In the online world, creating and consuming content is easier than ever before. However, in this age of mass internet adoption, people can easily misread or misinterpret someone’s words and actions.
Online reputation management is a must for all brands, not only for those who need to work on their online image.
This article will provide you with some smart tips on the things to do and the things to avoid while managing your clients’ online reputation.
What is online reputation?
Firstly, let’s define the topic of our article:
Online reputation refers to how others perceive your clients’ company on the Internet. It’s the opinion based on their online presence and depends on both their behavior and the subjective thoughts of customers.
Because of the rapid growth of social media, managing and improving a brand’s online reputation has become easier. There is, however, a dark side to this. As quickly as reputation can be enhanced, it can also be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
This is the biggest threat to every brand that just one ill-considered move can lead to catastrophe. They hired your agency to prevent exactly that. They know that fostering a positive online reputation takes time, effort, and requires well-planned strategies.
Potentially, you’re dealing with a totally different type of client; you’re still “fighting” with their ideas, and you can’t get them to see the importance of online reputation to their business.
You will no longer need to convince them that managing online reputation is vital. Show them this.
Why does every business need to manage its online reputation?
1) It improves brand credibility
You build credibility by managing your online reputation and responding to all comments, reviews, and brand mentions, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.
2) It increases sales
Most customers say that online reviews influence their purchase decision. 93%, in fact. The more positive company mentions that appear, the higher the chance of obtaining more business.
3) It boosts customer engagement
When you respond quickly to your customers’ questions and remain active online, you can keep your customers interested in your brand, and reduce the chances of switching them to your competitors.
4) It builds trust
No matter how hard you try, sooner or later, you’ll get negative feedback. However, you will build a trustworthy image that your customers will value by responding to it wisely. Silence is a reputation’s worst enemy, and we have more on that later.
5) It is easier to handle potential crises
If you have a better online reputation, it’s much easier to come back to the right track and come out of the crisis without a scratch.
Factors that affect online reputation
Now it’s time to get to know everything that must be done to manage a client’s online reputation with a clear plan. It’s not a breeze; you must have some control over many factors that have an influence on it:
- Bad reviews
- Direct messages and emails
- Social media
- Security lapses
- Spread of misinformation
- Technological issues
By providing you with several tips and tricks, we will make your job much easier while ensuring that you don’t overlook anything that will affect the positive outcome. Let’s make your agency an online reputation expert.
Here is everything you need to know about managing your clients’ online reputation
Set up a plan based on the audit
Before managing any online reputation, you have to conduct a thorough client audit. The goal is to discover how people view the brand online and what challenges the audience is facing.
Manually gathering all data is a complex process that will likely take a lot of time and effort. Even if you check each Google result one by one, it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t overlook anything important.
It is thankfully possible to perform an online reputation audit quickly and efficiently – by using a mention monitoring tool that tracks millions of sources on the Internet 24/7.
Mediatoolkit notifies you whenever your client’s brand is mentioned so you can get updates from websites, blogs, and forums in real-time and constantly keep an eye on what’s happening.
Also available are ready-made reports that let you build a strategy based on data and help you predict what will happen in the future.
Once your audit is complete, it should be easier for you to come up with an online reputation management plan and prioritize what to focus on first.
Prepare a crisis management plan
You cannot predict a crisis, but you can be prepared for one. The way in which we handle a crisis is fundamental when managing an online reputation.
What should be done to prepare for the unprepared? Generally, it’s a vast topic, so we won’t go too in-depth. But generally speaking, there are three main rules:
- Time is precious in such situations, establish a crisis team where everyone knows their roles.
- It’s easier to catch any unexpected spikes when you monitor brand mentions constantly.
- Prepare a response template, use it as a basis, but if a crisis occurs, forget about copying and pasting; each answer should be tailored to each specific situation.
If you want to find more about crisis management, check out this article ➡️ 4 Ways To Improve Your Crisis Communications Strategy
Monitor what people are saying about the brand
Actively monitoring online conversations and mentions gives you a real-time picture of what is happening around your client’s brand, giving you time to react to prevent a bomb going off, or if it’s unavoidable, to react as quickly as possible to limit the damage.
How can you monitor online mentions effectively and without much effort?
