Your business has an online presence; but have you thought how your existing or potential customers perceive it? Did you ever think of your online reputation management; and how it affects your brand image? Perhaps yes. Following traditional marketing concepts, this may seem somewhat similar to brand management.
In the current perspective, millions are digitally connected 24X7X365 days and online social media, are initiating conversations now and then on every matter. Today, hardly any business can afford to overlook the importance of online reputation. Online reputation management is not confined to crisis response or handling negative reviews. It is a continuous process to be executed through well-crafted plans and proper monitoring.
What is important in online reputation management?
“No matter how strong your products, they are only as good as buyers think are” – Mr. Whatman. What others see and say of you? Here lies your reputation. Your reputation hasn’t been built accidentally but through a long process of customer experiences and their feedback reflecting the degree of likeability to your products and services.
Through digital media, if a good review can reach millions in no time a bad review can do the same as well. Human psychology often gives more importance to negative reviews, which can affect your brand image if not addressed properly. From the business perspective, it also helps in enhancing the products, plugging the loopholes if any.
What is a reputation management plan and how can we implement it?
Reputation management plan helps you to control and improve the customers’ perception of your brand. With so many people with different perceptions are engaged in online conversation, it may seem tough to execute the plan.
Few smart steps to manage your online reputation:
- Remove the irrelevant or unwanted reviews
- Use review request software to generate new reviews
- Responding to your customers’ reviews
- Pitching your company products
- Monitoring bad reviews and taking quick steps for damage control
- Removing damaging content from Google’s indexing process.
For a long-standing online reputation, you need an effective reputation management plan to market your brand. This can be executed in five steps based on two strong principles – monitoring and response.
Step 1: Monitoring the reputation:
Build a listening strategy. What are others saying about your brand? Where is the presence of your brand? Do people talk of you in forums, social media or only in review sites? Are you aware of your customers’ online presence? It is very important to track and monitor these aspects carefully.
Step 2: Plan a response strategy:
It is good that people are talking about your brand. But how do you respond to them? Who will track the comments and reviews? How to decide the right time to respond? What position your company should take in responding certain issues? Most importantly, who will shoulder the responsibility of responding? Will it be a company spokesperson or a marketing person? These are to be planned ahead.
Step 3: Handling negative comments:
A proper response either in public or private helps in building transparency between the business and customer. In a client poll, it is reported that 80% of unhappy customers can be won through proper response to negative comments.
Step 4: Capitalize the positive:
Online reputation management depends largely on positive reviews, which certainly enhances your brand image. It is not only wise to reward customers for positive remarks but should encourage others to follow the same.
Very few customers generate online content through reviews. A large fraction of customers depends on other’s reviews. Therefore, you need to create strategies to generate positive reviews either by asking customer feedback or by sharing great content through images and videos. This will help to create an impressive image in the customers’ minds.
Step 5: Following up and quantifying the results:
Did you check your follow up activities in response to a customer’s feedback? Could it satisfy your customer? There are more such committed activities that should be fulfilled to drive in the results of your online reputation management plan. You can measure your progress by tracking the returning customers and the improvement in customer ratings.
Managing social media reputation and its importance:
Social media are open platforms allowing customers voice their opinions freely. Today, social media reputation management has become a key marketing strategy.
- 52% of companies report that social media has helped in increasing their sales and revenue.
- 58% of customers are inclined to share positive reviews on social media platforms, which also help in trust building among the audience.
- 72% of consumers trust a brand after going through positive customer reviews.
- Social media also accounts for 34.5% of customer care and support base.
Managing social media reputation is the process of building your social media presence. You can do this by monitoring social media posts. Engaging in conversation with your existing and potential customers to enhance your overall brand image also helps.
Widely used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. give you the opportunity to listen from where you can further build your products and services. Your way of handling social media also affects your personal social media reputation especially if you are the CEO of the company. Social media reputation management also helps in improving your Google search rankings especially when somebody searches your name online.
This too needs specific planning which can be simplified into the following 5 steps:
- Understand the factors to be monitored. This includes your company name, products and services, top level employees, your competitors and your business related keywords.
- Connect your social media accounts with the help of social media reputation management tools.
- Focus on your customer engagement efforts with prompt response to their queries and complaints. You can also enhance your personal social media reputation by engaging in social conversation.
- Facilitate generation of more social comments.
- Track the ROI with your reputation management efforts.
How social media reputation management tools help?
In view of the importance of online reputation management in social media, businesses are not hesitating in investing in reputation management tools. These tools take care of the following:
- You never miss any message as it tracks the users regularly using your brand name.
- Track the misspellings of your brand name and relevant keywords to find all reviews and messages.
- Provide a comparative insight of your positive/negative reviews within a specific time period.
- Gives a clear understanding of your social media traffic and its impact on your website.
- Allows you test your social media content whether it is attracting more web traffic.
- By tracking the data analytics, these tools help in achieving social media reputation management targets.