A positive brand image can undoubtedly influence a consumer’s decision to buy a product – and for almost any business today, building a positive brand image begins online. That’s why online reputation management services are in demand today.
Basically, the service is all about the online brand’s image. You have to constantly monitor how your company is perceived on the Internet, making sure the strengths are vivid while the weaknesses are concealed from the users’ eyes. Therefore, online reputation management isn’t a one-time event but rather an ongoing task on your agenda.
Below are some things you need to do to build a strong and unshakeable online reputation.
Collecting Feedback From People
Good or bad reviews about a brand ultimately determine the customer’s decision of whether to buy a product or not. For example, if you plan to travel on vacation and want to make sure everything goes smoothly, you will rarely end up choosing a hotel or airline that constantly receives complaints from its customers.
Precisely for this reason, collecting feedback is primarily done to find out problems that are often encountered by users. Solving these issues has the following benefits:
- Your reputation will improve.
- Revenue will start to grow.
- The overall number of satisfied customers will increase and, with it, their positive ratings.
- You will determine what your strengths are and promote them.
To collect feedback and, more importantly, communicate with your audience, you can turn to several communication strategies:
Because so many people use online reviews to decide who they want to do business with, it is very important to manage your brand image and rating on reviews websites like Yelp or TrustPilot.
Almost every industry allows customers and clients to give feedback. For example, Tripadvisor allows hotel guests to provide detailed reviews to help travelers choose a hotel. Google reviews allow people to rate everything from hotels and car dealerships to restaurants and shops. Amazon is a popular destination for viewing retailers in a variety of niches, from fashion to electronics.
Track the sites where your customers or clients most often leave reviews and respond to as many of them as possible. After all, ignoring reviews is a very bad idea. Here are some tips for online review management to improve your reputation:
- Do not ignore criticism.
- Never attack a reviewer.
- Apologize for the bad experience and offer compensation or assistance if you can.
- Always be polite.
- Social NetworksThe next step to building an A + network presence is to establish an effective social media policy, which refers to how a company and its employees communicate online. Here are some key points to keep in mind when creating rules:
- Don’t allow staff members to freely post anything that comes to mind, especially if the content is related to your business.
- Sensitive data should never be shared with the public, including financial, legal, and private customer data.
- A captivating Internet reputation comes down to professionalism. This also applies to posting content on social media, which should improve the brand’s expert image.
- Reserve the right to edit or delete potentially harmful content.
Besides these, you need to be able to work with brand mentions on social networks, as this will help you to build a stronger link with your audience in a native communication channel. Here are some basics to keep in mind when dealing with online reputation management in social media networks:
- Be open to customer criticism and feedback.
- Share key changes or events with your audience.
- Reply quickly to anyone who complains about your brand and encourage sending private messages.
- Ask subscribers for feedback and opinions to publicly show your involvement, empathy, and concern for customers.
- Always be polite and avoid negative reactions to any criticism.
- Always communicate via official accounts, be it the main business account or an employee’s account.
How to Manage Your Online Reputation
Reputation management consists of spreading a good reputation and neglecting unfavorable customer information. You can do this by yourself or hire a reputation manager. Lately, reputation management software that partially solves the problem is getting quite popular as well.
While the software can notify you about the brand mentions or send unified automatic replies, reputation managers conduct comprehensive reports, working with critiques and comments about the client so that the positive outweighs the negative and appears at the top of search results.
For this purpose, they use techniques that include writing positively intoned articles (with the help of cooperative journalists and experts), blogs, and comments on forums and social networks. Once the Internet is saturated with articles glorifying the client, an Internet user looking for objective information will likely stumble upon one of the pages with positive content.
Of course, no company that offers customers online reputation management services will describe their business in those words. Nor will they mention the possibility of, in addition to posting nice things about the client, occasionally posting something negative about their market rivals on the Internet. The latter is only our assumption because – who could control the origin and motivation of all the articles that come to the Internet?
Black hat PR, however, is a risky game, where anyone can suffer from fatal consequences. That’s why, when managing your online reputation, we promote the following white hat approaches:
- Highlighting Positive Events
Companies need to respond to negative reviews from clients, but managing positive reviews is also important. This will not only highlight positive sides of your business but also:
- Encourage LoyaltyYou can encourage loyalty by personally contacting those who have taken the time to write a positive review. A personal touch will make it likely to choose your services over and over again.
- Brand advocates as promotersUsers who write positive reviews are probably brand fans. Not only does your response encourage loyalty, but it also encourages these clients to tell their friends (in person or on social media) about the great experience they had with your company.
- Make a positive impressionBy responding to at least some positive reviews, you can influence potential buyers at a critical stage of the purchasing process. To achieve even greater response efficiency, you should create templates to respond to various reviews.
- Reacting to CriticismNo one is fond of criticism, even if it’s subjective. As a brand, however, you don’t have the luxury of choice here. If you want to build a strong online image and be perceived as a sustainable, caring business for people, you can’t avoid dealing with criticism.
When dealing with negativity, it is important to understand that a company’s further business reputation depends on your reaction. Both negative feedback and reaction to it will be visible not only to you but also to potential customers who come across the discussion on the web. Successful network reputation protection is based on the following rules:
- You need to react quickly to negativity. An untimely response will look suspicious and will only deter more customers. Moreover, by postponing a reply, you let the bad spread around and harm your image.
- You need to be calm and polite when talking to people who spread negative information, even if they are rude or use obscene words. Too many emotional responses will quickly escalate the conflict and only make the situation worse.
- It is worth answering truthfully. If a person talks about a situation that happened or points out a real flaw in the company’s work, you shouldn’t pretend it didn’t happen. A much more ethical way out would be to admit the mistake and promise to change it soon.
- Always provide a solution if the incident did happen. This way, you are showing your concern for customers and their comfort, as well as notifying others that nothing of this kind will happen again.
- Create a standard tone guide to use with your responses and try to stick to it. Implement it in every message with your audience to promote consistency and build a reliable and strong online image.
- Removing Negative Effect of IncidentsA reputation crisis can arise quite suddenly. Usually, it is a direct consequence of poor management in problem-solving. If a client has a complaint, the best we can do is offer a solution that is fast, efficient, and meets the clients’ expectations.
However, what are the risks of a postponed reaction? First of all, you are losing one customer that, most likely, cost you a lot to attract in the first place. Secondly, you promote brand critics instead of brand advocates, which results in worsening online image. As a result, potential customers may prefer competitors over you, which means that all your efforts to build an outstanding IT solution or create a top-notch design are wasted.
If you can’t turn negativity into positivity, it’s worth trying to get rid of the problem. No information can harm your business if it’s unseen. You can try to delete the info from Google yourself or turn to a reputation management company that knows which buttons to press to remove the unwanted post or link.
Don’t Stress Out Over a Poor Online Image – Improve It
A poor online image isn’t a death sentence, even if it already diminished your business performance. In the majority of cases, you don’t need to shut down the operations and rebrand – it’s the last solution for you to consider.
If you are unable to manage your reputation online on your own or don’t know what to start from, you can always turn to a brand reputation management agency. Reputation experts will take the burden off your shoulders: they will conduct audits, determine pain points, and work out the strategies to tackle them.
We at Develux offer you our 100% support. We can not only help you to draft a plan for a brilliant online reputation but also research the market and competitors to look at the matter from a wider perspective.