The Beginner’s Guide to Online Reputation Management:
Every business owner knows that maintaining a positive brand reputation is critical to building trust with new customers. 89% of shoppers read reviews online before making a purchase, and the Internet offers unlimited opportunities for shoppers to praise or express their displeasure. For this reason, smart brands are turning to online reputation management to control how their business is viewed online.
Online reputation management is all about keeping track of comments, mentions, press, and other ways in which your business can be found online and creating response plans that paint your business positively. Think of it as a light public relationship: managing your company’s image (on a smaller scale) and building a story about how it relates to its customers.
Overcoming the negative and cultivating a positive online reputation can be a daunting task. Fortunately, we’ve put together this handy guide to starting and maintaining an effective online reputation management strategy so your business can achieve a positive online presence.
It’s important to remember that your online reputation depends on your relationship with your customers. Before customers go online to discuss your brand, make sure you provide top-notch customer service so they always have positive things to say. Also, work on building a positive brand community on social media to build a following of brand advocates who will be inspired to post positive posts on your behalf.
At the end of the day, there will always be people who will not be satisfied regardless of the quality of service you provide, as well as people who want something your company cannot provide. Your goal in managing your reputation is to show customers that you care about what they have to say and that you are willing to work towards a positive solution.
Step 1: Check Your Existing Online Reputation
If you are a new company, great! You will likely not have an online reputation and can move on to.
step 2. However, if your business has been in business for some time, you should assess your business’s existing online reputation and make plans to resolve it.
a.Find all your existing business pages, accounts, and listings.
You can do this with a simple Google search for your business name or your business name + “comments”. The first few pages of the search should give you an idea of where customers are finding information about your business, whether it’s through their social media accounts, online business directories, third-party shopping sites like Amazon or eBay, or review platforms like BBB. Pay attention to what people say about you: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
B. Get access to all the accounts and pages you can manage.
You should already have access to your social media accounts and all shopping sites included in your omnichannel strategy. If your business is listed on a directory or review platform, many of these sites allow you to “claim” an existing listing of your business so you can update it.
ç. Make sure your listed company information is correct.
Address, phone number, email address – all these details must be consistent for each account. Having a consistent logo and business description, where allowed, will also increase your brand’s credibility.
d. Decide how to address existing concerns.
If you’re not tracking customer reviews or reviews on a specific channel, we recommend that you only respond to comments posted in the past month. This will allow you to start working on more recent recoverable situations and avoid reminding disgruntled customers of old negative feelings they may have since forgotten.
Step 2: Develop a plan to track new offers and reviews
Adding reputation management to your strategy leads to an influx of new businesses to check. Make a plan before you go into the woods so you can ensure consistent visibility and timely response to any questions or concerns.
a. Determine the bandwidth for reputation management.
Maybe you only have one hour a week to review a new company, or maybe you have an employee who can spend 30 minutes a day. Maybe you can only control a few channels or you want to control as many channels as possible. Make a plan for yourself and check the shadows regularly so these activities don’t fall apart. In the meantime, keep an eye on how often new deals occur – you may need to tweak your strategy as you become familiar with how often your customers interact.
B. Set alerts to be notified immediately of any new activity.
Enable notifications for comments, posts, and reviews on social media sites that allow it. Also, set up Google Alerts for your business to notify you of new online listings. Most review sites will email you when a new review arrives, so be sure to enable this setting. You can even set up a review tracking service like Yotpo to manage your reviews.
ç. Be prepared for frequently asked questions, comments, or complaints.
If there is a specific aspect of your business on a regular basis, create a summary in advance that you can use to answer each question. For example, if your service provider is having problems, save a summary like “Thank you for sharing this valuable feedback! We are aware of delivery delays and are working with our delivery partners to resolve the problem.” What to use if you start responding to your social media pages in an emergency.
d. Plan for negative prints.
One of the best things you can do for your business is prepared for the worst. Develop a contingency plan and notify clients of a major change or respond to negative allegations, including who will be handling communications (your marketing team? A PR or reputation management agency?) And the best channels to communicate. If you are prepared in advance, you can ease the panic now.