6 Best Practices to Help You Get Your Online Reputation Management Strategy Right
“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, investor and philanthropist
What do you see when you Google your business?
Hopefully, it's all good. Because any negative reviews or bad press could have a bigger impact than you realize.
How big? A staggering 90 percent of consumers check out online reviews before visiting a brand, and 84 percent trust these as much as personal recommendations.
Stats like this prove no business can afford to underestimate the value of a good online reputation management strategy. And here are six best practices to help you get yours right.
1. Track the conversation to stay on top of feedback
Monitoring what people say about you online — across social media and review sites — is fundamental for any effective online reputation strategy. 45 percent of consumers have found a reason to avoid a business during an online search, so if there’s something toxic out there, you need to know about it.
Set up alerts for any mention of your brand to receive up-to-the-minute updates whenever new reviews or critical posts go live. Respond to the review or post — but only in a calm, rational, professional way. Share your side of the story and invite those responsible to get in touch for a deeper discussion. Always thank reviewers for taking the time to post their views, too.
This can create a balanced view of your business and help put negative feedback in context. Existing and prospective customers may appreciate your mature response, prompting them to do more research before deciding whether to choose a different brand.
2. Cultivate a positive image
Create a wealth of quality, high-value content across different sites. Post:
Connecting your company to lots of quality content will help it look better: the aim is to position your business as a knowledgeable, experienced and prolific player in the market.
And if you can create enough quality content and positive stories about your brand, pages carrying negative views may be pushed further down the results over time.
3. Know Your Audience
Interacting with followers on social media, forums and comments sections is a must. But it’s vital to invest time into defining and understanding the audience first.
Why? So you don’t misread context or appear unprofessional by adopting a lighthearted approach when it’s inappropriate.
Using the right tone can help engage readers more deeply and demonstrate your brand’s commitment to building relationships with consumers. Never post any rude or aggressive comments, and avoid belittling competing (or even non-competing) brands.
All interactions should be considered carefully and contribute to maintaining a positive reputation.
4. Be consistent with your brand voicing
Your company should be recognizable across different platforms and content types. Videos, blog posts, articles, social media posts, podcasts — anything and everything must be consistent.
Consumers need to feel they’re speaking to the same business over email as they are on Facebook. Customers may feel confused and alienated If they’re addressed politely through one but not another. Such inconsistency can turn them off your brand in the long run.
Creating buyer personas helps achieve consistency and authenticity, by identifying the type of people you’re looking to convert. You can use this information to establish the right voice — i may evolve over time, but it should do so consistently.
5. Learn, Adapt and Grow
Your business isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have to be. But it does need to be accountable and flexible when issues surface.
We’ve already established that responding to good and bad feedback alike is key. But it shouldn’t just be for show. Actually listen to consumers, hear what they have to say and understand how their input can help your brand improve.
For example, if a buyer complains about slow delivery and poor packaging, think about how that can change. After all, people want the goods they’ve paid for in a reasonable time and expect them to arrive in good condition. Issues in either area suggest your current order fulfilment process demands attention.
In this case, paying attention to criticism creates a valuable opportunity to take your business to the next level and deliver a stronger customer experience. Explain this in your response to the individual(s) voicing their frustrations and outline which changes you’re making to ensure the same mistakes don’t happen again.
This makes customers feel more valued and shows that you’re willing to adapt to be at your best.
6. Update Brand Information and Contact Details Regularly
Stay on top of your business’s information and contact details to ensure credibility. Customers who try to reach out to you but discover your email address no longer exists or the phone number on your site has been disconnected will wonder how legitimate you are.
The same is true of your social media accounts, too. Don’t leave your presence on Facebook, Twitter and other networks to fade. Questions and criticisms with no response from your business suggest your brand places no value in engaging with followers.
50 percent of consumers believe companies should be contactable 24/7. This is tough (if not impossible) for startups with skeleton crews, but virtual assistants, comprehensive FAQs and how-to videos can all offer customer support without real staff input.
Follow these six tips to build and maintain an effective online reputation management strategy. Keeping customers satisfied and positioning your brand as one that puts customers first is critical to competing in a crowded marketplace.
Want to work with a professional team of experts for best results? Get in touch with Reputation Mart to learn how we can take your online reputation to the next level right now.
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