If you’re not keeping tabs on your brand’s online reputation, you could be shooting yourself (or at least your brand) in the foot.
An online reputation comprises various strategies to shape the world’s perception of your brand online. If handled correctly, you’re able to build brand trust and impact consumers’ purchasing decisions in a positive way. In other words, a good online reputation supports your bottom line.
Think of it as your brand’s first impression for potential customers.
If you’re not on top of how your brand is perceived online, you could be losing out on customers and sales.
The following are 10 tips to improve your brand’s online reputation and put your best foot forward.
Start with an audit
Before anything else, you need to understand where your brand’s online reputation stands right now.
Thoroughly review all online reviews, and while this can feel overwhelming with so many potential places for customers to review you, keep it simple by beginning with the top four review platforms where consumers typically do their research on you:
If you’re in a specialized industry that has an industry-specific platform for reviews, include that as well. For example, home-improvement brands will want to keep an eye on HomeAdvisor.
Of course, we encourage you to also Google your brand to see where else it might be popping up, just to cover all your bases.
Once you’ve compiled all the review platforms and reviews, double-check that all business contact details, location information and operational hours are up to date.
Then, look at what customers are saying. What is the ratio of positive-to-negative reviews? Are there far more positive than negative? If you have multiple locations, is one location standing out in a positive or negative way? Have you responded to all reviews?
Really assess where your brand is at perception-wise. Knowledge is power, and this information will fuel your online reputation strategies moving forward.
Keep in mind that you can set up Google Alerts to inform you of brand mentions online and more.
Decide on a review strategy and start replying
Now that you know where your customers are reviewing you and what they’re saying, it’s time to implement a review strategy for all relevant review platforms.
Perhaps you set a weekly time to regularly check for any new reviews. This would be the minimum effort we would recommend. If possible, turn on notifications wherever you can so that you can reply to all new reviews as soon as possible.
You should respond to every review regardless of whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. And timeliness is a factor to be aware of. You’ll want to thank customers for positive reviews, but you definitely don’t want to leave a negative review festering without some sort of response.
Not sure what to say when it’s negative? Always view it as an opportunity to deliver amazing customer service and turn that experience for that customer around. (It’s definitely not the time or place to argue with the customer.) See our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.
Encourage happy customers to review you
Unfortunately, a customer is about 21 percent more likely to leave a negative review after a negative experience than a positive review after a positive review.
You must consistently work against that tendency by asking your happy and satisfied customers to share their experiences online. There are numerous ways to do this. Here are just a handful of ideas:
- Offer incentives, discounts or cash rewards for customers who write reviews.
- Send email follow-ups to customers requesting a review with a link to make it easy.
- Have your employees remind happy customers to review you and explain the benefit that positive reviews have for your business.
Monitor all relevant social media platforms
Of course, you can’t properly manage your online reputation without a thorough plan involving social media.
First, consider all the platforms where your brand has a presence (an account, in other words). Then, think about any platforms that might be used by your customers, where they can post about you regardless of whether you have an account or not.
For example, if you only have accounts on Facebook and Instagram, that doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t tweeting about you (for better or worse) on Twitter.
You’ll need to embrace social listening, which is not just about monitoring what is being said about a business, brand, person or topic on social media. It’s also about acting on it. This can involve engaging with commenters or even adjusting brand strategy.
Learn more about social listening and how it’s different from social media crowdsourcing.
Prioritize your SEO tactics
Search engines can be a huge source of organic traffic to your website, but they also serve as research vehicles for consumers to learn more about businesses, products, services and so on.
So, your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy must be on point.
Ideally, you not only want to rank for the keywords that would help drive consumers to potentially purchase from you. You also want to rank for branded keywords that reflect your online reputation for consumers. In other words, you want your brand’s positive mentions ranking above any potential negative mentions.
And remember that blogging regularly showcases your expertise that will only benefit your online reputation, especially in search engine results.
Develop a public relations strategy
Earned media definitely can improve your online reputation, but it can take a little extra effort.
The extra effort involves a public relations strategy, which is all about promoting your brand’s inclusion in related articles, TV segments and more in the press.
Earned media is not to be confused with paid advertising. But leveraging press releases and connecting with local media outlets and reporters could lead to your brand earning some new coverage over time.
Work with influencers who have great online reputations
In the simplest sense, an influencer is anyone with a digital following (or audience) on a social media platform (but not necessarily) whom you’d like to attract.
The purpose of influencer marketing involves increasing brand awareness, targeting new and niche audiences and increasing impressions and reach.
This makes it a great vehicle to improve your online reputation because you’re leveraging the trust consumers have for an influence to boost your brand.
Monitor customer service complaints
Even though online reviews can take a lot of your focus, don’t forget about the complaints that are being given to your company directly.
How these complaints are handled can often impact resulting online reviews, though.
Depending on the size of your business, you may need a tool, such as Invoca, to help you stay on top of a high volume of call center or customer service department interactions.
Understanding what complaints are coming in can help you fix anything that isn’t working as expected as well (and prevent future complaints).
Keep track of your competitors
While it’s important to understand your own online reputation, you can take the next step by understanding that of your competitors.
Are they receiving mostly positive or mostly negative reviews? Are they responding to them? How are they responding? What are their customers saying about them?
Find out more about what a competitive analysis is and how you can start yours, as well as 16 tools to make your competitive analysis easier.
Commit to resolve recurring issues
At the core of successful online reputation management is the commitment to resolve any recurring issues to improve your brand’s buyer experience.
Consider the information (positive and negative) that you receive from customers as a critical piece to this commitment. If you keep your customers happy, you’ll prevent many negative online reviews from even happening.
It’s no easy task, but your responsiveness will serve your business beyond just your online reputation. Think about it: How many potential customers simply disappear because of a less-than-ideal experience and never return, whether they made a purchase or not? It’s important to get ahead of the issues and continually innovate what your brand can do better.
As you begin exploring your brand’s online reputation, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.