In today’s age of digital media, it is fairly easy to build a reputation for your business. Brands don’t have to rely on years of word of mouth publicity for building their reputation. Thanks to the internet, it can be done quickly, with just a click of the button. However easy it is to build an online reputation, though, it is just as tricky to maintain it. Content marketing is the one thing that can help you improve online reputation.
Keep reading to find out how.
So, what is an online reputation?
The answer is basically everything that concerns your brand and is posted online for everyone to see, i.e everything from your social media presence to the reviews your customers leave on your website. The online reputation of your business is constantly evolving with every comment, online review; and blog post.
Why should you worry about your brand reputation online?
When it comes to growing your business, having a team for online reputation management is an asset you cannot afford to ignore.
Google is the first place people go to when they discover your business. Online ratings and reviews help them make judgements and solid decisions on whether or not they want to do business with you. In fact, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Needless to say, having a positive online reputation is a must. And let’s be real, no business is perfect. You are going to make some mistakes along the way, and those mistakes could tarnish your brand’s reputation in seconds. You might think there is not much you can do if a disgruntled customer decides to take their bad experience to a social platform, but there is in fact, a way to control your online image.
Here are a few strategies to help you boost your online reputation management:
(1) Monitor Your Online Reputation
Trying to improve online reputation without knowing what your reputation is actually like, is a not the most efficient way to do it. If you don’t know what is being said about your brand on the internet, you wouldn’t know which areas need fixing.
Monitoring your online presence means keeping track of all the conversations people are having about your brand – be it on social media platforms or other websites. It is the first step when it comes to online reputation management. Only once you know what your customers feel about your brand, you can begin taking control of it.
What results come up when you Google your brand? Are they relevant? Are they problematic?
If you are a restaurant or a hotelier you might want to keep a special track of review websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Zomato. Online retailers like Amazon, Flipkart or eBay are a safe bet when you deal in physical products. People are bound to talk about their experiences on such sites, or at the least leave a rating.
Not only do people leave feedbacks on review websites, but there also exist blogs and forums dedicated to sharing personal experiences with brands. When monitoring your online reputation, you need to keep a close tab at such blogs as well.
For instance, if you are a clothing brand, you may need to keep a tab on all fashion and lifestyle bloggers to know what they have been saying about you. Bloggers often have a wide and loyal audience that is easily influenced by their opinions about your brand. This is why you need to be aware of when they mention your brand.
Keeping a track of every single conversation concerning your brand and extended categories is not easy, but here are a few tips that can make it easier:
A. Don’t limit yourself to Google: There are other search engines out there like Yahoo!, Bing and Baidu that still hold a large audience with over 10% of market shares and that is a large number that you don’t want to miss out on. You might want to make sure your content remains as optimized for all search engines as possible.
B. Experiment with different search locations: Altering search locations will help you figure out what your online reputation is like in a specific location. You can improve online reputation of your brand by focusing your content marketing strategy in that particular geographic location.
C. Set up Google Alerts: Google Alerts is a great way of keeping a track on what is being said about your brand.
D. Invest in tools: If you can afford it, you might want to consider investing in social monitoring tools. Here are 5 brilliant monitoring tools that you should consider.
1. Unbox Social
Unbox Social allows you to track your brand’s online presence. It has a News Feed feature ensures that you never miss out on relevant news from your field. Unbox Social’s analytics feature is great for social media reputation management.
This tool tracks your social media reach, providing you with all the necessary insights into all your social media accounts such as your engagement rates, follower demographics, reach and impressions of your posts. You can even create regular reports to track your social media performance to find out how well your strategies are working.
From a single dashboard, you can track your online performance and also manage your accounts, which makes your work a whole lot easier. Sign up for a free trial and start getting analytics for your social media handles instantaneously.
Reputology allows you to monitor your online reviews and manage them. You can respond to the reviews quickly, directly through the tool, which can help you save a lot of time. It also converts all the reviews into easily readable data so that you can analyse what the general customer sentiment about your brand is. Its analytics can help you gauge your online performance as well as the changes in it.
Mention tracks your brand mentions across all social media platforms, blogs and forums. It combines social media reputation management and competitor watch, so you can easily measure your brand’s performance. Mention also allows you to respond directly to reviews so that you can address any concerns as quickly as possible.
If you cannot invest in a tool just yet, The Brand Grader is one of the best free tools available to monitor online reputation. It gives you a quick overview of any company’s online performance, so you can analyse your competitor’s online reputation along with your own.
