Everyone knows business is driven by customers. But do you know what ultimately drives customers? No matter you are a big brand or run a small company, it is critical to understand what the public says about you.
When people like you, they listen to you, but when they trust you, they will do business with you. Trust is the driving force that connects people with a brand. And the secret to building trust with people is to establish a good online brand reputation.
But online brand reputation isn't built by accident. It comes from comments, reviews, and conversations between customers. You need to ensure that your brand is presented in the right way. A strong online reputation management strategy can make a big difference. By paying close attention to what people are talking about, you can enhance your brand reputation on the Internet.
In this blog post, eSearch Logix will tell you 5 Essential Online Reputation Management Strategies That Will Boost Your Brand.
As we manage several profiles of global companies, we know where brands should focus deeply and how to handle the public response that protects their brand reputation.
Here are the 5 Essential Online Reputation Management Strategies:
But before we dive into it, first understand...
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online Reputation management (ORM) is a combination of marketing, legal, public relations, and search engine optimization strategies to take control of the online conversation.
The core purpose of ORM is to control and improve how your brand is perceived by others, and to ensure people find the right materials or content when they look for you on the Internet. And it has become a highly important part of any company's marketing strategy.
It is genuinely difficult for companies to protect their own image online. Social media allows anyone to say almost anything about anyone. It is easy to post or say on the Internet but removing negative or unwanted posts from the Internet is extremely difficult.
Sometimes it feels like you can't do much about it. Therefore, companies need a dedicated approach to handle all these things, and that is ORM.
We all are living in a world where people's perception is influenced by the Internet. If you know how to present yourself on digital platforms, you won the game. That is the whole point of creating this post to guide you on how to boost your online reputation.
There are two major keys to Online Reputation Management:
- Monitor: Know what customers, competitors, and influencers say about your brand.
- Respond: Take actions to develop a positive brand image, and improve what people say about your company, product, or service.
Is your marketing team focusing on both of these? There is a great chance, not.
So, gear up now and implement these ORM strategies in your marketing plans.
Here we go!
Step 1: Monitor Your Brand Reputation
The first step is most important. Without it, you actually can't do the rest. The success of any ORM strategy depends on how much you are aware of what people say about you, and then how you respond.
So the first step is to listen, or monitor.
What you need to monitor depends on where your brand is present. Do people talk about you on social media channels, on forums, or on review sites like Amazon or TripAdvisor? Do you even know where exactly?
For example, if you are a hotel or restaurant, you are required to monitor websites where people share their feedback or reviews like Google Map, TripAdvisor, etc.
If you sell physical products, you need to keep your eyes open on eCommerce websites such as Amazon, eBay, or other online retailers. Modern customers heavily rely on internet reviews before buying a product. In fact, 69% of shoppers read reviews before buying anything online.
Besides this, you also need to pay attention to blogs. There are numerous (thousands, even millions) bloggers who write and publish information about a product or service for online readers. Yes, you can't reach all of them. So find out the blogs which have a good number of readers and keep tracking these further.
But wait, you can't sit relax only looking at reviews. What about the daily social media conversations? To genuinely manage your online reputation, you have to focus on these too.
We hope one thing is clear to you: people talk about your brand all over the internet, all the time. And trying to monitor all these online conversations on your own is a losing battle. It means you need support.
How to monitor your brand reputation?
Since it takes an enormous time, effort, and strategy to scan every social media platform, forum, blog, and review site manually, you should better collaborate with the Best Online Reputation Management Company which dedicatedly works in this field. These companies use tools and smart techniques that make the monitoring process easy.
Step 2: Prepare a Response Plan
Planning is considered the best way to handle unexpected or critical situations. Internet is a place where anything can appear anytime and create discussions among people. If someone posted a negative review about a product, you know it doesn't take much time for people to make wrong perceptions.
That is why it becomes essential for companies to have a pre-planned ORM strategy to encounter unexpected situations.
You can sit relax if people are talking good about your brand, but if they are talking negatively regarding your products, services or company's name, then you have to respond quickly, otherwise, till the time you respond to people's complaints, the whole discussion would have damaged the level of your brand reputation.
Hence, prepare a response plan to not only answer negative reviews, comments but also to timely appreciate positive reviews to show how proactively you interact with people.
To plan it, consider the following:
- Who will monitor comments and reviews?
- Who will decide whether new comments require a response?
- Who will fix what position your company should take about potential issues or questions?
- Who will deliver the response?
If your business is a one-man band, of course, you can do it alone. But if you have a large business organization or company, you definitely need dedicated support for this purpose.
Who will monitor comments and reviews?
The person who will monitor all these things will be likely from your marketing or customer service departments- whoever is in the charge of your social media accounts. As they are already watching your social media channels, it makes sense to give them rights to monitor.
Who will decide whether new comments require a response?
It is not complicated. In most responses, your aim is to respond to comments and reviews in a polite manner. If the comment is good, your response would be retweet or share. If not, you need to do something that changes people's minds.
But it does not end here.
Sometimes there are tough questions or harsh criticism for which your team is not prepared. In this case, you have to set expectations for the types of comments to which your team is eligible for free to respond, and those which require advice from management.
Who will fix what position your company should take about potential issues or questions?
