You Don't Have To Be A Big Corporation To Start with Online Reputation Management
Why is a solid online business reputation more important than ever?
Because the Internet has empowered consumers.
Anyone with an internet connection can write reviews that countless potential customers may see before they choose to do business with your company.
They can post unflattering videos about your products on YouTube. Or construct a critique of your services on their personal blog. Or share their own negative experience with your company on social media and bring your inferior customer experience to much wider attention.
And the fallout could be devastating.
More than 60 percent of people consider online search the most trusted source of information related to businesses. Two negative reviews on the first results page will cost a company 44 percent of customers — and this rises to more than 59 percent with three negative articles.
So, it’s not just global corporations serving millions of consumers that need to worry about their online reputation. Even the smallest company could be affected by poor reviews or articles.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management is the practice of cultivating a positive perception of your business on the Internet through various techniques.
A huge corporation may implement an online reputation management strategy to mitigate the negative impact of, say, a viral video that shows an executive excessively berating an entry-level employee for the most minor of reasons.
The brand may amend their current content marketing strategy to push their charity campaigns or their dedication to creating a more comfortable working environment for employees at all levels. This might encompass blog posts, videos, social media posts, interviews at popular news sites, and more.
Over time, this could help to improve the public’s view of the corporation — and win back customers.
How can this help small businesses?
Encourage consumers to focus on the positives
One of the chief benefits of a well-planned, well-executed online reputation management strategy is that consumers will be presented with more positive results when they search for your company.
This isn’t to say that pages carrying negative information on your brand will vanish. But prospective and existing customers will get to see the best of your business, not the worst.
Gain a competitive edge and set your business apart
Let’s say your company launches a new charity campaign to help feed disadvantaged children. This would be a fantastic way to improve lives, and could remind people that your business is operated by a team of real people with a real concern for others.
Consumers may feel inspired to purchase your products/services over a competitor’s, and a couple of bad reviews published a year earlier might not seem so important in comparison.
Build trust with new customers
More than 90 percent of people read online reviews regularly, and 84 percent trust them as much as a personal recommendation.
A customer who comes looking for insights into your business could try a competitor if they encounter several negative reviews. But an effective online reputation management strategy will help to bring more positive reviews and coverage higher up the first results page.
This means you could build trust with new customers more quickly and easily.
How can you start with online reputation management?
Don’t have the same budget for online reputation management as Apple, Microsoft, or Facebook?
Don’t worry — you don’t need to.
Small- and medium-sized businesses can get their strategy off to a great start with these techniques:
Be more active on social media
Social media is a fantastic resource for brand research. Users can discover:
They can learn a lot about your business within a few moments, especially if people have written reviews (such as on Facebook).
You need to be as active on social media as you can. Post valuable content that helps customers get more out of your products or services, or that aligns with your brand values.
Respond to customers fast to show that you value their interest and aim to deliver a quality experience. And definitelydon’t argue with users criticising your brand. Stay professional and remember that others can see what you write in public posts.
Start publishing blog posts regularly
Writing blog posts multiple times per week will provide search engines with fresh content to index and help to improve your rankings when you use quality keywords.
Well-written, valuable posts can demonstrate thought leadership, earn trust, generate backlinks, and increase the likelihood of customers finding positive results when they search for you.
Claim your business on local review sites
Claim your business on Yelp, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and other local review sites to stay aware of new mentions.
This reduces the risk of negative reviews building up and enables you to write prompt responses that may contextualize poor feedback.
Ask customers to leave reviews
Invite customers to leave reviews following a transaction, either through the order confirmation screen or an automated email. Be polite and non-intrusive. Explain that an honest review will help your brand grow, whether it’s good or bad.
You and your team should feel motivated to keep delivering the best possible customer experience when you’re inviting every single one to publish public feedback.
Own mistakes and offer apologies
Never blame customers outright for a negative experience. Apologize sincerely that they were disappointed with your products or service.
It’s important that you admit to mistakes that cause issues, whether a software glitch delays shipping or a lack of training means employees make recurrent errors. Address how your business plans to avoid these problems in the future, offer discounts or freebies to those affected, and move on.
Work with professionals
Working with experts is the simplest way to implement an effective online reputation management. The right team will understand your business, identify the challenges you face, and leverage various techniques to improve your online reputation.
Want to discuss your needs with Reputation Mart’s specialists? Get in touch now!
How Marketing Across Canada’s Culturally Diverse Consumers Helps Brand’s Reputation
Canada is a multicultural country. Connecting with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers can help your brand’s reputation.
Canada’s Multicultural Landscape
According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians are born outside of Canada. Toronto and Vancouver, in particular, are the most culturally diverse cities, with 49% to 51% of their residents born outside of this country but call Canada home. Statistics Canada said the number of visible minorities in this country will only become bigger, with nearly one-third of the population will be a visible minority by 2031.
