If you own a business in our modern world, you know that it’s no longer a question of whether you have an online presence or not. It’s now a matter of what that online presence is. You need to understand how people perceive your brand and whether online reputation that perception matches the one you want established. It’s not wise to just let things fall where they may when your online reputation is involved. Businesses can’t just let other people determine what their brand is, they should be the one on top of it controlling the story.
This is where online reputation management comes in.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management is the practice of taking charge of a brand’s reputation on the web. It involves constant monitoring and making sure that the perception of a business stays on the favorable side by boosting positive content and decreasing the visibility of negative content.
Why is online reputation management important?
Everyone is online these days. Them have social media accounts, your competitors have a website, and your prospects are cleaning discussion boards for product reviews. There is no getting out of the ability of the internet and how it’s get to be the ultimate source of business for a lot of brands.
Studies have shown that 75% of potential customers check reviews first before they make a purchase and four out of five of them choose the competition after reading one bad review. That’s 70 percent of new clients lost due to a possibly mismanaged online reputation.
Take control of what them see online , nor let others — your unhappy customers or competitors — do it for you. Or it’s 70 percent of your new clients out the entranceway before they even reach it.
How do you go about managing your online reputation?
There are a lot of details involved in successfully plotting and performing a good online reputation management strategy. Depending on how large ohio state university physicians is and how much of a presence you already have online, the amount of work and time needed will change. But the three things that are consistent no matter what when dealing with managing your brand’s online reputation are: 1) establishing where you currently are reputation-wise and your goals, 2) fixing any damage and working on accomplishing your goals, and 3) making sure you keep the goals you’ve reached.
Determining Your online Reputation
Before performing any steps in managing your brand’s reputation online, it’s important that you figure out what the baseline is so you know how much work still needs to be done. Here are some important questions that will help drive you towards an excellent start.
What is your audience saying about you?
The most common sources that determine the opinion about your brand are blogs, discussion boards, social media, and review sites.
Go to these places online and type the name of your business to see the results. Are they mostly complaints about your service or product? Do they show your brand in a positive light? Is your website on the first page of search engines or are other sources shown first? The results will give you an idea on the your potential customers see and what their first impression might be when researching about you.
It’s important to note specific quotes and complaints or praises so you have a more concrete idea on what you’re being perceived online. This will also give you a more round view of your online reputation goals.
What are your reputation goals?
The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland said it best when he told Alice, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead you there. inch
The same truth applies to reputation management. You can’t try to be general about your goals. “I want a better online reputation” will not do. You need to be specific in what you want to occur. Is your business being bashed in discussion boards? Plot a game plan on how to combat that. Does the competition continue posting not true reviews about you? Discover a way to make them stop. Does your brand need more positive reviews? Get strategizing to encourage happy customers to share with you their experience with you.
It also helps when you partition your goals into immediate ones versus the mid-term and the long-term. That way, you can prioritize better and can audit your triumphs more clearly.
Is it necessary to conduct a reputation audit?
Yes. Again, you won’t know how far you’ve come if you don’t mark where you started. Write down all measurable information about your current reputation online, compare it to your goals, and set a game plan on linking the two. Probably the most common things you can measure in your audit are:
Your brand’s average customer rating on review sites
The number of good success on Google when searching for your business
The number of likes you have on Facebook
The number of complaints your help desk receives in a specific period of time
Your brand’s Klout Score
These are just examples of measurable data you can base your goals and strategy upon. It’s also necessary to be sure you set a timeline for these items so you know how often to conduct your audits and adjust any items needed.
Doing Online Reputation Damage Control
Now that you’re clearer on the the problem is and what your goals are, it’s time to do some damage control. Consider the following questions when putting out some shoots related to your online reputation.
Can you remove negative reviews?
It depends. If the reviews are posted on your space — your Facebook page, website, or Youtube funnel — then you have the last say on the content gets to stay. You can remove anything negative about your brand and push the more positive comments on top of the pages. Some online individuality do this with the purpose of encouraging only positive ideas on their spaces, especially in the comments place in Youtube. You really can’t responsibility them. Youtube is popular for having probably the most bad commenters in the whole world Wide Web. If the strings are not moderated, it can get quite ugly.
However, you need to be careful when deleting negative comments and reviews. There’s a difference between removing a mean note from an online troll to removing a valid criticism from a customer. The former is understandable and usually necessary. The latter can send the wrong message to your audience — it might be interpreted as censorship and can have a negative effect in how your brand is perceived.
In this instance, it’s preferable to allow reviews stay — as long as they’re not disrespectful — and just respond to them. This can be a great opportunity for you to give your audience a first-hand look into how your business handles criticisms and customer complaints.
How do you respond to bad reviews?
Very professionally. Here’s a helpful guideline when replying to negative reviews online.
Focus on the main issue and gear your response towards it. Some reviews can just on since one of the reasons why customers write them is to vent out, so you need to be the one to hone in on the specific cause of the criticism. When you have dissected it, construct your reply with that issue as the main focus. This will easily simplify the conversation, mood the emotions involved, and save everyone’s time.
Do some background research. Arm yourself with as much context as possible the patron’s issue. If they’re whining about a delay in their order, check the appropriate department and confirm the order info. If they’re unsatisfied with how your help desk handled their previous issue, feel the documentation and see what else has been done. Don’t reply without getting all your facts first. It’s also important that you find out if the issue is an singled out or recurring one so you take the right steps in making sure it doesn’t happen again.
Be well mannered and serious. Apologize for the issue and thank the customer for spending some time to let you know about it. Beginning with something simple but genuine like this should go a long way to making your customer feel better.
