Our digital world has undoubtedly made it easier than ever for your customers to share their opinions about your biz with the world. It’s one of the reasons it’s so crucial for you to manage your brand’s online reputation and ensure you present a good “storefront” to potential buyers.
Keep reading as we explore the benefits of reputation management, ways to manage your brand’s rep, and how you can implement proactive and reactive strategies.
What Does It Mean to Manage Your Reputation Online?
With the proliferation of social media and review sites, when you wrack up some negative comments and reviews, you can quickly tank or, at the very least, tarnish your brand reputation.
This can lead to a loss of customers and revenue. Since that’s not the goal, you have to be proactive. Reputation management is simply the process of monitoring and influencing your brand’s persona to the world and staying on top of any negative feedback that pops up so that you can respond appropriately.
Benefits of Reputation Management
When your business has a positive online rep, it leads to higher sales and stronger customer loyalty. It also helps your business attract new customers and differentiates you from the competition.
If a negative publicity event or crisis arises, you can immediately be aware of it and on top of it to help mitigate its potential damage.
According to BrightLocal’s recent survey, 76% of consumers regularly read reviews online when considering a local business. Data like that only underscores the need to stay on top of your brand rep and actively manage how the public perceives it. Doing so helps potential customers see your brand in the best light possible.
How to Manage Your Brand Reputation
You’ll need to combine a few strategies to manage your online brand reputation, both reactive and proactive. Below are some of our favorite tips to help you do that.
Monitor Your Online Presence
Though you can use some paid social media listening software to track brand mentions online, you can also just as easily set up a free tool like Google Alerts. Sometimes simpler is better!
Then you can receive alerts when your brand’s name is mentioned, either positively or negatively, and you can quickly respond as appropriate. You can also gain valuable insights into chatter about your brand to identify areas you might need to improve.
Encourage Positive Reviews
One great way to be proactive is to actively solicit positive reviews from your happy and satisfied customers on review sites like Yelp or Google My Business. Sites like NextDoor and Thumbtack can also be good places to build your brand presence. You can then help boost your overall ratings, which will offset potential negative reviews. You can even give your customers incentives to leave reviews, like offering discounts on future purchases.
Respond to Negative Comments
When you receive a negative comment or review, responding promptly and, perhaps more importantly, professionally is vital. Address the issue directly and offer a solution if possible.
This shows potential customers you take their concerns seriously and that your brand is committed to providing excellent customer service. Even if you can’t resolve the issue, responding to negative comments professionally can help mitigate the damage to your brand’s reputation.
Stay Active on Social Media
Yes, trying to keep up on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can feel exhausting. However, they are essential in helping build a solid and positive online presence—a necessary evil sometimes. You can share relevant and engaging content with your audience, respond to comments and questions in a timely manner, and by staying active, help increase brand visibility. If it’s too much for you to keep up with personally, you can outsource to help manage things like posting or content creation, or even responding to customers.
Consider Working with a Reputation Management Agency
Depending on the size and scope of your business, if you don’t have the time or expertise to manage your brand’s reputation online, you can always consider working with a reputation management agency.
They specialize in monitoring and improving your online rep and can help ensure your brand image is on point. They can help you develop a comprehensive strategy to identify potential risks and create a crisis management plan should something negative occur.
Other ways to manage your brand’s image and rep online include:
- Creating and maintaining a blog to help establish your industry expertise. You can share knowledge and insights with potential customers and cultivate trust.
- Monitoring your competition can also be helpful. If you track what your competitors are doing online, you can suss out ways to differentiate yourself and stand out, plus avoid making the same or similar mistakes.
- Be transparent and honest in your online interactions. People respect you when you admit a mistake, then take steps to rectify the problem. It shows customers you are a brand that owns responsibility for your actions and that you’re committed to creating a positive customer experience.
- Remember, you can’t just sit and forget it. Managing your brand rep is an ongoing process. You must continually monitor, respond to feedback, and adjust where needed.
We can’t escape the fact that everything these days is findable online somewhere. Managing your brand’s reputation is a non-negotiable if you want to run a successful business. Use the tips we’ve outlined and invest some time and effort into managing it well, and you’ll grow and attract new customers faster than if you ignore it or allow your brand to be impacted by negative feedback. Your online reputation ultimately reflects your business, which means it’s worth learning how to manage it effectively.
Need help? Talk to us!