If you are still doubtful about choosing your tool, you can take a quick look at our list of 10 best tools for measuring online reach.
(2) Tell Your Side Of The Story
When it comes to digital marketing, everyone wants to land the first page on the search results. And why wouldn’t they? Ranking is everything. But what happens when articles that paint your brand in a bad light appear on the first pages? It can’t be anything good.
The only way to control this is to make sure you rank as many first-page search results associated with your brand name as possible with content that you have created or positively influenced. This makes sure that content approved by you is the first thing potential customers will come across, and hence influence their judgments about your brand.
Content marketing is the key to keeping your online reputation in your hands, and not solely in your customers’.
Follow these steps to use content marketing to improve online reputation:
A. Create social media profiles: Make official profiles on every social media platform possible. Social media is great when it comes to reputation management because you can use these spaces to share authentic, positive stories about your business, your products or service. These stories should convey your human side; the hustle and the hard-work of your employees, for instance.
Social platforms not only help your brand stay relevant in today’s fast paced digital world, but also helps you engage with your consumers and build credibility for your brand.
B. Maintain and update your website and blog: Create a blog along with a website to post relevant information about your business. This is where you can create maximum content that helps improve your online image and help define your brand. Optimizing for SEO is the one thing you cannot ignore. SEO is what decides your rank on search engine pages. Make sure your content is keyword-rich and that you have a clear SEO strategy.
You can use your blog not only to describe your brand, but also give quality advice.
From the reputation standpoint, quality advice concerning niche topics can give you a lot of credibility. How? People appreciate free information. If you take time to do some research, you will find out that many businesses have built their online reputations on the grounds of quality information.
Every new reader is a new relationship, and since online reputation is all about building relationships, you cannot miss out on it.
Get started with your blogs on sites like Medium and WordPress. You can even use LinkedIn’s blogging platform!
C. Engage with your customers: Having social profiles allows you to address your customers directly. This is a great way to build a relationship with your customers and does wonder for your online reputation management. Encourage people to give you feedback. When someone posts a positive comment, reinforce it by responding with a well crafted ‘thank you’.
(3) Have An Online Review Strategy
With about 92% of people reading online reviews to learn more about a business, online reviews are more important than ever. If you want to improve online reputation, you have to have a solid strategy for managing your online reviews.
While 92% consumers read reviews, there is only a handful few that actually write them. Happy customers often don’t bother writing reviews and your online reputation is left in the hands of those few angry customers that leave negative reviews.
Negative reviews aren’t necessarily bad, either – they help you notice your mistakes and improve. But you might want to avoid a few good reviews getting lost in a sea of bad ones.
So what can you do to make sure a consumer writes a review for you?
We have listed a few strategies that can help you encourage your buyers to leave their own reviews because 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked!
1. Start by actively asking for a feedback:
After a customer has made a purchase of your products or has been using your service for a while, ask them to take a moment and provide you with a quick feedback. You may even offer rewards to people who do take time to submit a review such as discounts or special coupons.
Here’s an excellent example for inviting customers to leave a feedback:
2. Avoid the temptation of fake reviews:
They’re quick, they’re easy and you can even pay a third party to write them. But once people catch up to you, your brand loses so much credibility and the faith of the consumer. Besides, fake reviews can do nothing to help you grow your business sustainably.
3. Respond to every review:
It goes without saying that you have to be as honest and humble as you can when you respond to reviews. As we have said before, negative reviews help you improve your business. So take time to appease a disgruntled customer – offer them a sincere apology and fix their problem. This will greatly help you improve your online reputation.
A potential customer may be put off by a negative review but may react positively to how your brand has responded to the feedback.
Take a look at how this car dealership handled a negative review by acting on it quickly and resolving the customer’s issue. This resulted in the customer leaving behind a positive feedback.
Also take out time to respond to positive reviews, like the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence did. A little heartfelt thank you goes a long way.
4. Make it an easy process:
Most consumers won’t bother leaving a review if it is a difficult and a long process. So make it as simple for them as you can. You can provide review links on all available channels and show your customers exactly where they can leave reviews. Make it easier to write the actual review too, by asking the right questions.
5. Avoid negative reviews:
A simple but effective way to avoid a negative review, is to direct the displeased customer to a solution before directing them to the page where they can write the review. You can implement such an automated system on your website – ask the customer if they are happy with the service, if they are not, offer to fix their issue. Ask them to leave a feedback only after you have looked into their issue.
