Online Reputation Management: What Your Business Needs to Know
In the early ages of the digital revolution, brands would still pay more attention to their in-person service, customer relationships in their brick-and-mortar stores, and their employee satisfaction at the office. Now that our digital presence has intermingled with our actual, physical lives, brands can no longer afford to ignore their online reputation or simply let it spontaneously create itself out of thin air and a few likes. On the contrary, brands need a steady, balanced strategy that helps them integrate their business values into their digital presence and transcends digital limitations so that their overall reputation can reap the rewards.
In essence, there’s no easy way to manage any brand’s image online. It’s an intricate process that evolves and changes with the brand and the trends. Some approved strategies prevail, however, so you can add them to your arsenal of reputation management and build upon them over time. Here are a few approaches that will remain pivotal in the process of preserving your standing in the industry.
Implement social media monitoring tools and tactics
Small or big, all businesses constantly strive to build a stronger social media presence. They set up entire teams dedicated to the single goal of creating, scheduling, and posting appropriate and relevant content for their followers to consume and engage with. However, what matters most in terms of your online image, is how you respond to customer complaints, queries, how you communicate with your followers online, and how your brand appears across different social platforms. Enter: social media monitoring tools that enable you to, let’s say, “eavesdrop” on what people have to say about your brand.
- Sometimes followers don’t tag you, but they expect you to respond to their posts. Social listening enables you to do just that as you spot each mention without and with tags.
- You have the ability to recognize and follow relevant industry trends and join conversations where you can build up your reputation as the leader in your niche.
- You can conduct competitor analysis and see where you stand in your industry, so that you can work more on specific aspects of your reputation, be it that among your peers, your employees, your partners, or your customers.
Harness the power of employee-generated reviews
Your employees, as it turns out, are your most vital asset when it comes to growing your reputation, digital and otherwise. They are the ones who have direct insight into how well your brand lives up to its promises, and if you truly embody the values you claim to stand for. They are also your most valued ambassadors when the world passes its judgment on your business, because your treatment of your employees directly reflects your values and your treatment of your potential customers.
In addition to listening to what your social media followers have to say, you should also be interested to learn what your employees have to say about your brand, especially when asked anonymously on various review sites. If you look at PostcardMania’s Glassdoor page as an example of an employer taking charge of their reputation, you can see several ways in which you can implement the same principle.
- Claim your company on review sites, which in case of Glassdoor shows as the “Engaged Employer” signal on the righthand side of the page. This means that you’re actively contributing, refuting, or confirming reviews and claims made about your business on this site.
- By doing that, you clear any potential confusion in case any other person decides to create a new page in the name of your business. Simply put, there can be only one.
- This is also a learning opportunity. When you see and acknowledge negative reviews and any missing benefits, you can change your policies and show your future employees that you’re constantly evolving. Now that’s called owning your brand.
- Encourage your employees to leave reviews on sites like this one, because that will create a culture of transparency. That, of course, means you are prepared to make changes when the need arises.
Never stay silent in the face of critics
Negative comments are a part of every brand’s digital journey. Whether a negative review pops up on Google, an independent review site, or on social networks, you have the opportunity and the obligation to respond, especially if it’s something that can damage your reputation if left alone. Of course, you’ll come across impossible people also known as “trolls” that simply want to stir up a fight online. You need to pick your battles, stay true to your brand voice, and find creative ways to protect your reputation in any scenario.
- Disgruntled customers always deserve a response when they come out with legitimate information. This is your chance to mitigate the situation and right a wrong on your part, and own up to a mistake.
- Trolls, on the other hand, sometimes just want a digital brawl. If their comments are pointless, you can leave them be. If they are using inappropriate language, you can remind them of your policies and ban them should they fail to respect your rules of conduct.
- Humor is often a great way to diffuse a situation, but only if it’s in line with your brand identity, so choose wisely, and be mindful of the situation.
Deleting comments that aren’t baseless doesn’t bode well for your brand. Stay calm, do your best to follow your own in-house policy when it comes to unhappy customers, and of course, protect your reputation the way you see fit.
The digital world is brimming with setbacks and opportunities alike. To preserve and grow your reputation, use these simple, but effective tactics to your advantage and remain mindful of what your industry standards are – that is the best way to ensure your customers and employees are happy, and that you’re still true to your values.