What is Online Reputation Management?
Online Reputation Management or ORM is a process of creating & maintaining your or your company’s brand name online positively through Google searches, Social media sites, social networking sites, reviews, micro blogs, question answer sites, video sites & many other online platforms . ORM includes:
- Eliminate Negative Branding
- Consumer Complaint Management
- Remove Complaints
- Remove Bad Reviews
- Push Down Negative Results
- Place Positive Feedback
Why online reputation management is needed?
Here is a list of pointers why every brand needs online reputation management.
- Monitor & protect your brand image from negative impressions.
- Increase more visibility on the web. Increase digital footprints.
- Gain more customer trust with time.
- Proper and prompt responses to all comments / mentions
- Get deep insights about how your customers perceive your brand.
If you are starting an online business or for your own personal branding, then Online Reputation Management program is very important for you. The internet has become an easily accessible medium for all and that’s why there are many people who will find about you online.
If you have some negative information about your business somewhere then people will read about it and your brand value will fall down. The reputation management services make sure that people only find the good things about you so that you come out as a reputed business. It has become one of the key factors of the modern day online business where branding is very important.
Online Reputation do’s and don’t’s
It is important for online brands to maintain their online reputation. The number of users checking up for branded products and services on the internet is rising steadily. Google and other search engines often throw up reviews and discussion posts about products and services.
If disgruntled consumers take your brand apart through reviews or social media networks, potential customers will stay away from your brand. How can you douse the existing fire against your brand and also prevent future ones from flaring up? Follow this list:
- Be active about checking for your mentions about your brand, products and services online. Search for your brand regularly on the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. That way you will know where you stand. But when you find something negative about your brand, do not rush into a response. Step back and evaluate your response carefully. Some negative posts must never be dignified through a response.
- You have to ensure that you are aware of the online hangout spots of your customers. Be active on these platforms. You can connect better with your customers this way and also add to your customer base. Keep track of the mentions about your brand on these platforms. To be in the loop is to remain alert about negative feedback. In these cases as well, think over an answer before replying to an adverse comment.
- To steady the ship of online reputation, be forthright in your responses to negative criticism. You cannot hoodwink anyone in this information age. If a mistake has been committed, accept it and offer to rectify the error. That will redeem your brand in the eyes of the customer. No customer wants to fight it out with your brand. All they want is a solution to their problem. Offer it to them in plain view. That will win you others as well.
- Build up a formidable online reputation by talking openly about your achievements and the endeavors which did not really hit the mark. Be honest and transparent. Customers love to be associated with brands that take them into confidence. You will surely bag some loyal customers in the process. Add fresh content to your search engine machinery so that people get to read positive posts about your brand when they check you up online.
Infographic: How to manage your personal online reputation
It has been seen that many online business owners have this idea that they don’t need an Online Reputation Management service unless they face anything negative on the internet. The truth is that you need it from the very beginning to make sure that you start of with the best possible face for your business.
Having the reputation management services for your online business from the start will ensure that you never face any problem while putting up a good reputation online. Your image should be clean and people must find your business as the one that they can trust.
Online Reputation Management By Numbers
There are many kinds of Online Reputation Management services available for your online business. However, you can divide them in two main sections which are protective and reactive. The protective reputation management service is the one that a new business should hire to build up a good reputation and maintain it from the very first day.
The reactive reputation management service is the one that helps an online business to clear their already damaged name online. It helps a website to gain back trust after having a negative image among the internet users. The protective reputation management services are for the new and serious online businesses when the reactive services are for the businesses which want damage control.
The protective Online Reputation Management services are like image building services for your business. Cleaning up your bad reputation can never be the right approach when you have the option to build and maintain a positive brand image from the very start of your business.
The key to successful reputation is to have only good things written about you online and these reputation management services can help you to do that. They will set a plan for your business and will execute those plans to make sure that you have good name online. With so many online businesses starting every day, the competition is increasing and a positive brand value is very important to get success.
The Online Reputation Management services can only help you if your business has a strong approach towards brand building. You have to make sure that your business website is worthy and have strong contents that can attract and impress people. With these, the reputation building will become really easy for you. You must give the reputation management services something to work with.
Apart from online reputation management of your business, you need to maintain positive reputation about your personal branding too. Personal online reputation management is very essential for job search and job change and also to be safe with your present company. Find below an infographic about how recruiters screen candidates with social networks. In such case, your positive online reputation helps you to grab a great job.
