In today’s digital age, it is increasingly important to maintain a positive online reputation. With the online community having such a large impact on consumer purchase patterns and brand trust, building a positive reputation online can contribute to overall business success. That’s where reputation management comes in.
But wait, you ask yourself, isn’t reputation management for celebrities with dedicated PR firms?
Actually, every company, brand, and public individual can benefit from reputation management because all are open to the public’s eye and depend on their reputation to survive and thrive. Reputation management means your business will have the foresight to know how business decisions will impact perception and help you avoid potential reputation issues. Working with a reputation management company to ensure a positive and solid online reputation can circumvent the need to handle negative publicity.
Maintaining a positive online reputation can directly impact business success. If consumers trust your brand and have an overall positive relationship with the company, this translates into increased purchasing and repeat purchase patterns. People want to trust your business and feel as though they know the brand they are buying from. For that reason, it is increasingly important to maintain that positive relationship between a consumer and a brand.
Navigating Online Reputation Management
Consumer views of a brand are crucial to success. No matter what business decisions your brand makes, how the consumer reacts is equally important and can easily change your trajectory. The relationship between company and consumer is a two-way street that should be built on trust and authenticity.
So, how do you do it?
As you are managing your online reputation, it’s important to take input from your consumer base into consideration and understand that the feedback they are giving you is valuable. The feedback you receive from clients can be very helpful in gauging consumer views of your brand.
If a brand is already struggling with reputation issues, we begin with a full online brand audit of its digital footprint, including what consumers are saying. Using that information, a strategy is created to target the negative sentiments toward the company or brand and grow positive consumer insights.
Positive Digital Footprint
Before you can remedy existing reputation pitfalls and understand your current online reputation, it is essential to audit your digital footprint. A digital footprint illustrates how all components interact with consumers online and how each exists in the digital sphere. It is important to maintain a positive digital footprint because any negative online interactions can be traced back to you or your business. In the digital age, a vast amount of information is open to the public to find, and any negativity can follow you.
Running a digital footprint audit gives the whole picture of a brand beyond how they see themselves internally. It acts as an X-ray taken from outside the organization to see what is underneath, so the necessary work can be done. Some key elements of a digital footprint audit include all mentions of your brand, both positive and negative.
Then, we examine your local reputation and geographic consumer insights. Examples of a positive digital footprint we’ll look for include multiple positive and supportive mentions on social media channels as well as repeat purchase customers who are loyal to the brand. Negative digital footprint elements can include anything from consumer complaints to poor reviews or even negative social media mentions.
A digital footprint audit sets the strategy for your brand and reputation management campaign by analyzing the current state of your reputation and then working with you so that your reputation best matches how you see yourself. In fact, a crucial part of brand and reputation management is working with you to strategize your plan for long-term success. Making sure that the view held by the consumer aligns with your goals is a key component of building a positive online reputation.
Recovering from Negative Feedback
Receiving negative feedback and reviews is inevitable for any brand, no matter how successful. Responding to negative feedback appropriately is even more critical than you might think because it shows that the brand wants to be in communication with its consumer base and is able to take negative feedback into account for improvement. Online reputation management can help businesses recover from negative public opinions and reviews by addressing areas for growth and using positive feedback and commentary to soften the blow of the negative.
The best way to recover from negative feedback and reviews is to approach every negative response as an opportunity for growth. To do so, it is important to know when to respond to feedback and do so with great care. Negative comments can be a delicate situation, and reputation management can help you construct a valid response that will successfully address the consumer’s concerns.
When a consumer leaves a negative review, they may be feeling let down by your product or service. Their sense of trust in the brand has faltered, and they want to make their opinion heard by leaving a negative review. Responding to these individual reviews appropriately shows that particular consumer – and other potential customers – that you are taking their experience into consideration and doing what you can to make improvements.
While responding to legitimate negative feedback is crucial, when your brand needs to recover from a host of negative reviews and opinions, multiple strategies are necessary. One strategy is to make sure you are regularly requesting feedback from your satisfied consumers. If you are experiencing a large number of negative reviews or opinions due to a product or a service that did not hit the mark with your consumer base, encouraging your base of loyal customers to leave a positive review could help soften the blow of the negative ones.
Positive reviews may help even out the score that you might receive on a review website, such as TripAdvisor or Yelp. A way to mitigate negative reviews and feedback when you are experiencing a flood of them due to a negative incident can be to reduce the opportunity that consumers have to leave comments. If there is no space for their negativity to be heard, it can deter people from writing such reviews in the first place.
