A guide to online reputation management

Every company, big and small, has an image to build, protect, and preserve. But managing an online reputation is no easy task. Here are three tips to help you avoid being eaten alive on social media.
16 July 2018

In today’s digital world, brand reputation has taken on new meaning and is significantly more important than Philip Kotler previously suggested.

Pre-internet days, if someone had something bad to say about your business it would probably stay between their close circle of friends and family or maybe their neighbor down the street.

But with the rise of social media, as well as the introduction of review sites such as Google Reviews, just one customer’s opinion can have a major impact on how the world views your brand.

It is well acknowledged in the world of customer service that a happy customer will only tell a handful of people about their great experience, while an angry customer will tell everyone and anyone who will listen.

With this in mind, managing your online reputation is vital. When customers are faced with making a decision between one company and another, online reviews play a massive role in their decision making. In fact, 88 percent of shoppers are now using online reviews when making a purchasing decision,

Here are a couple of simple strategies to help with your online reputation management. When it comes to taking care of your reputation, you have no choice but to be proactive or risk being eaten alive on social media.

1. Review monitoring

A proactive, ongoing approach to monitoring your brand reputation is needed to understand how customers are viewing your brand.

Google Alerts is one of the quickest and easiest tools to do just this. With this handy tool, you can monitor when your brand name is mentioned online. Google enables you to set up an alert that goes straight to your inbox, containing a link to where your name was mentioned.

To ensure nothing is missed, set up an alert for different variations of your business name, your different products, as well as your clients

Are you keeping tabs on when and where your brand name is mentioned? Source: Shutterstock

Social media monitoring tools such as Google Alerts allow your company to gather public online content from a range of platforms. From this, you can analyze this feedback to see if there are any significant patterns to learn from.

Failing to monitor social networks and review sites could result in you missing out on the opportunity to immediately respond to negativity. This could very quickly lead to a small situation, that could easily be solved, to spiral out of control.

2. Prompt reviews

As mentioned before, customers are much more likely to go out of their way to leave a bad review than a good one.

In order to ensure that your online brand presence is the best it can be, it’s important to encourage your customers who value your services to leave a positive review.

To do this, you first need to make it easy for your customers to do so. Ensure that you set your business up on third-party sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook.

Many companies also use an incentive-based strategy to encourage customers to write reviews- after all, a fair bit of time and effort goes into it.

Consider offering your customers coupons or discount codes in return for their feedback. Or perhaps host a monthly giveaway, where you choose a winner from the pool of customers who have submitted reviews.

3. Respond to every review

Negative comments left unchecked can spread like wildfire on social media. Responding quickly is the best way to minimize the damage caused.

But this isn’t a time to lose your temper or snap back at the customer. Letting your customer know that you have acknowledged their concerns as well as updating them on your efforts to address them is vital.

For more complex scenarios, you should strive to take a more personalized approach, encouraging the customer to direct message or call to resolve the matter more efficiently.

Taking the conversation offline and dealing with the issue one-to-one is the best way to minimize reputational damage.