One of the most important tools for business branding and for countering negativity is acting on and monitoring of online reputation.
It is important to consider reputation management as part of a greater marketing strategy since negativity - whether it's a bad review, a customer or competitor hosting a .sucks site with your name or Tweets about your business - can spread like wildfire online. Let's explore some ways to use online reputation management as a marketing strategy.
Managing Competitor Jabs
It is not uncommon for competitors or their employees to tarnish your reputation online whether it's in the form of advertisements that name you directly or them replying to social media posts in a snarky manner. Industry experts and in-house marketers can "listen" to inbound messages about your business and strategize how to proceed.
Some end-users may find online competitor banter entertaining and funny while others may deem it inappropriate and childish, a brand will need to think twice before engaging.
Building Trust in the Market
The majority of consumers use online reviews to help make purchase decisions. Unless the reviews are unfounded and businesses strategically reply to them, businesses cannot thrive today with bad reviews haunting them. They need to learn how to handle negative reviews, consider outside help like through an SEO agency and, in some cases, create marketing collateral to combat the reviews.
Taking Steps to Manage Your Reputation
Companies can manage and guard their reputation online by following certain techniques. There are certain strategies that you may implement:
Automating the process of reputation monitoring is an effective way to manage a company's reputation. For this, you may set up Bing and Google alerts for the brand name. When the name of your chief executives or your company is used, you will get an alert via the email.
Using a reputation management tool (many are free with limited features) can help streamline the number of incoming brand mentions and help reply to them quickly.
Offering the ability for customers to leave feedback on non-public forums such as through surveys, forms, emails, social messenger services and other channels means feedback is submitted directly to you rather out there for people and the search engines to find. If it's left in a public forum, ask for more details via a private message.
Asking satisfied customers to leave a review on your Internet review portal like Urban Spoon, Facebook, Google and Yelp will help surround the negative reviews with positive ones.
As an online business, it's important to monitor and act on negative reviews and competitor messaging. For the former, a humble response to a bad review can save your reputation and encourage new customers to still do business with you. Don't let your online reputation get out of hand though, consider experts who can actively manage your digital presence for the betterment of reputation and revenue.
About the Author
Mary Arnold works with Sand Crest SEO where she brings several years of SEO expertise, assisting businesses in building online goodwill.