Many companies will implement this tactic on their own websites where there is the most amount of control. Keep in mind that this will also hamper your ability to grow a crop of positive reviews, so reputation management strategies may reserve this method on a temporary basis for brands inundated by negative comments due to a mistake that went viral. Eventually, returning to customer reviews is essential to maintain a professional and positive image online.
Using Positive Consumer Insights
One of the biggest benefits of maintaining a positive online reputation is the enhancement of consumer relations. Consumers want to feel as if you not only want to hear their feedback but value what they have to say. You have the ability to show them that you want to hear from them by maintaining an open line of communication in the online world.
Making your consumers feel as though they are a part of the brand and are stakeholders in the success of the company can serve to improve your online reputation. As mentioned, there is a symbiotic relationship between consumer and company, and improving your online reputation will enhance consumer relations and vice versa.
Simply giving consumers the opportunity to express their positive views on your brand is key, especially on your own website and social media, where you have some measure of control over the results. Just as crucial is staying on top of that feedback so you can turn negative insights into positive ones.
Brands who have mastered taking consumer complaints and feedback, remedying the issue, then showing the consumer what they’ve done to avoid the issue in the future are taking the first steps to earn positive feedback from those consumers. Similarly, when a customer raises an issue on social media, the media team for the company should be quick to respond and offer solutions. This speedy response and desire to improve is a positive reflection on any brand.
A useful strategy for growing positive consumer insights is to not only respond to feedback but take the extra step to look further into the issue and let the customer be a part of that process. As previously stated, consumers want to be involved; that’s usually why they left the review or raised the issue in the first place. Encouraging involvement in that process and taking extra steps to see that the issue is fully resolved is a great way to improve your online reputation and grow positive consumer insights.
Another way to grow positive consumer insights is to create authentic and unique content that consumers can interact with. Content is key to demonstrating your brand’s values and style. When consumers can easily interact with what you value the most in an exciting way, they feel more in touch with the brand – that sentiment can translate into positive consumer insights as well as an elevated online reputation.
In particular, creating content that inspires consumers to share the content as well as their interactions with your brand can be key to spreading the word that your brand is positive and trustworthy. By giving consumers the space to share the positive, you can create more positive buzz and create a positive online reputation.
Preventing a Reputation Crisis
Maintaining a good online reputation largely involves prevention and preparedness; in the global online market, you must prevent any crises before they happen and be prepared to deal with any that arise. In the case of your company’s online reputation, taking proactive measures to ensure that interactions between your brand and the public stay positive is one of the best ways to ensure you avoid a negative online reputation.
Proactive measures can be implemented in a variety of ways, all depending on your brand and how you want to interact with your consumer base. Based on the issue that has arisen, it is important to have a reputation management plan in place that will help you determine your next action. For example, if a customer has an issue with a product or service and wants a refund, develop a pre-crafted message to send to them, including an apology and their options for the next steps. A uniform model of dealing with each type of negative customer interaction can help you build a prevention strategy to fit your needs.
As another example, if a customer airs their grievances on social media, be sure to have a customizable public response ready. However, it is important that the public response gives the consumer a way to handle the issue privately. This will show consumers that you care about what they have to say and plan to take the necessary next steps to rectify the issue at hand without continued negative interaction in the public eye. This tactic shows them and the larger public how your company handles a customer’s negative experience.
Both examples illustrate how being prepared for any situation can alleviate the stress of a crisis when it happens. Be proactive in how you plan to handle issues, and you will be able to maintain your online reputation.
The Importance of Online Reputation Management
Taking time to make sure you represent your brand positively online and maintaining the best possible product or service is essential in minimizing the negative experiences people have with your brand. However, the truth is that you cannot prevent all negative experiences, nor can you control how consumers handle them. Giving consumers a space to respond to your brand that you can control, responding constructively to both positive and negative feedback, encouraging positive insights, and having a plan in place to address negative public incidents are key ways to manage and maintain your online reputation.
To take action to protect and improve your online reputation, contact the team at Eminent SEO. Our online reputation management services are equipped to monitor all aspects of your reputation, including peer-review sites, feedback platforms, social media, business directories, search engines, accreditation services, media coverage, and elsewhere across the online landscape. We’ll work with you to find any existing issues with your online reputation and develop a strategy to remedy them.