Tactics to do ORM
20+ Online Reputation Management Monitoring Tools
- Google Alerts
- Twitter Search
- Social Mention
- The Brand Grader
- Review Push
- You Scan
- GoFish Digital Complaint Search
- SEO SpyGlass
- Similar Web
What to do if negative results are shown on Google Search for your brand’s name
- Get it removed either by directly contacting the site by legal help or with DMCA
- Face it with right answer and counter proof so that others can see your answer
- Push it to the back of search results by posting more positive write ups and reviews & doing SEO
- Show regular engagement.
Take care of your Brand’s IP Rights (Intellectual Property rights)
- Logo Trade Mark
- Word Mark
- book all brand name based domains
- Book/ create all brand name based social handles
Strengthen brand presence on all digital properties
- Google My Business
- PR sites
- Image uploading sites
- Misc. other digital platforms
Provide great customer support.
- Prompt response management through website
- Multi Channel response system (Facebook, Twitter , YouTube, WhatsApp )
- Proper Grievance redressal
Plan a content marketing strategy
- Research right keywords. Brand + Business or Product Words
- Prepare topics & Content depending on the analysis.
- Select right platforms for content distribution.
Track & Analyze Results
- You need to do this monitoring exercise on regular basis with the help of the tools discussed above and take necessary planning accordingly.
Social Media Marketing for Reputation Management
Learn how to use social media marketing for online reputation management. The impact of SMM on ORM. Build your brand by reputation management & social media
Marketers mostly use Social Media Marketing for branding businesses. This same platform can also be used for managing online reputation; if you are yet to leverage upon SMM for running your reputation management programs, you need to pull up your socks. When you communicate through the social networking sites, focus more on the reciprocal sides to know what people are saying about you and your brand. Such feedback is invaluable, as it will help you to figure out if someone / something are trying to damage your reputation.
The following are some applications to track what people are saying about you online:
News Alerts and Feeds:
Yes Google’s Reader can actually help you to know what people are talking about you online. We all know Google is the leader when it comes to monitoring targeted keywords. Therefore, by simple choosing Google News or Google Alerts, you can receive streaming as well as batch email reports on keywords important to you and you business. In addition, there are several online news outlets offering monitoring applications.
Forum and Discussion Board Monitors:
Online forums and discussion boards are places where people to talk about almost anything. Your customers as well as potential customers are likely to share praise or even air grievances for your brand on these platforms. To know about such discussion points and threads, you can use monitoring applications such as Boardtracker, Big-Boards, and Socialmention to see what people are saying about the topic or keyword of your choice.
Blogs are one platform where you need to keep your eyes on. Bloggers (specially the industry leaders) are often downright psychic and seem to know things even before they actually happen. But the truth is most of them are observing the market thoroughly and are aware of the trends that are likely to influence the market. Returning to our topic it is indeed essential to know how bloggers are affecting your business.
To monitor third-party blogs, you can use several applications that will alert you every time someone mentions your brand or company name in the blogosphere. Apart from Google Blogsearch, you may refer to sites like Technorati and Icerocket. Blogpulse too offers a trend tracker that helps you to know about the current trends in the blogging world.
Video and Image Tracking:
Video sites are gaining popularity amongst the Netizens and you can hardly afford to leave out this platform while monitoring your online reputation. Subscribe to video RSS feeds to know if anyone out there is posting videos about your company or brand that could benefit or adversely affect the business. Google’s Video feeds can be a good option for keeping track on videos posted by third parties.
For those who are less likely to show up in videos should keep a close eye on the online photos. Photo sharing sites and social networking sites have made the concept of tagging popular, which can be either blessing or a curse for you. The concept online photo sharing and tagging has made our world very transparent.
People are now documenting their lives with the help of pictures and sharing them with the world to see. Thus, it is more likely that your customers (both happy and those with grievances) are using such platforms to let the whole world how good or how bad you are. Almost all the leading picture hosting sites including Flickr are offering RSS feeds to help you know what’s being shown online about your business.
Social Marketing Site Tools:
There are several tools available online to help you monitor individual social marketing sites. For example, there is the Lexicon for Facebook. This keyword tracker looks at the walls as well as other areas of Facebook to help you know what the Facebook users are talking about you. For those who are more active on Twitter, there are several applications for tracking this micro-blogging site. Some of the most popular and effective tools include TweetDeck, Twhirl, Monitter, Trackur, Twendz and Tweetburner.
