Effective Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation
Thursday 9th March 2023
by Beth Perrin
Effective Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation
Thursday 9th March 2023
Your brand’s online reputation is a huge part of its overall image, and plays a key role in how your business is perceived by the general public. In fact, digital service directory Gitnux has reported that a company’s reputation accounts for 63% of its market value, demonstrating just how important it is to make sure people view your brand positively. Naturally, customers won’t want to buy from businesses that are constantly involved in PR crises, are known for offering poor service and don’t treat their audiences with respect, so it’s vital to maintain high standards across social media and other online platforms, and react carefully when negative situations arise. Discover some of the most effective ways to manage your reputation below!
One of the biggest components of reputation management is Review Management, which refers to the process of monitoring and responding to the reviews your business receives from its customers. Not only should this be done on specific feedback websites such as Tripadvisor, Trustpilot and Google, but also on social media platforms that allow reviews, such as Facebook. You should take time to respond to both positive and negative reviews, thanking satisfied customers for their kind words and gently incentivising repeat purchases, and apologising to unhappy customers in order to repair damaged relationships.
A staggering 97% of shoppers who read reviews online say they also read the replies from businesses, which proves how valuable it really can be to respond. This is particularly significant for bad reviews, with 45% of consumers agreeing that they’re more likely to support a business if they see that it has responded to negative feedback.
Although it may seem tempting, you should never delete or hide negative reviews, unless they contain extreme profanity or offensive slurs, or are irrelevant spam. Responding and diffusing the situation in a calm, pragmatic manner is much more professional, and will show the customer (and other readers) that you’re prepared to acknowledge your mistakes and genuinely want to put things right.
News spreads fast on social media and it doesn’t take long for complaints and negative allegations to gain traction or even go viral, which is why having a Crisis Control procedure in place is so important. What constitutes a crisis will of course depend on the nature of your brand, but some examples include:
• A food poisoning outbreak in your restaurant
• A negative response to a controversial piece of content you’ve posted
• Sustainability concerns regarding your product packaging
• An outburst from an unhappy former employee
• A risky banter attempt from a competitor that has turned sour
• A vegan or vegetarian guest accidentally being served meat in your restaurant
95% of business leaders say their crisis management capabilities need improvement, so if you feel like yours are lacking, you’re not alone. However, assembling a plan will put you one step ahead of your competitors and will mean you’re prepared if a potential PR disaster strikes. It can also help put your team’s mind at ease, and will lessen the sense of panic that often occurs when something goes wrong.
Another way to keep track of how your brand is perceived is to carry out regular Sentiment Analysis. This involves gathering all of your brand mentions - both direct and indirect - and sorting them into three categories: positive, negative and neutral. It’s typically conducted by AI-based NLPs (Natural Language Processors), but over time, we’ve found that these types of systems often lead to inaccurate results. That’s why we developed Human Insight, the first ever Sentiment Analysis service run by real people, not bots!
Our team can manually assess the sentiment of your brand’s incoming comments and messages in order to build detailed reports that clearly show how your audience is feeling about every aspect of your business - from the quality of your products to your standard of customer service. You can then use this data to make powerful changes to your business that will lead to a higher positive sentiment and an improved reputation.
Social data is often treated as a marketing-only resource, but sentiment reports can be shared with other departments within your business too, such as brand and area managers, operations, customer support teams and more. In fact, 71% of social media marketers say they are able to share their insights with other departments, showing how Sentiment Analysis can really have a company-wide impact.
Similar to Sentiment Analysis, Social Listening is another essential task which involves monitoring selected words and phrases across social media to see what people are saying about your brand and industry. This can be done manually (by simply searching for keywords on each social platform on a regular basis), but it’s best to use a dedicated Social Listening tool which will notify you whenever a new mention pops up, so you can action it straight away.
Remember, not everyone who mentions your brand online will tag it directly, so Social Listening is a great way to pick up any comments that you would have otherwise missed. Plus, you can track competitor-related keywords too, in order to discover how your business compares to others within your sector. Are they offering a product that you aren’t? Is their standard of customer care better or worse than yours?
Being mindful of the types of content you’re publishing and sharing on social media is another great way to maintain a positive reputation. It’s the first thing people see when they arrive on your page, so it’s important to ensure that you’re creating posts that align with your brand values and represent your business in the best way possible. Posting inappropriate, offensive or unrelated content - or content that’s full of spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and low-quality imagery - will give off a poor impression and lower people’s opinion of your brand. 45% of consumers will actually go as far as unfollowing a brand because of irrelevant content, so it’s best to steer clear of this.
Similarly, being inconsistent with your tone of voice can also damage your reputation and weaken your overall brand identity, so you should make sure you’re following the correct guidelines at all times. If multiple people are publishing content on your page (or if you have lots of individual pages for each of your business locations that are being run by different teams), check that everyone is using the same style and tone in their posts to guarantee consistency.
If you’re not sure how your brand is perceived online or if there are any areas in need of improvement, it’s a good idea to get an unbiased opinion from an outsider. This can be achieved by enlisting the help of an external agency to conduct an audit of your social media pages. This will give you access to expert skills and insights that you and your team might not possess - after all, you may be doing something that is negatively affecting your brand’s reputation without even realising! This could include unknowingly breaching GDPR laws by asking customers to publicly share their personal information, or accidentally posting copyrighted media.
As you can see, there are many different ways to manage and protect your online reputation - and the more of these processes you carry out, the higher your chances of maintaining a positive brand image across social media. Not only will this build customer loyalty and increase confidence in your products and services, it will also give you a competitive edge over other businesses in your industry, allow you to recruit top-tier talent and ultimately increase your revenue.
Concerned that your brand’s current reputation is deterring prospective customers and fans? Contact us today to find out how our team can help you get back on the right track.
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