Brands are like people–they have their own personality, characteristics, attributes, and of course, reputation. If you display incompetency in maintaining your brand’s image, it can cost you millions. After all, in today’s “impressions matter” world, it is essential to ferociously protect your brand’s image and prevent the entity from taking hits as much as possible.
In this blog, we will deep dive into understanding why reputation management should be every brand’s priority if they want to keep enjoying the loyalty of a committed customer base. Let’s jump right in.
What is Online Reputation Management?
First things first, let’s understand what we mean by online reputation management. Online reputation management, as the name suggests, refers to the process of:
- Addressing any negative or false comments that are posted online related to your brand
- Proactively monitoring mentions of your brand on websites and social media
- Responding to positive comments that customers post and driving a two-way communication in real-time
- Catering to potentially damaging content that can lower the brand’s image
As is the case with Public Relations, the end goal of online reputation management is to portray the brand in a good light and maintain its ‘public image’ at all costs. It is an internal process by the brand, which is more reactive in nature. The reputation management team works round-the-clock to protect the business image and paint it positively in the customer’s eyes. The real question then becomes: Why is reputation management important?
Why is Reputation Management Important?
Here are some compelling reasons:
- Improved search engine ranking: Online reviews have a direct impact on your SEO. If you want to boost your SEO visibility, you need to keep track of your online reviews. Since customers place a lot of importance on online reviews, search engines like Google view your SEO efforts and online reviews in conjunction.
- Increased user trust and credibility: Online reputation management is about understanding how customers view your brand and taking proactive measures to correct it (in the case of negative feedback). If your brand makes an effort to go the extra mile and cater to unhappy customers, this is bound to leave a positive impression in the customer’s mind and build a positive brand image. In the long run, your brand will benefit from improved customer trust and loyalty.
- Helps maintain transparency: It’s no secret that customers applaud brands that are able to maintain a transparent and authentic image. More and more customers want to drive organic interactions with end-users. They want to interact with brands instantly and in a personalized capacity. This is where reputation management can play an important role.
Top-4 Online Reputation Management Strategies to Use
- Empathy and promptness are key: When addressing any kind of customer comment, be it on social media or any other channel, answering queries with proactiveness and empathy is important. Let’s assume that a customer has posted a negative review or given your brand a low star rating. Instead of hiding in the bushes, your brand should leverage this window of opportunity to understand what went wrong and strategize ways to course correct it.
To that end, the first step is addressing customer queries with promptness to prevent customers from getting frustrated further. Plus, you should convey to the customers that your brand is working towards solving their pain points. Demonstrating empathy can go a long way in gaining user trust and confidence in the brand.
- Don’t ignore the negative reviews: One of the biggest mistakes brands make is ignoring negative feedback/reviews in the hope that it won’t gather their customer base’s attention. The converse is true. In today’s social media age, digitally savvy customers are quick to support disgruntled customers.
If you don’t want a negative viral campaign, damaging your brand’s reputation, respond to negative comments with great fervor and authenticity. Let the user know that you’re genuinely apologetic about the bad experience and provide clear directions on the next steps. The idea is to address customer issues with confidence, patience, and unwavering will.
- Own up to your mistakes: It is one thing to say “we are looking into the problem,” and whole another ballgame altogether when you say “we are genuinely sorry for the issue created and would like to do [xyz] to help speed up the resolution process.” The latter response demonstrates to the customer the brand’s will to own up to the mistake.
This automatically makes the brand more ‘human’ and leaves a positive image in the customer’s eyes. You’ll be surprised to know that by showing genuine remorse, you can diffuse a tricky situation and help customers come on board voluntarily, despite a poor user experience. All in all, a direct, heartfelt apology goes a long way.
- Always keep tracking your brand’s search results: Social media and other digital channels can turn out to be an endless maze. In this chaotic space, your brand’s mentions and/or comments can easily get lost, costing you your reputation. This is why brands should invest in robust social media listening tools that alert the brand about posts, mentions, comments, tags, etc., immediately.
You can also leverage SEO to your advantage to minimize the visibility of poor feedback and other forms of negative content. As a pro tip, go into the incognito mode to understand how your brand is faring on search engine pages. This will allow you to literally see what your customers see about the brand. Additionally, you can motivate your existing customers to post positive reviews about your website on ranking websites.
If you’re looking to employ the services of a digital marketing agency that can help you to understand how your business is performing online and build your reputation online, get in touch with us at Outrageous Digital. We can guide you in creating an ever-expanding customer base while building a rock-solid reputation online.