What is your company’s online reputation worth to you? Would you be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on just one hour of social media advertising if that was the only way for you to show up at the top of the search results when someone types in your business’ name or product offering?
What’s behind this willingness to pay? The simple fact is that online reputation matters more today than ever before. Studies show that more consumers are using social media and review sites to research everything. It also explains why brand managers must constantly monitor their online reputation, tracking each mention of their business on the web just as closely as they might track mentions in offline publications.
There are several ways businesses can protect and improve their reputation online:
1) Check Your Own Online Reputation Regularly
Regardless of how you feel about social media sites, you need to monitor your online reputation. Sites like Facebook have their own built-in search tools that allow you to track mentions of your business or brand name. Some other sites will allow you to place a widget on your website’s home page so people can post reviews without ever leaving the site. There are also third party sites that specialize in monitoring online conversations about specific brands and companies. Find out which options are right for you, then set up basic alerts that notify you when someone is talking about your business or products on the web.
2) Engage With Customers
Don’t just delete negative feedback from disgruntled customers – respond to it instead. If someone posts a complaint on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, reach out to them directly with an offer to help. If you’re a local business, consider making arrangements with the customer to offer them an in-person solution. This approach not only shows that your company cares about its customers, but it also opens up the door for valuable feedback as you try to make things right and possibly turn a one-time customer complaint into a valuable source of marketing testimonials for your business’ website or social media profiles.
3) Offer Free Products
Nothing closes the gap between online brand awareness and offline brand awareness like offering free products and services before consumers ask for them. One of the most common complaints is that they feel their positive news doesn’t get spread around nearly as far as their negative news – after all, that’s just how it tends to work with traditional offline marketing. If your business provides something special for free, your customers will share their experience online and help increase awareness of your brand.
4) Perform Regular Social Media Campaigns
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Google+, making an effort to spread the word about your brand across social media is crucial. After all, if you don’t have any fans or followers on social media sites then nobody is going to see those posts where you talk about offering a great new service at a reduced price as part of a special promotion. In addition to this basic awareness-building advice, make sure to incorporate social media into everything from customer service communication between call centre agents and software to automated email marketing systems. Properly executed social media campaigns can really help increase awareness of a brand and even drive more traffic to a website.
5) Leverage Negative Information
If you’re going to go ahead and monitor your online reputation, then it only makes sense that you should also have a plan for negative reviews – after all, they will come sooner or later. Rather than leaving them alone or responding with an offer to resolve the situation without the customer having to publish their complaint publicly, why not try proactively publishing those complaints as testimonials? For example, if someone posts about how poor your customer service is on Twitter, respond with something positive from another post from that same where they were happy about using your products or services. You’ll be able to attract new customers who are looking for quality customer service, but also existing customers will feel more valued and might buy from you again and if they don’t, at least you won’t have a terrible review out there for everyone else to see.
6) Join Industry Associations & Professional Networks
If your company is a part of the local business community in a major way, it goes without saying that joining any number of relevant industry associations can drive awareness to your brand. In addition, joining organized efforts at the city level allows you to participate in initiatives. These groups typically get involved with organizing events like small business networking gatherings and even outdoor community events, local arts & culture festivals and the occasional sponsored charity fundraiser. In most cases, you’ll be expected to pay a membership fee, but in some industry groups, this may be offset by things such as advertising opportunities or potential discounts for being a member of the group.
Online brand reputation management is a critical part of any business. In this article, we have outlined some tips and tricks that will help you protect and improve your brand’s reputation online. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your brand remains in good standing with customers and clients alike. It is essential to monitor your online reputation. If you are looking for help with this, reach out to our team of experts by contacting us today! We will provide the tools and knowledge needed in order to protect and improve your brand’s reputation online. Thanks for reading!