Managing online chatter can seem almost impossible because there is so much of it. However, keeping a close eye on what’s said about your brand matters because, according to a study in Brightlocal, 77 percent of consumers read reviews when researching businesses. Hubspot reports that almost eight out of ten consumers expect companies to respond within 24 hours when they reach out on social media.
In short, the way you handle a single negative comment could make or break someone’s decision to do business with your organization.
The good news: There are many ways to protect your business’ reputation online. This guide explains the basics of online reputation management.
What Is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is about managing the public perception of a business or other organization. This practice has become more critical as online mentions and discussions about firms have become the norm.
What Are Common Reputation Management Tactics?
Standard techniques include suppressing or reacting to online messages (the right way), SEO enhancements, social media campaigns, and public relations (PR) efforts.
What Are the Benefits of Relationship Management?
When your brand maintains a positive image, it helps engender trust in prospective clients and customer loyalty. Trust is a significant driver of revenue and growth. A negative reputation, on the other hand, can result in lower sales and customer retention levels.
Be aware: Negative reviews have their silver linings — they can help you discover what your business may be doing wrong, learn about buyer preferences, and demonstrate excellent customer service by responding to negative reviews quickly and resolving issues publicly.
What Does Brand Reputation Management Entail?
For brands like yours, reputation management involves monitoring how consumers view your brand in reviews and social media so you can take action to improve your company’s image. Brand reputation management is an ongoing process. It lets you stay current on the public’s perception of your brand and address negative situations in real-time.
Reputation management and brand reputation management are sometimes thought of as the same thing. However, they are different. Brand reputation management focuses on a single branded aspect of a company, while reputation management involves all aspects of a business. For instance, if a brand’s reputation becomes tarnished, but the company is still relatively solid, it can choose to rebrand that aspect of the company. For instance, if a division of your business or product line becomes unpopular, but the rest of the organization is sound, it could be worth reestablishing the broken part of the broader company brand.
What’s the Difference Between Brand Reputation Management and Brand Safety?
Brand safety and brand reputation management are often conflated, too. These concepts are related but distinct. Brand safety ensures that advertising and other content brands share are legal, ethical, and appropriate. It is a critical component of brand management because illegal or improper advertising claims or an offensive piece of content can result in significant online reputational harm to a business.
Reputation Management for Businesses
Managing your brand reputation online starts by ensuring your brand's digital presence reflects your current imagery, messaging, values, and other aspects of your brand. Look for outdated logos, company descriptions, or mission statements.
Next, make an unbreakable commitment to meet and exceed customer expectations and deliver a seamless buyer experience from start-to-finish. Doing so will help prevent customer issues that could result in complaints.
Even companies that deliver optimal customer experiences will occasionally get negative comments or reviews online. This is why you must monitor your online properties, including social media, review sites, and Google Business Profile regularly — basically anywhere anyone can leave a comment.
Always respond to negative statements calmly and offer to make things right. Publicly outline the steps you will take to resolve the issue. This will demonstrate your commitment to customer service, which could help negate the negativity and turn the experience into a positive impression of your business to people who read the review. Taking this time also provides an opportunity to refine and improve your internal processes so similar issues don’t crop up again.
Check out the second part of our series about reputation management to find out about tactics you can use to maintain and improve your company’s digital reputation.