When you think of a reputation, it can take you back to high-school. The endless pursuit of trying to please everyone by looking, acting, thinking and speaking a certain way, all so that you can be accepted and ultimately, fit in. For brands and businesses, it can feel a lot like going back to high school too. Asking questions like: What should my brand post on social media? How is my audience reacting to my post? Do they like what they see? How can I improve my google ranking?
It’s so important for a brand to understand and be aware of their online reputation. It’s the belief and opinions held by your customer and audience that will impact your brands' credibility and visibility on digital platforms. In a world where 3.2 billion people are social media users, a business must have a presence online to target potential customers more eﬃciently and eﬀectively.
Source: International Telecommunication Union
This is where managing your e-reputation comes into play. What your brand says or doesn’t say online has an important consequence. A bad joke can easily dampen your reputation and result in the loss of loyal customers and advocates. Always keep in mind that what you say on the internet stays there forever and can be shared at incredible speed. It is important to be proactive, whether it is to mitigate negative feedback or praise positive reviews.
So do you think your e-reputation could use improvement? Here are 3 easy steps to discover what is being said and how to effectively manage your e-reputation.
1. Inform yourself
“ Your brand isn't what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is”
Chris Anderson is right. How you perceive your brand is not the relevant factor rather, how your customers and audience perceive your brand. Good online reputation management starts with research. Ensure you do a thorough search on all search engines, social media platforms and review sites.
Not finding much? You can share surveys with your existing customer database and in relevant places to know what people think. This will bring you even more insights, whether they are positive or negative, and will give your team enough qualitative data to put in place an eﬃcient online strategy.
2. Online reputation management (ORM)
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and ﬁve minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things diﬀerently.”
- Warren Buﬀett
ORM is all about taking control of the conversation, being an active influencer of your brands' image and reputation on platforms where you can be seen. It’s a widely adopted strategy to ensure a brand regains control of their image rather than blindly allowing others to determine how you are perceived. You can act in two diﬀerent ways with your ORM: Proactively or reactively.
It’s important to always remain proactive and take control of what is being spread. Creating a positive image for your brand by distributing content, interacting and engaging with your potential and current customers will ensure that the material which matters is not overwhelmed by rumours. While you can influence your brands' image, there may be periods of bad buzz, this is when you need to be reactive and control allegations. The key to success however is to remain proactive, having control of what can be seen will enable you to not only improve your reputation but ride the storm quicker in any negative situations.
Source: Sameer Somal
Here are 3 easy and effective ways to get started with managing your online reputation.
#1 Be responsive and act promptly
Whether you receive customer feedback on social platforms, emails or review sites, the only way to get ahead and differentiate your business is by being responsive. In a world where your competitors are using similar tactics targeted to the same audience; your competitive edge is your agility. Your customers have taken the time to mention your brand in a post, even if to just tag your newest seasonal product; this can be used to your advantage. Share everything positive!
And well, for negative feedback, it is critical to be prompt. If the source is public, try and move the conversation offline to a more private and personal setting. 89% of people researching your business will read your response to a bad review. And, 7 out of 10 consumers change their opinion about a brand after a company has replied to a review. The numbers speak for themselves. It’s not all about damage control, it’s more important to show personality and care.
Source: Bright Local
#2 Build your influence on your owned media
It’s more than likely that your brand has a blog and a few social media accounts. Take advantage and create content that shares the personality and values of your brand. Your owned media is the place to set the tone, to establish your expertise and reinforce your brands' credibility. Engaging content is key, nobody wants to read the constant sales pitch, instead, inform your audience with quality content.
Your social platforms are an opportunity to build a community of advocates. Rather than posting for the sake of it, be strategic with your content. Engaging content that elicits shares, likes and comments is key. Create campaigns around giveaways and competitions, ask your audience what they want to see more of in polls.
#3 Encourage online reviews and reward behaviour
Plain and simple – reviews are a great way to get discovered by new customers, understand the motivating factors of your consumers and continuously improve your customer service. Platforms like Mailchimp make it easy and convenient to gather reviews by creating automated workflows and even monitor conversations in the same platform. If you want to encourage responses, put a carrot on a stick. Create a loyalty program that rewards customers for advocacy.
3. Keeping track of what happens
“Reputation building does not suppress negative information but focuses on building long-term value in a positive reputation”
- Hersh Davis – Nitzberg
An ORM strategy is not just a once in a while or one-time fix; it needs continuous monitoring. So, a long term strategy is required to monitor what is being said about your brand and products. Fortunately, there are several services available that assist with gathering all the buzz and displaying it in an easy to digest way.
Here are the Top 3 that we recommend:
An all-in-one platform that monitors and manages your reviews on all major platforms. It allows any business to organise all feedback in one platform and provides helpful information to respond and manage your customer feedback.
Notifications for new reviews
Helpful metrics and analytics
Workflows for review follow-ups
Brandwatch easily helps you keep track of your performance, but even better, it notiﬁes you when you receive an important mention and advises you on how to answer in the best possible way.
If you are just getting started and on a tight budget, Google Alerts is a fantastic option. Simple to set up; alerts will be sent directly to your email with notifications every time a new mention of a brand is created online.
Easy to setup
Take back control and make your e-reputation a priority. With a long–term approach, your brands' health and image will see a positive result, both with your top and bottom line. Just like any relationship, we connect with individuals because their character and personality resonates with our own. Establishing a reason for likability, creating engaging content and appraising your customers will surely work in your favour.
Don’t let others determine your e-reputation. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help get you back in the spotlight (for all the right reasons!).