Mediatoolkit simplifies the process into three easy steps:
- You choose a keyword (in this case your client’s brand name).
- It immediately shows you all the results, so you just have to save the query, and turn on daily digest.
- If you want to set up notifications, you have to go to Alerts which allows you to set everything up exactly how you want it. You can even connect the tool with Slack and get alerts straight to your channel.
That’s everything. This way, you can keep track of things and not miss anything important that might impact your client’s online reputation.
From then on, mind the following:
Be polite and quick to react
Don’t let your emotions guide your actions. Even if the comment or opinion is not based on facts and is clearly made up, you should always be polite and respond to it kindly.
If you can’t help at the moment, at least react; silence is not a good choice in online crises. A simple “Thanks for letting us know about the problem” is better than a later response, even if the late response has more details.
Put some SEO magic into play
Successfully managing online reputation requires SEO. A brand at the top of the rankings in search engines will quickly build an image of a leader.
Determine which branded keywords have the most significant impact. Consider the search volumes for each branded keyword when deciding which to prioritize. Then, list the branded keywords that should be your top priority, and create SEO-friendly content.
Being mentioned online or having many people speak well of your product will increase your business’s web traffic and place your website higher in the organic search results.
Boost positive reviews
Knowing this statistic will help you better understand the importance of online reviews:
💡 Nearly nine out of ten (89%) consumers worldwide make an effort to read reviews before buying products.
Therefore, you should have a strategy to encourage customers to leave reviews. Using email newsletters, a small pop-up, or social media channels is a great way to get them to do that. Just be sure to thank each of them individually for taking the time to give the feedback.
Reviews are essential, and they cannot be ignored. To effectively manage your client’s online reputation, you cannot just focus on one place where customers can leave reviews; you must diversify these places and respond actively.
Respond to negative feedback
Bad reviews can have an impact mainly on the purchasing journey, as they discourage existing and potential customers from using your products and services.
More than four negative reviews increase your chances of losing customers to 70%! That’s a high percentage. So you have to do everything in your power to react to all of them. Ignoring negative reviews, or waiting too long to reply to them is the worst policy you can adopt.
When a brand responds to reviews, it shows they care about each and every one of their customers and are willing to go the extra mile to resolve their issues.
Remember that negative reviews are time-sensitive. Improve the responding time and apologize if you are wrong. Some people are willing to erase their unfavorable opinions after receiving an answer that resolves their problem.
If the review contains fake or misleading information, do not hesitate to request that it be removed. However, remain objective and calm; lay out the facts.
Learn from your critics
When we talk about negative feedback, we should also remember that criticism offers us the opportunity to learn more about the business. Therefore, do not take every bad opinion offensively. If the feedback is constructive, try to use it to improve.
This will be a valuable piece of advice for your client. It can potentially be an incentive to change the strategy slightly or improve some aspects that most of their clients complain about.
Create on-brand content
We must not overlook another key aspect of online reputation. Branding. This includes visual aspects as well as ways of communicating. Whether it’s social media or your website, your content should be cohesive and tailored to the brand and its audience.
Pick influencers wisely
Influencers, in their own way, represent the brand. That’s why it’s super important to carefully select them in order to create a coherent image with the brand.
You do not have as much control over them as you do with paid ads or your own marketing campaigns. It’s crucial that you take your time to choose your collaborators and ensure that they represent your brand in the best possible light; both professionally and naturally.
A trustworthy campaign will be able to improve the brand’s image and reputation.
85% of people say a business’ history of being transparent makes them more likely to give it a second chance after a bad experience. So today’s brands need to be transparent.
It’s risky, but not being transparent is even more hazardous to an online reputation. Businesses should increase the accessibility of information about their products and services as well as admit to mistakes instead of trying to cover them up.
Transparency with customers helps to build online reputations, increase sales, and enhance customer satisfaction.
All in all
You, as a marketer, know precisely how important the brand’s reputation strategy is, as every reckless move can irreparably damage the business’s online reputation.
After such a catastrophe, getting back to normal will take a lot of time and effort. It is both costly and time-consuming for everybody involved.
Make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your client from such a scenario, and we hope this article will help you in doing that in the future.