You only get one chance at making a good impression. And you never know who’s seeking you out for the first time. If there’s even one bad review on the Internet, it might be enough to convince someone on the fence to check out a different company.
Brand reputation management is a major issue for all companies in the digital age, and it’s a responsibility that never ends. Therefore, your best approach is to get in front of any potential issues regarding your brand so that people will never have anything but the best impression of your business. Here are some tactics you can employ that will help you to keep your online reputation at a high level, both now and in the future.
Define Your Approach
Nearly sixty percent of business executives understand the power of reputation management, but less than a quarter of those take actual action. A reason for the inaction could be that the idea of brand management seems too enormous for any one person to handle. This is where it helps to have a reasonable definition for reputation management.
When you’re trying to manage your brand’s reputation, you’re not necessarily trying to stop anything bad from happening to your business. You want to minimize these occurrences, of course, but your real goal is just to guide the conversation about your brand. If a fire pops up, you should be there to put it out. If there exists a scenario where your company might look bad, get in front of it. There are many areas where a need for brand reputation management exists, but it helps to start as simply as possible and then evolve from there.
Stay on Top of Social Media
People who complain on social media are looking for a variety of things – but most of all, they want to be heard. That’s why it’s so important to keep tabs on your social media mentions, inboxes, comments or any other means of communication.
More than 40 percent of people who complain on social media expect a response within an hour, so make sure you’re equipped to meet these expectations. It’s also a good idea to search for your company’s name so that you can see what people are saying about your business outside of formal comments. The discussions you hear today will become tomorrow’s complaints, so make sure to be proactive and fix your issues before they become major headaches.
You don’t want to wait until “(brand name) sucks” becomes a suggested Google search term to get serious about SEO. Instead, get ahead of the issue by making your search engine positioning a top priority. Find out what terms people are using to seek out your company (including your company name) and make sure favorable results for those terms appear high in the search rankings.
Purchase your prominent keywords, again including your company name, on AdWords to ensure that the buzz surrounding your brand is dictated entirely by you. Some businesses even try to get pages to rank on unfavorable searches, like “(brand name) scam”, in an attempt to reframe the conversation and portray the company in a more positive light. Since Google is a critical gateway through which people find new businesses, you can’t focus enough on SEO.
Respond to Reviews
People leave critical reviews for businesses all the time. Whether these reviews are legitimate, or if an angry customer simply wants to try to get free stuff, the business is stuck with an ugly looking one-star review at the end of the day. Fortunately, the story doesn’t have to end there.
Sites like Yelp allow businesses to respond to both positive and negative reviews. And while responding to everyone who takes the time to submit a review is a great idea, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the negative reviews. If you can show people that you’re willing to make things right, they’ll feel better about your company, even if they still think they’ve somehow been wronged. Better yet, newcomers will be impressed by your diligence and may be more willing to let that one bad review slide.
Regardless of the situation, always respond by thanking the reviewer for their submission, apologize for what went wrong and offer to rectify the situation. Responding in a flippant manner will only make things worse for your business – the exact opposite of what you want to achieve through reputation management.
Create Great Content
People will leave bad reviews, and people will make comments on social media. In those cases, you can only respond after the fact. But you can get ahead of your reputation by simply developing a strong name the old-fashioned way – by showing people why your company deserves their attention and respect.
Your solution here is simple – publish materials about your industry and your business using blogs, videos, podcasts or any other sort of easily digestible medium. Keep the topics relevant to the concerns of your consumers, and pay careful attention to what your audience wants to see.
Creating and sharing this content will keep Google full of quality links to valuable resources, and it’ll help you to establish a name for your business. Once you have people thinking positively about your business, it’s much easier to keep those positive vibes than if you had to start out by responding to naysayers. And if customers do have a bad experience, they’ll have plenty of proof that you’re an expert in your field and that you’re worth doing business with.
Brand reputation management is an endless task, and it requires constant vigilance to keep your name in good standing. If you need a little help devising your own reputation management strategy, don’t hesitate to let us know.