TweetDeck and Twhirl
help to keep you on top of this micro-blogging site using searches. Tweetburner, on the other hand, tracks clicks on your shortened URLs; thus, you can get a better traffic report for your site. Monitter provides you real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere. Twendz helps to monitor this social networking with a more complete snapshot of what people are saying about your company. This more complete snapshot also allows to see up to 70 tweets at one time. Trackur helps you to check on trends, apart from analyzing media mentions for your brand. These Twitter monitoring applications are mostly free; however, paid services are also available offering premium value.
In conclusion, reputation management is essential for branding. Apart from tracking the social mentions, it is also required to create helpful content on your site for a strategic reputation management. Also, distribute content online and participate in online discussions. Integrating a strategic reputation management through press release, forum and discussion board participation etc, will ensure that people read favorable content while searching for your company or brand. And reputation management begins with a proper monitoring of social media marketing.
Branding And How It Works In The Social Media Age – Infographic
Source – AYTM
Online Reputation Management: Go Mute after Disaster?
What should ideally be the response of online brands when disaster strikes? By disasters, we are not talking here about natural calamities or bombing attacks! We are referring to disasters and blunders committed by brands in functioning or in dealing with situations. There will be times when crap hits the fan and you have to duck for cover! Thanks to the internet, every one of your consumers has got an individual voice. They can join their voices in a raucous chorus as well through social media networks.
In such situations, how advisable it is to completely shut down the bridges of communication? Responses in online reputation management have differed from deleting the Twitter or Facebook account or brand spokespersons going on the offensive! You can pick any of the options between these two extremes, if you feel like. But online reputation management experts suggest that you do neither and look at the bigger picture. That will help you come out of the situation your brand is in with flying colours, to borrow a cliché.
The first thing you have to do is find out the cause of complaint. Was there a genuine mistake committed? If the answer is yes, admit to it and apologize to those inconvenienced. That usually resolves the issue because your consumers have a thousand other things to do! They would be happy to get it done with and move on. On the contrary, if you feel that there was no error as such on your part but a misunderstanding or miscommunication, you can get your spokespersons on the same online forums and explain the situation to angry netizens.
The third possibility is more likely to happen for most brands: angry rants by online users that do not have any real ground. Such posts are usually made by bored users or simply nasty consumers owing their allegiance to competing brands. This is where the situation becomes a little dicey. You wouldn’t want to dignify such posts with a response and at the same time, keeping quiet will allow the issue to simmer and boil over. These cases need to be dealt according to the merits of each one of them. There is no blanket rule as such. But whatever you do, do not close down the lines of communication!
Some Tips for Good Online Reputation Management
In business, there are positive and negative comments from clients. Online reputation management techniques help you make the most out of negative feedback.
As any business owner knows, reviews can make or break your reputation. This is particularly true if you have an online presence. People love to make comments about businesses and websites on forums, blogs, review sites, and even online directories. While it may be great to read all the positive things people have to say about you, the negative comments can hurt. In addition, they can be extremely damaging to your business if they are not handled properly. Online reputation management is all about taking those negative comments and making them work for your business.
The first thing to do when you come across a bad review or negative comment is to stop and think before reacting. There is no need to panic or get defensive, as this may only hurt your business more in the long run. Take a few moments to think about what the reviewer is trying to say, and think about how you can rectify the problem.
Realize that the majority of people who leave negative reviews do so because they have actually experienced a difficulty with your product or services. Do not just assume that people are trying to sabotage you. Take your clients seriously, and address their concerns accordingly. Never simply delete a negative comment as this will just look shady to other readers online.
Try to think of what the client’s problem was and how you can provide a solution. Come up with a plan of action for how to fix the situation. Once you have done this, you can respond to the client. Express your regret that the client was dissatisfied, and suggest your solution to the problem. By responding quickly to the situation and offering a solution, other clients and potential customers will see that you care about their concerns.
Once you have communicated with the client and suggested a solution, act on that solution. Do not make empty promises, as this will damage your reputation even more. Remember also that if one client experiences a problem, there may be many others who had the same problem, but just did not voice it online.
One way to improve your online presence is with social networking media. Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Digg to increase your fan base and create interest in your website and business. The more fans and followers you have, the less impact negative comments or complaints will have on your overall online reputation.
Finally, use a service that allows you to monitor when people leave comments about you. Google Alerts is a great tool that will let you know whenever someone mentions you or your business online. This way you can respond to comments and complaints immediately, before they get out of hand.
No matter what type of business you have, you are bound to get both positive and negative comments from your clients. Online reputation management techniques can help you make the most out of negative feedback, and improve your business; online presence, credibility, and popularity.
