The Importance of Having a Winning Online Reputation Management Strategy
Businesses spend years building their reputation through marketing, gathering favorable reviews, and establishing themselves as a trusted source for products or services.
Unfortunately, after all of that work, just a couple of malicious tweets, a few disparaging social media posts, or a surge of negative reviews from disgruntled customers is all it takes to break your brand's image online.
This is the power of socially influential customers; they can make or break your brand's reputation in minutes. If you fail to act on criticism-infused posts or reviews on social media, your brand will likely lose customers, reliability, and trust.
Unless you invest in developing an excellent online reputation management strategy, your brand's stellar reputation can quickly fade away. So, if you want to build or rebuild your brand's online reputation, now is the right time to do it.
Developing a reputable online presence demands a well-thought-out strategy, time, and lots of effort. It can seem challenging and overly complicated. However, it doesn't have to be.
This article will look at online reputation management, the various types, and some strategies that can make a lot of difference to brands.
Online Reputation Management
As the name suggests, Online Reputation Management (or ORM) is strategizing to positively manage your online reputation, reducing negative feedback from customers, and maintaining a positive online presence.
By managing your online reputation, you're addressing negative comments and mentions about your brand and taking immediate positive and preventive action.
ORM differs from PR in the way both handle and achieve their goals. PR drives reputation externally through advertising and promotions. It is essentially a proactive method of handling reputation. ORM, on the other hand, is more of a reactive system. Your ORM strategies devise plans to respond to reputation attacks or damaging content on other websites.
An ORM strategy is better designed in tune with the Agile marketing methodology. Therefore, it is more prudent to develop an ORM plan, launch it, gain insights, and continuously re-evaluate and adjust your strategy based on the impact.
Is Online Reputation Management Needed for Your Business?
Every business should have a well-designed ORM strategy to tackle any unforeseen issues that arise.
For example, 3 out of 4 customers trust a brand more if it has more positive reviews. And, 60% of consumers say that negative reviews about a brand made them not want to use that business.
Having a robust ORM strategy increases the likelihood of gaining new business and retaining your existing clients.
Additionally, brands can use their ORM at every stage of the sales funnel – from building a reputation, developing awareness, driving decision-making of customers, and creating long-term trust and loyalty.
Does Online Reputation Management Matter to SMBs?
While negative mentions impact the reputation of businesses, it generally has a more limited impact on established brands compared with smaller companies.SMBs might not have as strong of a history or online presence to help them weather a storm of negative mentions. A small number of negative reviews can make up a large percentage of their overall reviews.
Generally, SBMs tend to lose more revenue and clients due to negative reviews than enterprises. Just several negative comments can stand out give consumers another reason to continue searching for more trusted products or services.
By having a solid ORM strategy, SMBs can rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages, look more reputable on Social Media, and enjoy increased conversion rates to help scale the business.
Online Reputation Management Strategies
Some of the most popular ORM strategies that have helped many brands establish a robust presence include:
Using SEO to Create a Robust Online Presence
Usually, the first search result that pops up on Google is the company's own website or brand mentions from third-party sites.
However, if your brand has many negative reviews or comments floating on the internet, you might see your negative reviews shooting up to the front of Google SERPs.
By having a solid ORM working alongside your SEO efforts, you can limit the likelihood of any negative reviews outranking your pages.
You can incorporate your ORM strategy with your Off-Page SEO efforts by getting positive news or reviews published on various sites, allowing people to write blogs about your brand, and getting active on social media.
Upgrading your Customer Relationship Management Systems
As a customer, it is frustrating to talk to multiple customer service agents and have to repeat yourself, or worse, getting the same solution - the one that didn't work - every time they reach out.
You should ensure your customer service agents have the tools they need to solve any issues your customers face. In today's age, that goes well beyond a simple ticketing system.
A good CRM should allow your team to address your customer's concerns quickly, route the issue to the proper channels, and access the customer's history so that you don't offer repeated solutions.
A great CRM should also incorporate Social Media messaging channels and provide Social Listening tools to stay ahead of any issues even before they reach out directly.
Instead of measuring the success of customer service agents on the number of calls they take or tickets they close, make sure they are measured on KPIs that track resolutions and quality of their interactions.
Finally, no customer wants to hours (or sometimes days) waiting for you to respond to their issue. And not every business can offer support 24/7 to answer every customer issue when it's most convenient for them. However, providing educational content, video tutorials, guides, FAQs, support forums, etc., your customers should have everything they need to help them solve most problems directly without waiting.
Delivering an Excellent Customer Experience
Let's face it; not every customer will be satisfied with your product or services. But that's not to say you've lost the opportunity to provide those customers with the experience they deserve.