A study conducted from June 2017 to July 2017 by MediaCom showed that only 25% of people who self-identify as a visible minority feel that brands speak to people with different cultural backgrounds. More than a third of those who self-identify as visible minority feel that in cases where their ethnicity is represented, it’s frequently done in a stereotypical manner.
Finances and Spending Trends
The MediaCom study found that many of the first-generation visible minorities in Canada are professionals. While their household incomes aren’t higher than the average Canadian consumer, first-generation visible minorities have significant savings.
With their significant savings and the desire to live permanently in Canada, the study found that first-generation visible minorities tend to spend more on personal care to electronic gadgets to cars.
The study showed that first-generation visible minorities in Canada make up 34% of those who opened a bank account in the past 12 months in Canada, 43% of those who subscribed to an internet service provider, and 57% of those who bought a mobile phone.
In the study "Marketing across Canada’s multicultural landscape? New research from MediaCom Canada reveals what you need to know", MediaCom surveyed these ethnic groups: Chinese, South Asian, Latin/Central/South American, Arab, and Southeast Asian (including Japanese and Korean).
These ethnic groups who now consider Canada as their home are mobile-first consumers. The reason why they’re considered as mobile-first consumers is because these ethnic groups came from countries that moved directly to mobile to access the internet, skipping the broadband internet connection phase.
Visible minorities in Canada reported spending 20% less time watching TV, 12% less time listening to the radio and 42% more time on mobile phones compared to the average Canadian consumer.
First-generation visible minorities reported they are exposed to 13 digital touchpoints (defined as any digital means a consumer interacts with a business) each week; second-generation visible minorities said they are exposed to 12 digital touchpoints each week; and the average Canadian consumers said they’re only exposed to 9 digital touchpoints each week.
Marketing in a Multicultural Society
Here are some takeaways on how to connect with Canada’s culturally diverse consumers and in the process help build your brand’s reputation:
If your company wants to connect with the first-generation and second-generation visible minorities, the right venue is the mobile platform. As mentioned, these visible minorities are mobile-savvy, taking into consideration that they’ve skipped the broadband internet connection phase.
As the Canadian marketplace is becoming more and more diverse, it’s important for businesses to balance the need to reach the masses with specific targeting. According to MediaCom, if you want your brand to connect with a particular ethnicity, it’s important to provide content for them in their native language.
Nearly two-thirds of the visible minorities surveyed by MediaCom reported that when brands communicate via advertising using their native language “they feel closer and it makes the brand appear more meaningful”.
“Marketers can serve an ad in a native language, but that is just the first step,” MediaCom said. “They need to create content that accurately represents consumers of different cultural backgrounds. The longer-term goal would be to build culturally meaningful connections with these consumers that celebrates diversity.”
One approach in accurately representing Canada’s diverse cultural backgrounds is by using diverse imagery.
“Businesses and brands have been slow to move with the times as it relates to how they visually market their brand and products,” said Robyn Lange, Curator and photo Editor at Shutterstock. “However, the world is increasingly diverse and multicultural, meaning these businesses need to quickly catch up if they are to continue engaging their customers and growing their business.”
Lange added, “In a time where images and video content dominate our feeds, visual choices are critical considerations as a brand looks to stand out from the crowd and connect with their audience.”
Coca-Cola is an example of a company that promotes diversity and inclusion in its ad campaigns. In the late 1960s, following the Detroit race riots and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the company came up with an ad that featured African-Americans and whites together – something that the company had never done before.
The ad known simply as “Boys on a Bench” showed an iconic shot of a group of boys – African-Americans and whites – sitting shoulder to shoulder on a segregation bench, with their arms touching across the segregation bar looking relaxed and happy, sharing a lighthearted moment over a Coke.
Companies are beginning to take a stronger stance on diversity and inclusion. For instance, "CoverGirl” launched in late 2016 its diversity and inclusion campaign featuring a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
A study conducted by Shutterstock and Censuswide showed that UK marketers are increasingly using images that promote diversity and inclusion. Seventy-nine percent of the marketers surveyed by Shutterstock and Censuswide confirmed they are using more images of homosexual couples and 71% are choosing more racially diverse images.
The study showed that marketers are conscious of the need to be more inclusive in the images they choose for ad campaigns, not just for promoting a brand message (30%) but also to better reflect modern-day society (71%).
Nowadays, social media savvy consumers are quick to call out those brands that don’t promote diversity and inclusion in their campaigns. Employees, partners, stakeholders and investors are also becoming less tolerant of homogeneity and are turning to brands that better reflect culturally diverse society.
4 Benefits of Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations
Social Media Evolution
Social Media Evolution
There was a time in history when social media was considered as only useful to a certain demographic. Remember Myspace or Friendster?