How To Earn The Trust Of Your Customers Through Social Media
Using social media channels has emerged as one of the most effective strategies for earning and cultivating the trust of customers over web. Most of the businesses believe that the best way to build relationships with their customer is by being at all the places where your customers visit and spend time.
However, this is just the beginning of the journey as there is a lot more that you have to do in order to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers. Having an online presence over major social channels is just not enough.
Whether it is in real life or the online world, strong relationships can only be developed by earning the trust of others. The breed of online users is a very skeptical one and they do not trust easily. Earning their trust is a little tricky and requires proper efforts. The bottom line to earn their trust is by communicating with them and responding them in a proper way. Mentioned below are 4 steps that will help you in earning and strengthening the trust of your online visitors.
Use Emotionally Correct Responses:
Answering the queries of your customers is very important for your online reputation but that is not how you are going to earn their trust. To earn their trust you have to respond in an empathetic and emotionally correct manner. If you answer your customers with an attitude that shows that they are just another problem for you to be solved then you are definitely not doing it correctly. On line users sense these things very quickly. Adding a little genuine concern and correct emotion in your responses will take you a long way in earning their trust.
Further, when you have solved the query of a customer and he has a really good experience in dealing with you, make it known to everybody. Remember to thank them and circulate their feedback on social networks. This will help you in connecting with those customers who might have similar problems or feelings but haven’t yet made them known to you.
Make Sure That You Deliver Right Solutions:
Paying attention to your customer’s problems and queries is important but it is more important to let them know that you are there to deliver proper solutions for all their concerns and queries. Your customers should be allowed to post their concerns and feedback on the most effective locations. These locations may be your social pages on twitter, Facebook etc or on your website. Provide multiple entry points for your community members under one roof and enable effective communication.
Different users might prefer a certain social network over others which makes it important for you to make sure that all the conversations your customers are having are accessible from anywhere your customers are. This will allow them to contact with people having similar likes and dislikes. They can easily join the conversations that they like.
Let Them Experience It:
Businesses and organizations are usually eager to propagate their knowledge and company values to customers. However, it does not reflect nicely when you start promoting yourself openly. You need to make them experience your values through your brand’s community. Setup a system to archive, organize and share conversations where all your community members can come and gain knowledge.
This does not means that you don’t have to write and share new content. Make sure that your official blog is regularly updated with new informative posts and your twitter page is sending originals tweets. You might be surprised to know that your online community is a living FAQ and you should turn it into knowledge by reorganizing the conversations.
Keep It Going:
Even after you have earned the trust of your customers your work does not ends. In-fact, they are going to get more engaged with you and your brand. You are required to perform better than what you have been delivering till now and continue your efforts in order to maintain this trust. You need go one step further and start trusting your customers as real relationships are a two way street which requires both the parties to walk equal distance.
Trust is the most important element of real relationships and you need to prove that you earned it through your efforts. Follow the above mentioned steps and you will earn the trust of your customers and keep the relationship going.
The Role of Social Media Reviews
The role of social media reviews is now more important to the seller or manufacturer than it is to the buyer. More consumers these days check up social media platforms to find out what friends and extended family members, even professional peers, think of a particular product or brand.
They tap existing consumers of a product and find out about their experience and base their decision to purchase on the feedback that they get. It is because of consumers deciding on whether to buy or not through the use of social media reviews that they become so important in the context of the seller or manufacturer.
Taking this discussion deeper, there are ways in which you can influence the consumer by taking part in this decision making process. How can you make that happen? To begin with, you will need to be a part of the social media network in an active, almost an omnipresent kind of way!
There are various tools of social media networks that allow you to be alerted each time your brand name is discussed in some forum, or discussion thread. You will have to actively come to the discussion and voice your opinions when people are talking about your brand. Now, since you cannot do that on any random social profile, you will need to ensure that most (if not all!) such discussions take place on your own social media page.
Encourage your consumers, both existing and potential, to talk about your brand, products and services on your company page. Let them have a free-wheeling chat where they can join in the discussion with their own friends and social contacts. You have to play the role of a mediator here. Do not draw conclusions or flush out the debate with a final word about any topic. Instead, let the debate simmer, boil and tipple over!
That will get your eyeballs on social media networks and also give you a good opportunity to have potential customers coming to your company page. Such lively discussions, with the brand’s voice playing moderator, will encourage people to share their appreciation and complaints on your page. You will, in turn, get a better understanding of what they are looking for from your brand. This kind of social media review churning works both for the seller as well as the buyer.
