Are you in control of your online reputation?
Updated: Jan 25
Online reputation management has gained prominence in recent years and more than just a buzzword(s), it has become a crying need for brands now. And rightly so. Without an ORM plan, an organization opens itself to various threats, with no way to effectively deal with them. If not handled well, they can even lead to a PR crisis.
If you are a start-up or a brand that wants to improve its online image and build a positive reputation, then here are a few ways to do it.
Don’t ignore your website
A top-notch professional website is a must-have to set a good first impression. People tend to visit a company’s website while seeking accurate and legit information. Therefore, remove old, irrelevant information and update email address, phone number, physical address as well as links to your social media profiles. Have a dedicated section for queries and complaints. Showcase testimonials from clients/customers as well as any positive media feature that you were a part of. All of this will help you build credibility and trust, which is extremely important for building and maintaining a good image.
Use content to your advantage
Begin with adding more content on the internet. It’s important to have positive information about you because that is what will build your online image. Depending on the type of industry you are in and the kind of image you want to portray, think about leveraging content marketing to boost your PR activities. Upload quality content on your blog and optimize it to make it more search engine friendly. If you find online queries related to you or your industry, then provide an answer. Q & A forums like Quora are great for increasing your visibility and improving brand recall. You can show your expertise through guest posts and thought leadership articles as well.
Respond to online reviews
Respond to as many reviews as you can, both good and bad. Customers respect you when they feel respected and replying to their complaints or praises is a good start. It shows that you care about them and what they have to say. In fact, according to the Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal, 71% of consumers are more likely to use a business that has responded to their existing reviews. There are a few things to keep in mind, such as thanking them for reviewing and always being professional. Another point is to not promise anything unless you are confident about delivering it. If you do end up promising something, stick to it and follow through.
Social media needs more attention
We have no control over what people post on social media, therefore be active to have some control of the conversation. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, there’s only one rule: engage and respond. People tend to put up their complaints on Twitter for the very reason that it is public and they'll get a faster response. Have a separate customer service account, dedicated to handling complaints if you have to. And, it’s not just complaints. Using Instagram’s sell feature, brands can now list their products in the posts. Naturally, followers will enquire about them. Therefore, be quick to respond lest they may lose interest or worse get offended. The best way to never miss any social media activity related to your brand is to use social listening tools like Hootsuite and Buffer that let you view all the comments, messages, and mentions across all social channels as well as allow you to respond to them through a single dashboard. Not only can you know the engagement rate but also the sentiments that are driving the engagement. Knowing the ‘mood’ of your audience will help you tailor your responses and better your marketing and service/product offerings.
Brands do not operate in a vacuum. Being a public space, the internet has leveled the playing field by giving everyone the chance to speak their mind. It’s a grave mistake if you are not taking control of your online reputation and without an ORM strategy, you are only a crisis away from losing it all.