Warren Buffet said,“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” These words capture the essence of managing your online and offline business reputation.
When was the last time you bought something or chose where to eat without reading the reviews? The answer is probably a long time. Similarly, customers rely heavily on what others are saying about your business.98% of consumers feel that reviews are essential when making purchase decisions.
In this guide, you’ll learn what reputation management is and why it’s important. Plus, we’ll review ten tactics to follow when creating your reputation management strategy.
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management can influence the way people perceive your brand. It combines tactics that can shine a positive light on your business. Reputation management goes by many names, including online reputation management (ORM), impression management, brand reputation management, business reputation management, internet reputation management, and reputation management online. Regardless of the term used, the main goal is to shape how your customers see your business.
Why Reputation Management is Important
Not so long ago, companies weren’t engaging with their customers. They were selling to a passive audience. Consumers had no way of expressing how they felt about a particular service.
However, that has changed in today’s world. Consumers can now voice their opinions and concerns online for all to see. Regardless of the type or size of your business, prospects, customers, and clients are talking about you.
They’re either tweeting about your services, commenting on your blog, or posting about you on Facebook, which is why it’s important to develop a reputation management strategy. You can see what people are saying about your business and address any concerns or negative reviews right away.
Let’s look at two examples to understand better why reputation management is essential.
The first example is the Dark Horse Café. A Twitter user tweeted about their lack of electrical outlets when 50% of their customers worked on laptops. Their response was less than ideal, with them stating that “We are in the coffee business, not the office business. We have plenty of outlets to do what we need.” Of course, this did not sit well with everyone who saw their response. Defensive and aggressive behavior is a big no-no in the online world.
The other example is Amy’s Baking Company which went after a customer after leaving a one-star review online. Things got so bad for the company that even the local news reported the incident.
The takeaway: pay attention to your online reputation. Listen to what your customers say, and respond to negative reviews calmly.
Developing Your Reputation Management for Home Services
The first step is to assess your current online image. Keeping track of your brand’s reputation is crucial. It should be standard practice even after implementing a reputation management strategy. This way, you can maintain your brand’s positive image.
Choose a search engine (such as Google or Bing), type in your business name, and see what comes up. Ask yourself these questions as you go through the search results:
- What are customers complaining about online? Are there one or more issues that seem to stand out above the rest?
- Where are the negative reviews coming from? Is it from customer reviews or published content, including articles or news posts?
- Are the claims accurate, or can they be refuted?
- Does anyone say anything positive about your business?
- What kind of online presence does your business have?
- What kind of social media presence does your business have?
- Where are your customers coming from? Is it Twitter, Facebook, Google?
You can start developing your reputation management strategy only after answering these questions. Now that you know what your online reputation is like, you need to figure out why it is the way it is.
- Try to figure out if there is anything about your online presence that can be corrected or improved quickly.
- Check to see if you’re out of touch with customer experiences and if there’s a better way to collect customer feedback.
- Is there any way to directly address any negative comments about your brand?
10 Tactics to Follow When Creating Your Reputation Management Strategy
1. Collect Reviews by Delivering Good Work
One of the best ways to boost your online reputation is to get reviews by delivering good work. Don’t be afraid to ask customers for their feedback. It’s the best and easiest way to collect reviews. Reputation management software makes the process even easier. Reviews can help to increase your SEO rankings, boost your brand’s popularity, and convert potential customers into paying customers.
2. Focus on Customer Service
Customer service can make or break you; it’s something that should never be overlooked. One negative interaction can potentially hurt your brand’s reputation. Be sure to offer support to your customers before and after they use your services.
3. Respond to Negative Reviews
Don’t ignore your negative reviews. Customers might take your silence as agreement, and future customers will think you just don’t care. Remember when Nestlé got negative comments regarding their environmental practices? They chose not to address the issue. People quickly became aggressive and posted altered versions of the Nestlé logo, which forced the company to shut down its public page.
Address any criticism as soon as possible. Don’t ignore it and hope that it’ll go away. Keep your cool and deal with the problem. Responding to negative reviews can help improve your customer relationships, build trust, and set you apart from your competitors.
4. Set a Google Alert
A Google Alert for your business name eliminates the process of searching the internet for every mention of your business name. Every time someone mentions your business name on the internet, you get an alert. This way, you won’t miss any negative remarks and address them immediately.
5. Learn From Negative Feedback
Pay special attention to everything your customers say. Learn from the negatives even if the bad service was not your fault. Even the most minor changes like updating your services or training your staff to better deal with customers can make a huge difference in your brand’s reputation.
6. Practice Transparency
News travels quickly and even more so in the digital age. Practicing transparency shows your customers that you care and are willing to change when things go wrong. Several companies endured data breaches in the past few years.
In 2020, Twitter was an unfortunate victim of a data breach. However, the brand had no significant consequences because of their transparency in the breach. Always be upfront and honest. Never try to cover things up.
7. Have Fun With Your Brand Voice
Make sure your brand voice makes you sound approachable. Think about some of the brands you follow on social media and why you follow them. You’ll see that some of the biggest brands speak with a voice that generates a specific type of feeling. Speak directly to your target audience and let them know about the team behind the brand.
8. Get Your Customers Involved in Your Business Decisions
To generate customer loyalty and manage your reputation, try to engage with your customers. Get them involved in your business decisions by conducting customer surveys or just asking for their opinions and ideas. Customer surveys are a great way to show your customers that you care about what they say and are open to their ideas and suggestions.
9. Pay Attention to Your Search Engine Results
First impressions count even in the digital world. Unfortunately, people judge books by their cover, and a bad first impression can be terrible for your business. If words like “scam” or “rip-off” are associated with your brand, you have a lot to worry about.
However, a strong SEO strategy is your best bet. It will help filter out any negative press, reviews, and false reports.
10. Seek Help if Necessary
Ask for help if you feel like your online reputation management efforts are not enough to protect or restore your brand’s reputation. Seek the help of professionals by working with an online marketing company or the best online reputation management company like Scorpion.
What To Do If Your Brand Suffers An Online Smear Campaign
According to Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
This means that people have a right to express their opinion about your brand. However, specific boundaries need to be respected. Some of the negative reviews and feedback online are illegal.
If the content uses defamatory language, reports false information, or aims to damage your company’s reputation, there are several things you can do. The path you take will depend on the scope of the problem.
Increasing your ranking in search engine results can push down lousy publicity. The first thing you should do is develop a marketing strategy that increases your ranking with positive content. It could be directly from you or third parties.
Remove False Reviews
Did someone say something that is not true about your business? Does the review focus more on destroying your reputation instead of providing feedback? Did the person use foul language? If yes, legal liaisons can make it possible to have the negative review removed.
Conduct Online Investigations
If you’re facing severe attacks on your brand’s reputation, you should hire skilled online analysts to conduct an investigation. These professionals will investigate untraceable threats and attackers via various information collection techniques, including email tracing, data cross-indexing, etc.
Let Scorpion Help You Manage Your Online Reputation
Managing your online reputation is easy. All you have to do is listen to what your customers say and find ways to connect with them. Practice transparency, deliver good work and respond and learn from negative feedback. If you need advice, contact Scorpion to help you get started.