Build Up Social Media Influence
Here in this post are some ways that you can apply to step up the influence of your brand among your followers and friends on social media.
Social media influence is not something that you can buy with money. It is also not something that is procured by taking some concrete steps in that direction. Social media influence has a lot to do with how people perceive your brand. You can only offer them pointers to the best face of your business and leave the rest to their conclusions. However, there are some ways that you can apply to step up the influence of your brand among your followers and friends on social media.
Before we outline some of those ways, you have to understand the difference between influence and popularity. You may be a popular brand on social media networks but that does not necessarily make you an influential one. You become an influential brand when people are willing to go that extra yard for you. It is when you ask them to participate in a discussion or debate and they do so. It is only by building up influence that you can promote and sell your products or services on social media networks.
To build up influence, you need to pull up the trust factor. Influence does not work in the absence of trust. People must grow to trust your brand and your content marketing machinery as the authentic source of information. It does not happen overnight but gradually with time. You have to be consistent not just with excellent content and prompt service, but also express a genuine concern for customers’ problems and apprehensions. In the days of intense competition among websites battling it out in the same domain of work, trust and brand loyalty is everything.
An excellent trick to shore up influence is to do something different and unique. You have to carve out an identity for yourself. That identity must be different from anything that the users have known before. You need to work with your online brand managers to figure out that one. Cutting out a new path would also mean embracing emerging technology and trends at all points. You have to evolve with time and also ensure that your brand is keeping up pace. Influence among your social media contacts is likely to come by if you don’t know the tricks of modern online marketing.
Your New Online Reputation Management Buddy: Facebook
Facebook is growing bigger with each passing day. More subscribers, more activities and more marketing opportunities. In this mix, most online brands miss out on a very important function that this social networking giant can do for you.
It can help you in managing your online reputation. True, this is no bolt from the blue idea that you have never heard before! I do not claim credit for being the first one to bring it up.
However, in my experience of managing the reputation of established online brands, I have noticed that most go wrong in their handling of this platform. This is where I would like to throw some ideas into the ring. These ideas have worked for me and I am more than hopeful that you will find them quite useful.
Idea 1: Use of Check-ins:
Facebook has a function called check-in. It allows a page owner to find out the location of a user when they check into your page. This is a rather dormant function available on this network. But it is there. You have to do some back-end coding to get it to work for you by picking up location information through GPS. The coding is not something extensive, so it will not be a problem in the least. All you have to do is add some information about your business. By following the instructions, you can activate the check-in function.
Idea 2: Use Check-in Info:
Once you have activated the check-in function, the job becomes a tad easier. You need to check the information of users checking into your page. With this information, you can tap them to ask for feedback. Their feedback is essential, especially the negative ones. When you approach them for their opinion, you are already taking steps in the right direction. You are showing interest in these users. They will appreciate this effort you are making. When you fix the negative feedback, you will be in a much better shape as a brand.
Idea 3: Use Negative Feedback:
Just as it is important to fix negative and loose ends, you need to learn your lessons as well. Customers do not complain out of the blue! There must be some issue, either with the service you are providing or with some other matter. Sometimes, an ambiguous way of presenting content to users can mislead them inadvertently.
You may not have any idea of the misinformation you are generating in the process, leading to several users feeling shortchanged. With the use of negative feedback, you will be in a better position as a brand. You get a different and inclusive perception about your brand from these users.
Idea 4: Be Empathetic to Users:
In this competitive world, customer relationships can make or break a brand. If you do it well, you will earn some loyal customers. Similarly, you may repel people away with a high-handed attitude. Empathy is what you need. Imagine yourself in the shoes of the users.
Imagine yourself calling a customer service team for a complaint. How would you feel if the attending executive is empathetic to your problem? You would feel good about being associated with such a brand, even ignore some bloopers here or there. That is the kind of perception about your brand that you want people to have.
The Final Word
Online reputation management is hard work. You need to touch base with your customers to look at their side of the problem. Facebook offers that platform for all. You can use it for customer engagement and retention. Because this is an informal platform, you must treat it likewise.
Customers have complaints. Check any page of a reputed brand like Amazon or ebay and you will find hordes of complaints with order numbers, etc. Does that make these brands any less popular or do they lose customers? A few, yes, but mostly they are able to hold because of sharp online responses. They are quick to jump into the problem, diagnose it and fix it. Facebook has tools to help you do that. You simply need to use them judiciously.
