No matter whether you sell your products/services online or offline, you need to have a solid online presence. And for that, you need to manage your business’s online reputation.
The thing you need to accept and remember here is if you don’t monitor and control your business online, someone else will do it. Online reputation management (ORM) is all about monitoring and managing what the others are saying about your business on the internet. Like if someone has made a negative review about your business, ORM will aim at fixing it.
But the question is how? Here we have mentioned some strategies that an ORM agency use to manage your business’s online reputation but before that, it is vital to know the concept of reputation marketing and its importance.
What is Reputation Marketing?
Ideally, reputation marketing is brand marketing but in a more specialized manner. Most businesses spend a lot of time and effort in their branding nowadays. This is because most customers make use of laptops, smartphones, or other digital platforms to search about businesses and their brand value.
Reputation marketing is all about building the real-time identity of your brand. Businesses can build this identity using different mediums such as reviews, online comments, critiques, and complaints which are given by their customers or expert critics.
Nowadays testimonials of real customers, especially video testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing concepts have become a lot more powerful. In the digital world, this word of mouth marketing is done via blog comments, re-tweets, likes on Facebook, reviews on Google Business, and liking/sharing/following on different social media platforms across the internet.
By using this concept, businesses come to know about what their customers are saying about their services or products and can make use of it for their benefit, to make changes to their products or services, or to provide additional services. This can be ultimately used to improve its industry ratings and it has a direct impact on their revenue generation.
Importance of Reputation Marketing
Nowadays online reputation marketing is crucial because there is cut-throat competition and hundreds or even thousands of businesses operating in the same niche. Customers want to give their work to a business that they can trust. The base of this trust is created by checking the online profile of the company to see whether a company works on the same values that the customer prefers. If the customer is concerned about customer service but your company has negative comments about after-sales service, then they might move on to your competitor to do business.
1. Keep Control of the Result Pages on the Search Engine
The search engine page, also known as SERP is a page that appears when any user searches for a specific term on the search engine. The term can be your company name. usually, the SERP would show around 10 results at a time. The goal of your reputation marketing should be to show positive results for your brand on that page.
These results need not be your web pages. But you will get the link of the three results which would be directly getting a link to your website. For improving the SERP of your brand you need to go out and then find out the positive results and then need to push the links to those results. More fortified you will make the positive results on your SERP, more would be difficult for the piece of the negative information to come in the list of top 10 results.
Search Engine Optimization
Even if you need and want the positive results from the sites other than your own then you will have to understand the SEO and do everything which can fully optimize the website. You must make sure that the code is formatted properly, and the content is rich in the keyword.
It is not easy for SEO to attain every incoming link from the external sources. Wright is believing that it is separating the men from the boys.
Google is suggesting that when you are typing in the search box of Google Search. These are the suggestions which have been created from popular searches. The issue of reputation will appear when the brand name is getting tied with the negative search time ex. Rip off.
Wright explains that People always want to know the bad stuff and they will always click on the auto-suggested search button. And when people are doing this then this will reinforce the negative search popularity.
But there is no proven way of combating this issue besides driving a large number of searches which will not include the negative term. Wright is saying that the PR campaign will help in creating the brand but, the negative googles suggest search is very difficult to counteract. But you must always remain aware of this area of reputation management.
2. Asking Positive Reviews from the Customers
The huge area of the customer online empowerment is the reviews of service and the product. Positive reviews are always great, and people are often motivated for writing reviews about negative opinions and experiences.
He is also adding that every single company no matter how good it is will have someone for writing bad about it at some point in time. And this negative review will not be true. It could come also from your ex-employee, might be somebody having a bad day or someone who is trying to increase their count of reviews.
Wright also asked about How do combat negative reviews. Well, there is no way by which you can stop people from writing something bad about you.
The best way for combating this is to create the strategy for the positive review. Always ask your customer to write positive reviews for your brand. Instruct the salespeople and the frontline employees to ask the satisfied customers to give their reviews online.
Create the Review Portal
It is better to create a review portal on your website rather than requesting them to give their online reviews on different sites. Make this page into your main page navigation and then transfer your customer on this page so that they can give their reviews.
Wright has offered an example of the car dealership client. The dealership is having the service department which is of great marks, but only the unsatisfied customers are leaving the reviews over there. Then the company created the review portal and asked the satisfied customer to leave the positive reviews on their website.
There are the companies who are also asking about the post-purchase surveys which can be used internally besides asking the reviews from the customers. In this way, you will get the customer feedback, and this will also help in creating more and positive reviews for your brand online.
3. Dealing with Customer Complaints
It is always advisable not to get in an argument with the customer online. It is like fighting the battle in the territory which is not yours. And in this case, you will sound defensive.
Go on a platform like a radio when very limited people are calling, and thousands are listening. When someone is putting the complaint or griping about the company online then you should handle that properly as loss of the people are watching you as to how you are handling the situation.
Below are some of the ways by which you can handle most of the online complaints
- Don’t admit the guilt
- Always open the conversation with I am sorry that you are facing this problem
- Try to take the response online
- Do this by writing as, please give me your email address or phone number.
- Never air your dirty laundry in social media
If you get the complaints on Twitter, then ask the person to follow you so that you can send them a direct message
When you get to face a very combative personality who is continuing the interaction in the public only then this will create more negative content about your brand in the search engines.
If the problem is very simple and easy to solve, or if you are providing the information then always go ahead and handle the situation publicly.
For the complaints which are taking offline, try to find out the issue. Sometimes you might have to deal with people who are not happy. But if there is a real issue then always try to solve the problem.
As a good thumb rule, always solve the problem offline not more than three times. If the person is not ready to accept your offer and continuously posts the negative content about your brand, then you start looking like a reasonable party, and the negative impact of the complaint is diffused.
