A brand’s reputation can be difficult to maintain and manage as it is subject to a number of factors, including social media interactions, Google search engine results, customer reviews, and more. But reputation is one of the most valuable marketing asset for any business.
In this article, we'll break down the importance of reputation management for your business and offer helpful tips on how you can get the most out of your reputation management strategy.
Let’s delve in…
What Is Reputation Management?
Reputation management essentially refers to the influencing, controlling, or enhancing of a brand’s or organizations'public perception or image online.
A solid reputation management strategy, therefore, is designed to protect and grow your company's online reputation.
It can be done by monitoring online mentions, creating a positive online presence, engaging in conversation with customers and clients, taking steps to eliminate negative reviews, and more.
Why Businesses Need Reputation Management
The goal of any effective reputation management is to create positive perceptions about your company that will drive engagement and generate leads.
The more a potential customer likes your business, the more likely they are to purchase from you. Why? Because people typically buy from people they like and trust.
If potential customers and leads see positive information and reports about your company, they will be more inclined to make a purchase from you.
On the other hand, if reports about your business online and offline are mostly negative, customers will shun your business altogether.
A company's reputation can, therefore, be seriously damaged by negative feedback from customers, clients, employees, or even investors. For example, reputation problems may arise when a supply chain is disrupted and it affects the public negatively.
Moreover, employees may also share sensitive information with the public that could harm the company in the long term. It is, thus, strongly advisable for organizations of all types to invest in an effective reputation management plan to protect their brand.
Stages of a Reputation Management Strategy
There are at least three stages of reputation management:
- Pre-Sale (before a sale takes place), where your business needs to create positive conversations about your offerings online and offline to build trust and interest. Because potential customers are more likely to trust and purchase from businesses that they like, you need to create positive conversations about them before they buy.
- During the Sale. Monitor what people say about your business not only after a sale takes place, but also during the sales process. Manage what people say about your business’ sales process online and offline and ensure they have positive sentiments and do not leave negative comments about your company that could hurt the business.
- After-Sale. This is where you follow through with messages of appreciation and recognition for customers’ conversion or purchases, making sure to ask the customers for feedback/testimonials immediately after they purchase a product or service.
Tips to Optimize Your Reputation Management Strategy
Reputation management entails much more than simply responding to negative comments on social media. It's also about managing the conversation and generating positive content to counter the negative information. This can be done through strategic social media marketing (SMM) that includes blogs, videos, infographics, memes, and other social media posts that people find useful. Adding links to those social media posts can also help boost the company's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords.
Moreover, when it comes to improving customer experience and manage people’s impression of your business, you can use social media for customer service. Asking customers to call or email for support is not enough because they will often encounter long wait times, limited availability, and poor response rate when contacting an organization's customer service department, which can end up damaging your brand’s reputation. But by using social media to engage with customers and answer their questions, your company can effectively respond to customer queries, increase satisfaction with your brand, and boost sales at the same time.
In addition to creating, sharing high value online content and using social media for customer service as well as taking surveys and polls, social networking is another effective strategy to build positive sentiments for your business. This includes hosting webinars and engaging with fans and followers on social media and other digital platforms to help your brand gain positive exposure and create a personal connection with leads from the comfort of their homes.
While there are no hard and fast rules and no one-size-fits-all solutions that work for everyone, all your social networking engagements must be authentic and deliver value. Some social networking platforms may be more effective than others for certain industries or companies, so experiment with the various networking platforms to find the right one for you.
If you want to increase your company's success, then reputation management should not be overlooked. In fact, it should be a top priority. If your company’s reputation is great, it will attract more clients and drive more sales. That will mean more growth for your company.
You can hire a company to manage your company's reputation, or do it on your own. Either way, when you manage your reputation well, it will be a strong foundation upon you can build a successful business. Just remember to be true to your company's values and ethics, and develop good relations with everyone you do business.