5 Tips for Managing Your Brand’s Reputation
A business’s reputation matters. The internet has reduced the size of the world and given people the ability to share information quickly. It’s made the world a bit cozier, but it’s also meant that one bad review can travel around the world in a matter of seconds.
Brand reputation is about managing the perception of your company. The adage of thinking before you speak rings true in this area. The Internet and social networks have made it easier for customers to share their thoughts, both good and bad, about their customer experiences. Negative reviews can be damaging, while positive reviews help drive sales. But how do you foster good reviews, deal with negative ones, and monitor and protect your brand?
It’s important to monitor and protect your brand reputation at every possible touchpoint, including social media channels and customer service interactions but remember that a few negative comments do not define your online reputation. It’s still possible to have a positive online reputation even if there are some unhappy customers out there.
Monitor Your Company’s Name and Brand
The first step in reputation management is to know who is talking about your business. Track mentions of your company and know what is being said about your company. You could use a reputation management firm to do this, or you can also do it yourself.
To monitor your company’s name and brand yourself, set up Google Alerts for any mentions of them in the news, on blogs, or on social media. You can also use a free tool like Mention to monitor mentions of your business on the Web.
Also, monitor online reviews on sites like Google Local and Yelp. Be active on social media and monitor social media platforms for mentions about your business.
Respond to Negative Reviews
Getting a negative review is painful, especially if you feel like you don’t deserve it. What should you do? Respond! You should always reply to reviews, both positive and negative. This shows potential customers that you listen and care about what they have to say. If someone leaves a negative review, let them know you’re sorry for their experience and try to make things right by offering them something like a discount on their next purchase.
Even if you feel a negative review was unfair, choose your battles. Don’t fight every bad review, especially if it’s an isolated incident. But if you get a lot of similar complaints, there might be something worth addressing. Take the information in a negative review into consideration. Does it point out a problem your company needs to address? Negative reviews can be a blessing if they identify a weakness in your business.
Use Social Proof
One of the most important aspects of reputation management is getting customers to leave positive reviews. The task itself is simple, but getting it right requires marketers to know exactly how and when to ask customers to write a review.
The best times to ask are:
After a purchasing event. This is the number one time to request a review, no matter what type of product or service you offer. When someone makes a purchase, they are satisfied enough with your business to spend their money. This is the perfect time to ask for a review because they’re more likely to share a positive experience than at any other time.
After a customer service interaction. When someone has an issue with your product or service, chances are they’ll contact you via phone or email to help them before they take their complaint public online. When this happens, you can convert an unhappy customer into an advocate by resolving their issue and then asking for an honest review (as long as the solution was satisfactory).
Encourage people to leave reviews on Google and Facebook by sending them emails after a transaction or visit. Make it simple for them by including a link directly to your business page on each site.
Watch Your Personal Reputation Too
Your personal reputation can impact the reputation of your business. When people search for you online, are they finding positive press about you or are they finding negative content?
In the past, people often searched for a business name to find information about it. But now, many people also look at the founder or CEO of a company too. If you have a strong personal brand and online presence, this can only help your company’s image.
While your business may be a distinct entity from yourself, you cannot always keep the two separate. The way others perceive you personally can affect the way they look at your business. That is why it is important to practice good reputation management on a personal level and ensure your online profiles are up-to-date and accurate.
Also, be proactive about things that could harm your reputation. For example, if someone quotes you in an article, review the piece before it’s published. If you disagree with something said about you or your business, don’t hesitate to ask for a correction or clarification.
Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry
Are you a thought leader?
Build your brand’s reputation by becoming a thought leader, someone who is sought for advice and expertise in your industry.
To achieve this level of trust, you need to be visible online and offline and show up where people are looking for information about the products or services you offer. You also need to demonstrate your mastery of the field through blog content, social media interactions, webinars, and conferences.
Thought leaders are also active contributors to their industry’s online discussion, sharing ideas widely on social media and other channels. In other words, they are often at the center of a storm of useful information and commentary.
Imagine how it would build your brand’s reputation if you and your business were thought leaders in your industry. It takes time and patience to become an industry leader, but it is worth the effort. Be active on social media, share your ideas, and network with other thought leaders in your field.
A company’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets; it attracts and retains customers. A business with a reputation for reliability and value has a competitive advantage over those that don’t. A strong brand name, good customer service, and positive online reviews can all be major drivers of revenue, while a poor reputation can seriously impact your company’s ability to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Use these tips to manage it.