The Internet is a vast, mostly unending repository of information and opinions. Accordingly, any brand operating online must acknowledge that its brand reputation is at risk of being either positively or negatively influenced by this virtual world. How your brand is perceived by potential customers can have a major impact on the success of your business ventures. Even if you’re a local business with only regional reach for now, your brand needs to be equipped with the right strategy and tactics to combat any negative press and ensure your company comes across in the best possible light. If you need proof that having a positive online reputation is beneficial, just take a look at the example set by companies like Google and Apple. Their positive reputations have helped them thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace where consumers are quick to adopt new brands they see as trustworthy and reliable.
Build a Solid Foundation for your Brand’s Reputation
Before you start engaging in reputation management, you’ll want to make sure your brand has a solid reputation to begin with. For example, if your business has been in operation for a long time, but the products or services you offer haven’t evolved with the times, you’ll have a harder time earning positive feedback from customers. Even worse, consumers may be quick to write off your brand due to outdated offerings. If your business is relatively new, you can still build a positive reputation. However, you’ll need to do so in a more aggressive fashion compared to established brands. That’s because you’ll have to overcome a lack of brand equity with a more aggressive push of positive reviews and testimonials.
Monitor the Online Reputation of Your Brand
Before you get too far into managing your brand’s online presence, you’ll want to start by monitoring it. In order to do so, you’ll need to actively search for any information about your business online. Start by setting up Google Alerts to track articles published about your brand. You can also use third-party monitoring services like Trackur or Brand-Your-Business. This will help you stay on top of any newsworthy events involving your brand, as well as any online reviews. When actively monitoring your online reputation, you’ll want to keep an eye out for both positive and negative mentions of your brand. This will help you get a better sense of what customers are saying about your company, as well as the type of sentiment they have toward your company.
Develop a Strategy to Manage Bad Reviews and Comments
Now that you’ve identified all mentions of your brand online, it’s time to decide how you’re going to respond to each one. When managing your brand’s reputation, you’ll want to consider your company’s overall strategy. For example, are you a B2B business with a target market that’s very active on social media? In that case, you should use those platforms to create a more personal connection with customers. On the other hand, if you’re a B2C company that relies on more traditional methods of marketing, you’ll want to be very careful not to overstep any boundaries. After all, you don’t want to end up crossing a line with customers or potential new clients.
Establish a Culture of Transparency
The best way to manage bad reviews and avoid potential PR nightmares is to be transparent about all aspects of your business. That includes anything from your pricing and offer details to the way you operate as a company behind the scenes. As you’re formulating a strategy to deal with bad reviews and comments, you’ll want to be very careful not to be too apologetic or defensive. Instead, you should be upfront with customers about any issues they’re raising. This will help you maintain a positive relationship with the public. For example, if you’re receiving negative comments about a problem with your billing system, address the problem head on and explain how the issue is being addressed. This will show customers that you’re being honest and open with them, which builds trust and can help mitigate any potential damage to your brand’s reputation.
Be Careful with Paid Advertising
As you’re managing your brand’s online reputation, you may decide to invest in paid advertising, such as Google Adwords or Facebook ads. While these platforms can be incredibly beneficial for generating leads and driving sales, they can also be risky. If you’re not careful, paid ads can lead to negative reviews, which can impact on your brand’s reputation. You’ll want to be very careful about the type of language you use in paid ads and the imagery you select to represent your brand. You might want to avoid using language that’s too sales-oriented, as it may come across as aggressive to potential customers. This can lead to negative reviews, as well as potential damage to your brand’s reputation. If you’re not careful, paid ads can lead to PR headaches, so be sure to keep an eye on your advertising strategy as you work to manage your brand’s online reputation.
Showcase the Good Work You’ve Done
As you’re managing your brand’s online reputation, you’ll want to be sure to showcase the positive work your company has done in the past. This can help you to generate positive reviews and testimonials that you can use to combat any negative remarks. For example, if you’re a retailer and you’re receiving customer complaints that your customer service is lacking, you can combat this with positive examples of the work your employees have done in the past. You can also leverage positive publicity you’ve earned in the past. For example, if your company was featured in a local publication, or you were a part of a major charitable event, you can use this PR as a way to counter any negative remarks about your brand. Just make sure you’re being consistent with how you’re showcasing your brand’s good work.
In today’s world, a business cannot survive without a strong online presence. In fact, many would say that a brand’s online reputation is even more important than its physical storefront presence. That’s because customers can now research and shop with ease from the comfort of their own homes. As a result, they’re quick to adopt brands that they see as trustworthy and reliable. Therefore, your company’s online reputation has a major impact on its success. Even if you’re a local business with only regional reach for now, your brand needs to be equipped with the right strategy and tactics to combat any negative press and ensure your company comes across in the best possible light.
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