Over the years, accessibility and the desire to feel connected with people with similar backgrounds and interests give rise to the growth of tech giants like Facebook, enabling social media to evolve into a platform that appeals to the masses.
According to statistics portal Statista, Facebook – the social media platform founded in 2004 – currently sits as the number one social network with 2.05 billion monthly active users as of August 2017. The statistics portal, meanwhile, reported that the number of Facebook users in Canada reached 18.2 million in 2016. This number is projected to grow to 19.6 million in 2020.
YouTube, the video-sharing platform owned by Google, is the second most popular social networking site with 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide as of August 2017 according to Statista. Photo-sharing platform Instagram sits at 7th place with 700 million monthly active users as of August 2017; blogging service Tumblr sits at 9th place with 357 million active monthly users and microblogging service Twitter sits at 10th place with 328 million active monthly users.
Nonprofits and charities are the early adopters of social media. The 2010 study conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Eric Mattson of Financial Insite Inc. revealed that charitable organizations in the US outpaced the business world and academia in their social media use. The study showed that 93% of the top US charities have a Facebook profile, 87% have a Twitter presence and 65% have a blog.
The study called “2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report” (PDF) by Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good showed that nonprofits and charities in North America have been the early adopters of social media. As of 2016, according to the study, 97% of nonprofit organizations have a Facebook page; 85% have a Twitter profile; 71% have a LinkedIn profile; 63% have a YouTube account and 46% have an Instagram profile.
The Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good study also found that 34% of nonprofit organizations in North America assign the social media management responsibility to development, program, administrative, and/or executive staff; 33% assign the responsibility to a communications staff person; 27% depend on a full-time or part-time social media manager and 6% depend upon volunteers.
March of Dimes is an example of a nonprofit organization that leverages the use of social media. It has a presence on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Here are 4 benefits of using social media for the nonprofit organization that you run:
1. Venue to Engage Your Organization’s Current Supporters
Social media platforms are good venues to have meaningful conversation with your existing donors, volunteers and members. Start the conversion with them by sharing real stories about successful projects or the people that your organization helped.
The 2013 Millennial Impact Report (PDF) by the Case Foundation found that more than 60% of the millennials (born between the years 1979-1994) like it most when nonprofits share stories about successful projects or the people they help. The study also found that 75% of millennials like, retweet or share content on social media.
Another way to strike a conversation with your current supporters is by posting content that educates the public about the issues your organization addresses. For instance, your organization can share links to studies or news stories that support your organization’s mission. Real and educational stories that your organization posts allow your donors, volunteers and members to converse with your organization as well as converse with each other.
2. Venue to Increase Supporters
Social media is a good venue to grow your organization’s supporters, also known as “friend-raising”.
A study conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (PDF) found that “slacktivists”, popularly referred to as individuals who passively “Like” causes on Facebook but are not truly engaged, “may be more active – and valuable – than previously thought.”
The Georgetown University and Ogilvy study found that individuals who “Like” causes on Facebook are more likely than non-social media promoters to participate in the following key activities:
“The presumption was that these individuals [slacktivists] were replacing more ‘meaningful’ actions with simple clicks and shares,” said Denise Keyes, Senior Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Center for Social Impact Communication. “But what we found is that they’re actually supplementing – not replacing – actions like donating, volunteering and planning events.”
“The key takeaway is that many of the activities that slacktivists are more likely to undertake have this element of influence,” said Jennifer Wayman, Executive Vice President and Director of Social Marketing at Ogilvy Washington. “They are more likely to share what they’re doing with their networks, and there’s real value inherent in these relatively small actions that should not be underestimated.”
3. Venue for Fundraising
It’s inappropriate to bombard your social media supporters with constant postings about your organization’s fundraising campaigns. Occasionally though, it’s proper to do so some fundraising activities via your organization’s social media platforms. It’s important to supplement these online fundraising campaigns with non-online fundraising activities.
4. Venue for Call to Action/Community Organizing
Social media is an effective tool to mobilize individuals to volunteer or take part in an event. On February 12, 2009, the Twestival (Twitter + festival) – serving both as a fundraising activity and call to action – brought together Twitter users to raise money for the global water crisis. The activity was able to raise over $250,000 and brought worldwide public awareness about the global water crisis issue.
At Reputation Mart, we are passionate about helping non-profit organizations succeed online. We've help many non-profits including as March of Dimes Canada and Immunodeficiency Canada meet and exceed their online presence goals.
Get in touch today to learn more and take your non-profit to the next level.
Take advantage of a free assessment for non-profits only and get a complete, actionable insight today!
Why It's Important to Monitor Your Business' Internet Reputation
68% of shoppers agree that they read and value the information fellow consumers post online.