Disgruntled customers should not be forced to air their grievances on social media sites just to be heard by you. Instead, you should ensure that any negative customer interactions, such as website comments, returns, emails, customer support tickets, or social media messages, are met friendly, hassle-free, and transparent resolution.
More often than not, disgruntled customers will update any negative reviews when you go above and beyond to provide a resolution.
The more resolutions you can provide, the more likely your negative reviews will be amended and grow your overall rating. And you'd be surprised how much revenue that can translate into; you can increase your revenue by as much as 9% for every star you add to your Yelp rating.
It's vital to provide an excellent customer experience across the board, even more so to dissatisfied customers, so that all their interactions with your business are positive and memorable. Providing an excellent customer experience will help your brand's reputation and your revenue.
Every customer enjoys great personalization - it is memorable and creates a valuable positive connection between customer and brand.
Today, creating great personalization goes beyond merging your customer's name into a subject line; you need to tailor your promotions and emails to your customer's particular needs and give them relevant suggestions or content.
You can leverage your CRM to know their preferences better, give them solutions, and understand past customer interactions. With each unique and personalized interaction with your customers, you can help build a lasting relationship.
Developing a Positive Company Culture
An unhappy employee can become your weakest link when social media is involved. But, on the other hand, your happiest employees can become your biggest brand advocates and ensure any issues are addressed if they come across one.
You should always try and foster positive working experiences within your organization. A company that promotes positivity is bound to thrive, and it's reflected in its online interactions.
So make sure you always engage and give opportunities for your team members to succeed and feel empowered to do their best work.
These days reviews aren't just for customers; an unhappy employee might also make your brand miss out on acquiring the best talent when you go to hire. On the other hand, an employee working in an open, transparent, and trusting culture is more likely to leave positive feedback on sites like Glassdoor and make great talent want to become a member of your team.
Focus On Your Content Marketing
Content marketing goes a long way in improving brands' online reputations. Interesting, educating, and helpful content will help foster communication and continuous interactions with your customers.
You're more likely to get links from authority sites, social shares, and comments and interactions by publishing helpful and relevant content.
You don't have to stick to one strategy - mix up your digital marketing strategies to deliver an all-rounded approach to content strategy.
- Provide valuable white papers, testimonials, and case studies to help undecided people make the buying decision.
- Offer lucrative sign-up offers, ebooks, and vlogs in return for access to valuable content.
- Don't stick to one format for presenting information - make use of videos, images, interactive animations, infographics, and more.
- Give your audiences stories about your brand - try podcasts or vlogs.
Thought leaders shape industry trends and take their brand's reputation further. Their expertise and experience can help create a solid online presence for your brand.
Thoughtful leaders provide valuable content, timely innovation, and actionable insights to target customers. In addition, thought leaders have the potential to convert their wisdom and knowledge into far-reaching digital assets.
Invest in Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the latest thing in online brand reputation management. By leveraging the expertise of industry experts and influencers, you can improve your brand's trust and credibility.
There are influencers in every field; you should pick the most suitable one based on your target market. Then, collaborate with the influencers to develop engaging content (that's tuned with your content strategy) to draw the attention of your targeted audience.
You can also work with micro-influencers to improve your standing in specific niches of your market. These micro-influencers have smaller audiences, but they make up in quality what they lack in quantity of followers. You can build a larger audience at a grass-root level by working with several of them.
Increasing Customer Loyalty
Satisfied customers are the best advertisement for your brand. They are happy with your products or services, and they are willing to spread the word to your potential customers - what more could businesses want?
Satisfied customers can become brand ambassadors on their own - as they can even defend your brand when reputation takes a beating.
Make use of social media listening tools to keep aware of social mentions of your brand. If you get positive reviews - don't let it pass by. Take the opportunity to build a beneficial relationship with the customer. Treat them well, maybe offer them some VIP perks, discounts, or deals. Offer them a free product to try and review.
Building a Forward Thinking Online Reputation Managemt Plan
Don't think of brand reputation management as just damage control; it is much more than that. While your ORM is somewhat reactive, it helps if your ORM strategy works as proactively as possible. With a clever, forward-thinking plan, every brand can stay ahead of any issues that arise. As a result, you can build a solid online presence, become a trusted authority in your field, get better reviews, rank higher on search, and create an engaging online conversation with your customers.
Online reputation management is not something you can put off until you are forced to deal with a social media disaster. However, by developing a robust ORM strategy that is in tune with your business goals, ensuring you are aware of the latest media trends, and working actively and proactively with your online reputation management, you can help your business thrive.