People are having megaphone on steroids and it is known as social media.
Monitor your brand
The way of tracking down the online complaints regularly is to monitor the brand through free reputation marketing tools like Google Alerts. Also, there are various paid solutions available with more features.
This is not something that will break the bank, but it is something which is having the potential to save your business.
Rules have Changed
The reason for the change in the rule is because now content is consumer-generated. In previous days on the message boards, it is not advisable to respond to the complaints on the same forum where it is happening as it will flood the negative comments about the company.
Now in the social media digital world, you can directly address the complaining customer and then quickly move them to the offline conversation.
4. Do not be too Afraid to ask for help
It is quite easy to lose your brand reputation, and this can be done by reacting too late to solve the issues associated with your brand. If you find a crisis that is occurring, you should look out for someone competent in your company or outside it to solve the issue of the crisis on priority.
It is important to get immediate help if the crisis or issue is appearing in the SERP results.
Because over here the reputation problems can cause a lot of damage. Those businesses that are not a common name are at a higher risk for negative results on SERP. With the help of proactive reputation management, you can avoid or solve these crisis issues. You cannot do any calculation of ROI that you spend on being proactive. But if you do not save your brand reputation proactively then you might lose a lot of money and face the crisis.
5. Pick up your Pieces and Try to Avoid your Problem Again
After your business faces a crisis then you should check out about what happened, how it can be prevented, and how it affected and how it will affect in the future? By answering these simple questions you can prevent such crises from appearing again for your business.
6. Build your Brand Reputation
Just waiting to build your good reputation is not going to work and is not a good marketing strategy. If you are looking to get positive reviews and feedback about your services and products, you should put the energy and time for that. For that, you should be aware of the reality of your products and services.
You should search for relevant hashtags, read comments, and look on the internet for comments of your business or brand. By knowing about what people say about your business, you can then harness this information. If there are bad reviews, do not overlook them. You should deconstruct them and understand what is going wrong.
If the same thing is mentioned in multiple comments, then you should change the product or the way you perform a particular task in your business. This can create a big shift in the minds of your customers. By doing so, you can improve your brand reputation .
If there are positive reviews, then check for the areas in business for which you are getting praise. Try to improve in that area so that you can perform better and remain ahead of your competitor.
With reviews, you can gather a lot of information, you will get to know about the likes and dislikes of the customer about your products. In this way, you will be able to turn around and give them exactly what they want.
7. Market Your Reputation
When your customers are doing marketing for you It does not mean that you should stop communicating with your existing channels about your brand message.
If you want to use reputation marketing, then take the advantage of it by creating the campaigns, and then pay close attention to it.
This is more than the reviews which you are taking from the customers. You should get to know here either your customer feels positive or negative about your product.
Drill down to the specific things which have been told by the customer.
Pay attention to the keywords which are kept on popping in the online comments and reviews. This would inspire you in your next campaign and will also help in direct addressing to the comments.
For example, if you are continuously seeing the word inconvenient then this will be taken as the negative review. You can create the marketing campaign and the strategy on social media which would be the focus and highlight the convenience of your product and the service.
In this way, reputation marketing will help in identifying the problem and creating the solution which can drop directly in the lap of the customer.
8. Managing Reputation
In reputation marketing, you will get a wealth of information from the customers.
For the comments and reviews of your customer, you will have to spend some time with the customers and keep them engaged with your products.
If you will introduce a new product then you will see the sudden spike in the reviews and the comments.
After several months’ customers will lose the momentum and then turn their attention to some other place.
If you want to manage the brand reputation and want to keep the dialogue open, then you must try to keep the hype going. In this way, you will never fall from the radars of the customers. To do this you can generate offers and promotions, host events, special offers for your followers or give exclusive discounts to your customers. By using these tactics, you can motivate your customers to make a purchase when they might be usually looking out for some other brand or the next offer.
9. Monitor your Reputation
To monitor your brand reputation, you should follow repetition. This does not mean that you read your reviews once and then do not check them at all again. The conversation with the customers keeps on changing every day.
What might seem to be boring and irrelevant to customers today might become the hottest trend in the future. So, you should monitor your reviews regularly to monitor what are the talks about your business and brand.
You can read your reviews regularly either weekly or daily and keep track of your posts on social media, look out for online reviews and scroll through the messages posted on your Facebook or blog page. This will help you to see if your marketing is working or nor or your business is de-railing back after a short gain.
If you see your comments in a year, then you would miss out on the negative comments on which you could have made any changes or taken any actions. By keeping track of the comments, you can identify your business areas that need improvement and take prompt action on it.
If you want to satisfy your customers, then you should satisfy their needs and listen to their opinions. So, you should listen to them and respond accordingly.
Keeping your customers happy is the key to successful brand reputation management.
10. Publishing quality content
You can easily outrank the negative content by posting quality content on regular basis. By doing so, you can increase your chances of getting listed in the top 10 Google results. You can post this content on your blog and social media platforms.
Brand reputation is vital for the growth of the business. A positive brand reputation builds customer loyalty as well as increase their confidence in your brand and the products offered, thus driving sales and growth.
In today’s ruthlessly competitive business environment, being positioned as a brand with a good reputation is important. Your brand’s online reputation is evolving and re-defined by every social media comment, blog post, and review. So, it is essential to proactively manage and improve on all the feedback received online to stay ahead and keep business afloat.
Currently serving as the Managing Director of SEO Discovery, Mandeep Singh is an ardent reader, learner, and writer. He embarked on a career in Digital Marketing decades ago. Since then, he has been providing solutions to many businesses. He also takes time to keep readers posted with what he learned while building his years of experience. That’s so because he believes in the concept of sharing his expertise.