What people are saying about you online - AKA your brand's internet reputation - is important.
In fact, over 25% of your brand's total market value is determined exclusively by its reputation.
In this post, we're going to talk about why you need to take your internet reputation seriously - and why looking into reputation management services is a smart idea.
1. You'll Learn A Lot
We know - nobody likes to get a bad review. However, even negative comments on review sites or your blog can help you to improve your business.
But if you don't read them, or even know they're out there, you wouldn't know what to improve.
Plus, if an unsatisfied customer's comment lingers unanswered for long, that's not going to say anything good about the way your brand handles customer service.
Of course, knowing what people are saying about you also helps you to know what's working, and what people love, about your products and services!
That way, you'll know what your customers want more of, and you can even ask for their feedback and ideas directly. This makes customers feel valued, and it's a great way to develop your next steps!
2. You Can Make Sure Your Employees Are Representing You Well
Of course, internet reputation management isn't exclusive to your company itself - it also extends to your employees' social media accounts.
If your employees are trashing your brand or company online, that's certainly something you need to know about.
You also need to know if they're promoting your products and services, or if their general "vibe" on social media is in line with corporate policies and culture.
3. You Can Handle Any Negative Press Before It Gets Out Of Control
Let's get real: we've all seen the kind of dog-piling that can happen online to both brands and individuals who have sent out a poorly-timed or insensitive Tweet or status.
It only takes one stupid, throwaway comment to drag down your entire brand.
If you've posted something you shouldn't have, or if hackers have gotten a hold of your account and done the same, how soon you take control of the situation matters.
A reputation management service can help you to craft an apology that's sincere, and explain to followers how you'll make sure a similar situation doesn't happen again.
They can also help to approve future postings, so you don't get yourself or your brand in hot water again!
Let's face it: some of us are more in touch with what is "ok" to say and what's not than others.
Don't let a careless but honest mistake ruin your business - have a professional take a look.
Ready To Manage Your Brand's Internet Reputation?
Now that we've outlined why your reputation is so important, we know you're ready to make sure your customers only see great things when they search for your brand online.
Stop losing sleep over bad reviews or a careless social media posts.
Instead, get proactive by managing your brand's internet reputation today.
We're here to help.
Get in touch with us to learn more about our online reputation management services.
How come multi-location businesses fail to manage online brand reputation? Here’s the reason why.
Businesses of all sizes, including enterprises and small & medium businesses simply don’t have the right tools. Most of them choose consumer tools or home grown, half-baked solutions and expect to be successful. When a disaster strikes, they won’t know because no one ever looks at data affecting your online brand reputation. It’s solely collected for the purpose of making process improvement and is done so within the traditional means.
What this means is that your world as you know it, is good enough. People don’t like change. Most people are scared of new technologies; it’s true. Businesses are slow to adopt new technologies primarily because the don’t see the value compared to the “traditional means” or in other words, they afraid of change. New technology, no matter how advanced, won’t be introduced at your company because you, the decision maker, are mostly unaware of all the benefits. Moreover, no one around you will tell you to look at it since most of them are very comfortable, so why change?
Using traditional means and not wanting to think ahead is not wrong. It’s awfully wrong. Not having the right tools that give you a bird's-eye view of your online brand reputation presented by hard numbers, is wronger than wrong. When you have multiple business locations, you can’t be in multiple places at the same time. Of course, you trust your managers and you do believe that they can do nothing erroneous, right? Now, back to reality. The reason you worry, don’t sleep at night and don’t take time off is because you don’t trust your managers, and do try to be in multiple places at the same time. Your blood pressure is off and your doctor is strongly suggesting that you take it easy. But can you? Most likely you still have a few mortgage payments, your kids are still in school and you worried about financing their future. All of that can be helped, fast. All you need is the right tools.
Imagine being able to look at your brand and instantly seeing that your locations are listed in the right directories and review sites that are most important in your industry, and see if the listings are accurate. Imagine being able to see average review scores by location and ponder why King St. location, in comparison to your other business locations, is lacking in customer satisfaction, with an under 3.5 star rating. You’ll be able to answer “why”, simply because numbers tell a story, and graphs show you which manager is underperforming. You’ll never have to guess again or make decisions made based merely on word of mouth When customers or clients leave reviews these days, they tend to get personal. Would it not be nice to know that Agnes at your Bond St. location is costing you your reputation and hence is responsible for your declining revenues?
Here is the good news.
Right tools do exist, and what I have described is not science fiction; it’s reality. And yes, it’s affordable and will cost you a lot less in comparison to Agnes’ mistakes. Stop guessing, get the right tools and succeed. Many of these new technologies are already used by your competitors, why not join the race? It’s not a matter of having better tools, it’s a matter of having the right ones. Having the right tools will just mean that your company, will be coming in first place.
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.