Identify yourself. Make sure the customer knows who you are and how you’re associated with the company. This will tell them that the right people are attending to and they’re being taken seriously.
Be prompt. Nothing gets upset customers more upset than when they think they have been ignored. Always make it a point to reply to complaints within 24 to twenty four hours. You want to make sure your side of the story is heard way before other people control the story.
Maintaining Your online Reputation
Performing damage control is not enough when you want to be consistent in managing your online reputation. When you have put out the more critical shoots, it’s essential that you have a plan in place that focuses on the upkeep. In online reputation management, being reactive is only good if you’re catching up. After that, the goal is to be aggressive. That means monitoring, tracking, and constantly updating.
Can you prevent any more bad reviews?
Realistically, you can’t — if you do not tirelessly censor every mention online that puts your business in a negative light. In which particular case, you should probably stop because it’s not a very productive use of your energy.
There will be someone who won’t be very impressed with you or your product or your service, and they could easily get very music about it. You can’t really stop them from doing so, but you can mitigate the damage those reviews can cause.
What are the ways of minimizing the damage from bad reviews?
Regulate the story. Since you can’t control exactly what people say about you, then it’s better that they talk about you where you can see them. This means inviting the conversation to occur in your space — your Facebook page, your website, or your Twitter account. If you have no ZYNGA page, create one. If you don’t have a buyer feedback form, publish one.
If there’s a way to directly address the business when there’s an issue about their service or product, most consumers uses it. Only when that’s inaccessible will most of them resort to grumbling on their personal ZYNGA account or going on a Twitter rant. You don’t want them to do this. You want the conversation to occur in your space not only so you’re updated but also to make sure you have the capability to moderate it.
Boost the positive. Post regular updates on all your spaces that put your business in a positive light. This does not only mean good reviews, but basically any situation that reinforces the standard of your brand. Share helpful articles related to your industry, distribute funny images that also make your audience think, update your status with pertinent information on anything your audience will find useful. Do this regularly, so your prospects and current customers find this first in your spaces and not the bad reviews.
Monitor and track. Don’t allow your reputation get away from you anymore. Set up tracking and monitoring for your brand, business, and keywords to make sure that you’re informed any time anyone says something about you online.
What’s the best way of monitoring and tracking your online reputation?
The goal now is to be on top of the conversation. You’re already aware of the audience opinion and have done some considerable work into repairing any damage caused by any lack of online reputation management. At this point, you prefer to be kept informed and just using basic Google search is not going to cut it anymore.
You now need the big guns. That means one tool or software that’s designed for online reputation monitoring. How these usually work is you set up the tool with the keywords you want administered — your business name, your competitor’s, the keyword for your industry, etc. — and the tool will send you an alert when these words are pinged, giving you to be able to deal with any issue as soon as it pops.
What features do you need in an online reputation monitoring tool?
Real-time updates. Look for a software that you can configure to send alerts as soon as you get an online mention. Many will only send you one email a day yet others will need you to log in the software to access your signals. These are acceptable methods of everyday routine monitoring, but if you’re dealing with a launch or something time-sensitive where you want to be alerted as soon as someone mentions your brand or name, then it pays to already have real-time update capability in your tool.
Unlimited keywords monitoring. This means you’re looking for one tool that lets you arrange it with as many keywords and names to track as you think necessary. The most common limit is five keywords per account, and that won’t do when you’re tracking not only one business and its competitors and keywords, but others as well.
Unlimited results. Some tools have a cap on what many results they can send per month depending on the package you’ve purchased. You want the software that will send you as many mentions as your keywords can generate.
Direct links to your mentions. For easy access, you will want tool that takes you to where your keyword was pinged without you having to leave the tool itself.
Capacity to track all over the internet. You want your tool to be able to scour Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, blogs, discussion boards, news sites — you get the idea. There’s no point of paying for something that only tracks news sites and ignores the discussion happening on social media. You’ll want access to all.
Do you also need to focus on good reviews?
Definitely. They say you need at least five good reviews to deal with one bad one. Find those good reviews as well. Be approachable to happy customers. You want them to post about their positive experience so your prospects don’t just get influenced by those that wrote bad reviews.
How do we get individuals to post positive reviews?
You can do it directly or through some other subtler ways.
The direct method would be to offer your products for free in return for a review. Of course, it doesn’t usually follow that the experience for the reviewer is going to be positive, but if you’re confident as to what you’re offering, chances are they’ll be writing something good about you. You can also have competitions or ads where the winner will write something about the product. This will work not only to obtain more positive reviews for your brand, but as advertising as well.
A more roundabout method of encouraging your happy customers to post about you is making social media sharing buttons prominent on your online spaces. When you write a new writing or record a new Youtube video, close it with similar to: “Have a tale to share with you about our product? Email us, leave a comment, or post your story in our Facebook page! inch Most of the time, your audience want others to know how much they like your product, they just need to be reminded.
The rising popularity of social media and the internet has made online reputation management a necessity for all kinds of businesses. It’s not just a amusing phrase marketers throw around anymore. It’s become an essential part of how you take care of your brand. Be wary when it comes to protecting your online reputation. Know what people are saying about you and make sure you have the tools that will help you track your brand and manage the conversation. Remember, bad reviews will influence prospects and can cost new clients while aggressive reputation management will engender loyal consumers and invite more. Give your brand’s reputation the focus and work it deserves.
Caelan Cheesman is an expert on business reputation and lead generation. You know how important reputation management is for your business. The next logical step would be to do something about it.