If you’re a frontline person isn't sure what to do, they need to know whom to go to. It could be their reporting manager, someone in communication, or even the owner of the business.
It is important that this person is authorized or has the freedom to speak on behalf of the company. While responding to harsh criticism, this person should understand the vision, voice, and tone of your brand. Fix who will take responsibility if such a situation arises.
Who will deliver the response?
There are many cases where people or customers want to directly want to talk to the company's representative. And this isn't a great task as almost every company has a dedicated customer support to communicate directly with people.
So just ensure you have got a customer support team already and provide real-time solutions if situations demand.
Now, time for the real action...
Step 3: Handle Negative Comments Softly
Negative comments have a greater impact on people's minds than positive ones. You can ignore many positive reviews but avoiding a single negative comment may lead to a big adverse effect on your company's image.
However, negative comments are not always harsh, sometimes they only need a quick solution or updated information to resolve their issue.
Complaining customers give you chance to make them happy, that's all. Just give them what they need and their perception about your service will change instantly.
You might not believe it but according to a report from Reputology, 80% of unhappy customers are won by the right response.
So what is the right approach?
Be polite, professional, and friendly.
Try to get to the core of the issue and make people feel that you are listening to them. Customers are more likely to feel satisfied or happy when they get their response from a human being, not from a robot.
If you have patience and work to actually help, these interactions can give you chance to boost your brand reputation.
Speed of response
How quickly you respond is one of the major factors in recovering from a harsh review. If you show eagerness to help people who faced a bad experience with your any service or product, they are much likely to change their opinion.
And it makes sense really, because oftentimes, the first comment is made out of frustration or anger. Here you have to show your enthusiasm people and listen to their feedback or review.
Consider complaints as a chance
Think for a while, why ultimately do people complain or say something negative? They simply want to share their issue. These complaints or negative feedback shows some loopholes in your service or company behavior that is why it should be taken as a lesson.
Take an example of The Grove, a shopping center in Los Angeles.
They got to know about various complaints that their parking lot was too small. To solve this issue, they partnered with Uber and offered free rides to home for anyone who spends over a certain dollar amount.
If requires, continue the conversation in private
It is not always a good idea to hold a discussion in public with a person who is not happy with your company. If the complaint is too severe, or you think the question is highly sensitive that can drastically affect your brand reputation on the Internet, it would be better to bring that discussion in private.
You can ask for a personal email address or phone number to continue the discussion smoothly and privately.
No one likes to receive a negative review. But it doesn't mean negative comments are only meant to ruin your reputation. With the right approach, you can improve your products or services and leave a good taste in people's mind.
Step 4: Build on the Positive Reviews
It's good not to ignore bad comments, at the same time, you should not be lazy to take maximum advantage of positives. These are the posts that actually boost your brand. By appreciating and rewarding customers for saying good things you will be able to encourage others to do give positive feedback to your company.
And it is easy to manage as well. You can simply thank people for their good reviews and ask them to share your content or response with their networks.
But how to continue generating more positive reviews?
Actively manage your online profiles
Do you know the “90/9/1” rule? According to this rule, only 1% of social media users create content, and 9% comment or interact with that content. But 90% of visitors (a massive population) simply read a review and then leave.
The same rule applies to review websites, forums, and of course to blogs.
The 90% social media users are “lurkers,” and for this figure, you need to pay attention if you want to build protect your reputation. Instead of depending on that 1% for new reviews, take active control of your online profiles like review pages and social media channels.
Add images (to encourage people from your community), share valuable content, and make your brand look more appealing to fresh visitors who just found your company on Google.
No matter how negative or bad your recent reviews were or are, most people are just surfing the Internet and they will consider the overall picture while making their decision.
Ask for feedback
If you provide good service or product to people, they will love to do word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. When you have delivered a good service, it gives you confidence to ask customers to share positive feedback about your services. And when you approach them personally, they feel it special and become interested to say good, even great reviews on the Internet.
Step 5: Follow Through and Measure Your Results
The final step is to evaluate what you are doing.
Did you offer a customer some discount as an apology for bad service?
Did you promise something to a customer and delaying in delivery?
If so, things will get really bad if customer follows up their first bad review with a story about how your company lied to them.
But it is not a big issue to deal with. Indeed, this is an opportunity to make a real change in your company. For this, you need to-
Measure your progress
You are investing in ORM because you want to protect it, or more likely you want to boost it. So, keep track of whether your strategy is working efficiently.
If you have collaborated with an ORM company which uses a monitoring tool, it can be tremendously simple. Review sites come with scores, and you can watch these growing as you provide value to your community.
The formula is simple; the number of "Happy Feedback" should grow faster than "Angry Comments".
Talking on the Internet is a routine business of people. And paying attention to what people are talking about will protect your business.
It takes effort to build your reputation. You have to invest some time, get the right tools and techniques and plan out a strategy to ensure your brand is being presented effectively online.
Neglecting the importance of your online reputation may cost you a lot in terms of losing potential customers and money. Therefore, it is a better decision to hire a professional company for this purpose who can not only protect but also enhance your brand reputation.
And eSearch Logix provides premium ORM services that improve your brand reputation across all platforms on the Internet.
If you find this post helpful share your thoughts in the below comment box or schedule a free consultation and discuss your project.