Here’s how Squarespace does it:
(4) Involve Influencers With Good Reputation
Influencer marketing has become an undeniably important marketing trend for a while now. When brands make content involving big, significant influencers, people are bound to pay attention. Here’s a quick overview of how working with the right influencers helps you in social media reputation management. It can help you:
- Expand your audience and increase your brand’s visibility.
- Improve your brand credibility.
- Build loyal relationships with your customers.
- Boost your engagement rates and get people talking about your brand.
People may not be engaging with your content online, but they follow influencers who they basically consider industry experts. Having the right influencers that can reach the same audience that you are targeting, is key. If you do it right, you can build long-term relationships with these industry experts, which can endorse you in the future and greatly boost your online reputation.
(5) Learn From Your Competitor’s Mistakes
Since you now know to keep a constant track of all conversations concerning your brand and relevant fields, you also know to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.
- What is their online reputation management like?
- Why do their customers prefer them and not you?
- What is it that they’re doing right?
- How are people comparing your brands?
These are all questions that can help you improve your own online reputation. You can find something that they’re doing right and implement it or you can figure out their mistakes and learn from them. This way, you can avoid making the same blunders.
There is the added advantage of knowing when your competitor has slipped up and made a mistake. If you are quick on your feet, you can swoop in and save the day by using strategic moves when your competitor is facing bad publicity.
Take for example when United Airlines got themselves into a PR crisis when they stopped girls wearing leggings from boarding the flight. After on-board passenger Shanon Watts took it to Twitter to express her annoyance of the situation, United Airlines started receiving a lot of backlash on social media, and also negative headlines from reputed news channels that spread like wildfire.
As a result, Delta Airlines seized the opportunity to tweet out a simple snarky comment, “Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings.).”
The tweet is simple, short and garnered more than 118,000 likes and 31,000 retweets. This strategic, quick-thinking allowed Delta to spin United Airlines’ negative publicity in favour of their online reputation, and may also have resulted in new customers.
Another great example is how Lyft repeatedly uses Uber’s diminishing image in media to its advantage.
You can learn a great deal by observing the marketing strategies of your competitors and since nearly all the information you need to do so is public, all you need is a bit of research and strategy. You can use tools like Wire, whose Newsfeed feature can help you follow inspiring marketing campaigns and keep an eye on your competitors!
(6) Manage Your Content
Staying on top of your business reputation means fostering relationships with your customers through content, but you need to make sure if it the right kind of content.
Examine your content objectively: Review your websites and social media accounts constantly to make sure your content is fresh, relevant and top-quality.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How good is my content?
- Is it unique to my business?
- Does it answer the questions and concerns of my customers?
- Are the company values projected?
- Does it project my humanity?
- Is it optimized for SEO?
Set clear goals: Create a content strategy that consistently shines a positive light on your brand, but make sure you follow a set of guidelines.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of content am I creating?
- Which social platforms am I using?
- How quickly do I respond to feedback?
- Am I posting enough facts and numbers? (Negative reviews often stem from incorrect facts)
- Is my content easily accessible? (Where does it rank on search engines?)
(7) Turn Your Employees Into Online Ambassadors
Brands often overlook the bonus of the influence their employees can have on their customers. The actions of your employees have the potential to either improve the online reputation of your brand or ruin it.
But most importantly, they can be a great asset in generating brand awareness and building relationships with potential customers. Here’s how you can turn your employees into ambassadors for your brand:
- Make sure they understand your brand goals and vision.
- Allow them to share information/stories about your brand and to interact with customers on online platforms.
- Create guidelines for how you want your employees to talk about your brand online.
- Allow your employees to contribute to your blog/social media content.
- Treat your employees right so that they are actually willing to share good words about your brand.
In addition, your online reputation can go only as far as your offline reputation. If your offline reputation is not up to the mark to begin with, you should probably start with improving that.
But in the meantime, you can still use these tips to build a steady, sustainable online reputation. It is not rocket science – all you need to do is ask yourself ‘What do I want my online reputation to be?” and then ‘How can I make that happen?’
Your answer lies in monitoring your online reputation and taking proactive steps like:
- Ensuring your content helps foster customer relationships.
- Making the most of social media platforms for social media reputation management.
- Encouraging customers to leave reviews.
- Tending to negative feedback with a positive attitude.
- Monitoring the online reputations of your competitors.
- Working with influencers.
- Turning your employees into online ambassadors.
And since we now know how we should be actively seeking feedback, we have to ask – do you have any for this article?