The Strategy Behind Reputation Management
If there’s anything that those cheesy rom-com movies about high school taught us – it’s that reputation truly matters. While we aren’t going to talk about your personal reputation, we are going to break down the strategy behind managing your business’s reputation, especially online.
What is reputation management?
Let’s get this out of the way first. Reputation management is all about how potential customers, clients & the public perceive your company’s online presence – and how you control and improve what people see. This means you’re actively working to monitor, promote & acquire brand content, all while maintaining any online listings so that they’re accurate and up to date. And don’t forget, when your brand’s reputation is negatively discussed online, you’ve got to jump in and take action to fix it.
When we say online – we literally mean everywhere online. From social media to Google reviews, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even general chatter online. Your business can be talked about anywhere these days.
Why is brand reputation so important?
Think about it. When you’re looking online to buy something, or even hire someone to provide a service, you probably read reviews to see if the item/company/individual lives up to your standards. Just one bad review can make a customer change their mind and go find something “better.” What if that one review costs your company a new client? That means you’re losing out on money, sales, relationships, and so much more.
What’s the strategy behind reputation management?
First, you’ll want to designate somebody to oversee all the efforts that go into keeping up with your brand online. That person needs to have a strong grasp on your brand’s identity and how people view it, both on and offline. From there, it’s all eyes on what people are saying. Check out social media and respond to the positive conversations and jump in with a strategic plan when things look like they’re heading south. The best thing you can do is offer an apology and let the customer know that you’re more than happy to continue the conversation in a private manner, whether that be through direct messaging or email.
Did you know that most brands check out what people are saying about them at least once a day? The second-most noted frequency that brands check up on the online conversation is once an hour, according to a Clutch survey shared by Business 2 Community.
Another way to guide the narrative of your brand’s identity is to acquire user-generated brand content (UGC). UGC can come from anywhere, such as an online review. Anything that sheds a positive light on your brand’s work can be used to your benefit to promote! Showcasing a satisfied customer – or even your own employee – can speak volumes about how your brand treats people. Knowing this, nurturing these relationships has never been so important. Keep in mind, that testimonials and success stories are where most of your business will originate and grow, so get to asking for them!
Promoting the positive aspects of your brand is always a must. In fact, it should be the only kind of content you want to put on display. Get your company name out there! It’s a smart tactic to focus on your brand’s public relations strategy, since positive press and earned coverage is always a great promotional strategy. Write blogs, look for podcasts and other interview opportunities, write press releases, and send out monthly eblasts. By getting your name out there, people will talk, and you’ll see the strategy behind utilizing UGC come full circle.
As your online presence grows, tracking all your incoming mentions will become harder. One way to solve this issue is by using reputation management software to analyze these messages and create a broken-down report for you to review. A solid understanding of your followers’ likes, and dislikes, is fundamental to growing even bigger.
In short, knowing what people are saying about your brand is invaluable. The days of setting it and forgetting it are over – a poor reputation management strategy will hurt not only your brand, but also your bottom line.