. You should encourage online reviews because they will give you an idea of what your online reputation is. And, if there is a repeating issue among your customers, you can fix it before it becomes a major problem for your brand reputation. Make sure they are authentic because paying for a positive review can have serious consequences.
- React Quickly and Engage. Putting up a post and then ignoring reactions to it is a big mistake in managing your online presence. Being proactive with any issues can help them from escalating. If you do not respond to questions and comments quickly, you could damage your positive reputation. Keep reciprocation in mind when engaging with your audience.
- Use Reputation Management Software. Small businesses without a PR team should use software to help keep track of what is being said about your brand online. The use of a software system can mitigate negative reviews by responding to customers online. Software like Yext lets you fix any inconsistent business information and respond to authentic customer reviews.
- Employ Social Media Monitoring. Many consumers use social media as a means to check out a company. Negative comments can ruin a company’s reputation. Some of tools available to help monitor social media, for example Brandwatch and Meltwater Buzz.
- Hire a Professional. One internet troll can single-handedly ruin the reputation of a business with a defamatory post. If it goes viral or starts trending on Twitter, there could be a call for boycotts and backlash. When this occurs, the best plan is to hire a professional reputation management firm that can create a plan for dealing with the crisis. If it is a legitimate complaint, the professional can create a response to address the issue. If it is an internet troll making trouble, then the reputation management firm can get the content removed or take legal action.
- Remove a Website if Necessary. It is rare, but sometimes a company needs to have a website taken off the internet for defamation, brand abuse or for abuse of trademarks or copyrights. This is a process however may be necessary for businesses that find their businesses are being attacked.
Monitoring your online reputation should be a top priority when creating your online marketing strategy as the number of consumers that use the internet for product and service information continues to increase. A process to manage and repair your brand when necessary is crucial to the online success of your business.