We all strive to do our best in business, however maintaining a solid online reputation can be difficult. Sometimes a smouldering issue sparks a PR storm. Luckily if you have a crisis comms and online reputation management plan in place, the damage caused to your brand reputation can be minimized.
What is Online Reputation Management in Digital Marketing?
Online reputation management is one of the most important components of your digital marketing strategy. ORM, or e reputation, is how a company, product or service is viewed and perceived on the internet and across digital platforms.
Research shows that online reputation plays a prominent role in a customer’s journey from consideration to purchase. 78% of consumers say that social media posts influence their decision-making process, and 54% of people use social media to research products. These numbers clearly reflect that your digital footprint and reputation can have an impact on the bottom line.
Why Online Reputation Management is Important
In today’s digital ecosystem, online reputation is the new currency. Whether you’re a hotel in Winnipeg or a bustling manufacturing plant in Brandon, what online reviews say about your business can swing the pendulum of your business fortunes.
Imagine this: A customer has a bad experience and leaves a scathing review on your Google review site. Without proper ORM, that review can trigger an avalanche of negativity. With effective ORM, you can address a negative comment or review and turn the tide of public perception to your favour.
Keep in mind, a positive online reputation can boost your SEO, and make your brand the first thing customers find in a Google search. A bad online review can bury you deep beneath your competitors’ websites.
How to Monitor Your Company’s Online Reputation
Since online reviews can sway new customers to try your business or scare them off. Here’s some ways you can handle online reputation management for your brand.
Check Social Media (comments, replies, dislikes)
Social media is where everyone has a voice and they’re not shy to use it. Facebook and Twitter are popular social media platforms, but they aren’t the only ones. It’s a good idea to regularly search your brand name or product on various social media platforms including Instagram, Reddit and TikTok. This will give you a valuable glimpse into what people are saying about your brand.
Some businesses perform their own social media scans, while others hire a social media manager or partner with an online reputation management company for help.
Look at Message Boards like Reddit
Message boards and forums like Reddit are the digital equivalent of town hall squares. People gather around topics that they are passionate about. These platforms are goldmines of unfiltered opinions. Scrutinize these threads relating to your industry or brand. This will provide you a valuable snapshot into a raw, unfiltered view of consumer sentiment of your brand.Participation is key; strategically addressing concerns can turn even the vocal critics into brand ambassadors.
Navigating the Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints is like scanning a ledger of grievances and resolutions. This platform is often the last resort for disgruntled consumers seeking justice. Therefore, each complaint should be treated with utmost seriousness and care. How you resolve these issues is not just about making one customer happy, but about demonstrating your commitment to service excellence to future customers who might read these records.
Google Ratings are like the open-market feedback of the digital world—everyone sees them, and they can influence consumer’s decisions. A good rating is like a badge of honour, while a low rating can be a scarlet letter for your brand. Regularly check these ratings to gauge the public sentiment. Encourage happy customers to share their positive experiences. When faced with negative ratings, respond with grace and a willingness to improve. These interactions are public; they’re a stage where your customer service skills are on full display.
Product reviews on platforms like YouTube or your online store is like a megaphone that captures each customer’s experience with your brand. They’re personal letters from consumers broadcasted for the world to see. Video reviews on YouTube bring the added dimension of visual testimony, adding weight to the words spoken.
Meanwhile, written reviews on your business offer a quick scan of customer satisfaction. Together, they are the yin and yang of product feedback. Watch and read these reviews regularly, respond where appropriate, and use the feedback to refine and evolve your offerings. Remember, every review is a chapter in the story of your product, and you want to ensure it reads well.
Online Reputation Management Strategy
Conducting business as usual is no online reputation management strategy. You have to be both proactive and reactive. Respond quickly and succinctly, while also creating a future game plan. The following tactics will go a long way in repairing and strengthening your online brand image.
Addressing Negative Feedback
Picture this: a negative review pops up. Instead of hitting the panic button, respond with empathy and reach out to the disgruntled customer with your corporate email.
This will show you are listening to their concerns and taking the matter seriously. This tactic also is intended to take that conversation offline and into a more controllable situation for you.
Refrain from getting into disagreements with the person online and take a softer approach. This lets customers know you care and are listening to their concerns.
Amplifying Positive Feedback
Now for the fun part. When customers are excited about what you do, make sure the world knows about it. Showcase and celebrate them as enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand. Use easy links for sharing their kudos, and high-fives for reviews in the form of a thank you. This technique will create a vibe of positivity that others will want to be a part of.
Address Customers Before They Make Public Complaints
The majority of customers and clients are reasonable people. If they’ve had a negative experience with your company, they’ll reach out and ask for refunds, or assistance. This is your opportunity to make things right before the situation escalates.
Swift, empathetic, and effective resolution of issues can often prevent customers from airing their grievances on public platforms, which is essential for preserving an image of reliability and responsiveness. Furthermore, this proactive approach can lead to valuable feedback that can be used to improve products, services, and customer experiences, driving customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Online Reputation Management SEO
SEO is a powerful online reputation management strategy. It’s defined as search engine optimization. SEO is the art and science of making your website attractive to search engines. And as a result, your company’s website ranks higher and is seen by more people when a particular topic is searched.
The top result in any Google search gets nearly one third of all traffic. Being a top result is a great way to build trust, strengthen your reputation and eventually convert leads. There’s no question that SEO is a great long-term reputation management strategy.
Professional Online Reputation Management Specialist
In the digital age, the significance of maintaining a positive online image is crucial to your business success. But sometimes, managing this on your own isn’t enough. That’s where the expertise of a professional Online Reputation Management (ORM) consultant is helpful, and it’s an investment that will pay dividends.
At Solv Communications, we do more than offer temporary fixes. We provide long-term strategies that enhance your brand’s resilience against negative press and bad reviews online. Solv brings to the table a wealth of public relations know-how. Our extensive PR background means we’re adept at not just addressing issues but foreseeing potential challenges and acting proactively. We will help you shape the narrative of your brand so that you stay in control of your online story and reputation.