Write in with your ideas on how to mobilize Facebook for maintaining online reputation.
Reputation Development over Online Reputation Management
Brand reputation development is far better than ad-hoc damage control by online reputation management. Brand reputation development must be an ongoing practice.
Almost every brand functioning online is now aware of reputation management. Many are spending hard cash to get their brand reputation managed and damage control handled by professional firms. I have considerable experience in working in this reputation management sector, working on brands having a global following.
During my experience on these assignments, I have noted a strange obsession among brands to jump into damage control mode at the first sign of trouble, rather than focusing on building up the reputation of the brand over time. If you work on brand development rather than simply managing it on an ad hoc basis, you have better chances of ensuring that your brand stays protected. Debajyoti Banerjee, Founder & CEO, Seven Boats
Focus on brand reputation development
After all, when you develop and nurture relationships with customers, the goodwill you earn in the process will help you tide over crises. Customers will stick to you during these times, because you have developed a formidable reputation. Before we talk about how you can go about developing the reputation of your brand, here are some other reasons why you should do it.
Genuine Positive reviews matter for brand reputation development!
For starters, around 70% of people who make a purchase online rely on reviews posted by experts as well as by other laymen users. Reviews and opinion forums have stamped their presence online because people make decisions based on how the reviews shape up for a brand. Positive reviews for a brand are essential. Remember that these are not reviews written by content writers on the payroll of a brand. These are genuine reviews penned down by actual buyers or technical experts of the particular field.
Deliver really good products & services
For brand reputation development, you cannot work your way around them or manipulate them! The only thing you can do is pull up your socks and deliver better products and services. Another concern here is the role of the customer service team. Your brand’s customer care network often makes or breaks a customer’s mind to buy or not. Reviews almost always cover a word or two about the customer care team, making it imperative that you work on having a strong work ethic here.
Focus on user experience
Now, on to the technical areas! Google is increasingly becoming a user-dictated medium. Anything that is convenient for the end user is the Gospel to Google. A brand that commands a good word of mouth publicity online, has customers who speak well of it and gathers positive reviews and feedback by the dozens will find itself on the cream of the SERP status. There are no two ways about it! You want to do well on Google; you need a commanding reputation online to achieve your goal.
Quick fixes will not work in long run
I have given you enough reasons to develop your brand reputation online and not just worry about managing it through quick fixes and patchworks. In the process, I have also discussed a couple of ways in which you can achieve a good online reputation, like pulling up your customer care team for better service. Other measures include being active on social media.
Keep a strong social listening practice.
Social media network, especially Facebook, is the new grouse box for customers! Anyone and everyone with a grudge on a brand go on these forums and post their complaints, sometimes with the docket number of a complaint registered offline. You need to address them quickly and promptly. Do not let these complaints and negativity to thrive. The most they remain unresolved, the more dust it kicks up.
Ask for reviews openly.
Just as you would work on resolving problems through the social media networks, how about getting satisfied customers to endorse your brand on their pages? In fact, after resolving an issue, you can politely ask the concerned user about a thumbs-up online through a comment to let others know about the problem being resolved! It is a positive move and one that users will not refuse, generally speaking.
Take care of your customers for reputation development.
However, according to me, the best way to develop online reputation is to care for your customers and clients genuinely. When you do that, the earnestness in your effort shines through. You will find some move or the other to reach out to them and engage them with your brand. It is not tough to do! In fact, developing reputation will automatically take care of the reputation management bit.
Your Response to Online Negativity
Before the coming of the internet revolution, disgruntled customers had nothing much to do than shoot off an angry letter to the manufacturer. Phone calls were also used to vent their frustration and sense of betrayal.
The good part was that this was an entirely personal experience. Other disgruntled customers of the same brand did not know each other and could not present a united protest. The brand dealt with these individual voices of protests in isolation so that word never went public. The internet has ripped down this cloak of secrecy and anonymity. Now, angry customers can yell from digital rooftops and also organize virtual groups to corner a brand into submission.
In other words, you need a strategy now to deal with online negativity regarding your brand. The key is your response to rants and ramblings against your products and services. First, get over the feeling of persecution. Every brand has got its share of detractors.
Sometimes, your competitors might simply be cooking up a tempest in a tea-cup to distract your attention and take away your customers. Of course, there are genuine complaints out there as well. Of the hundreds or thousands of customers, a few might feel that they are being taken for a ride. Your first reaction should never be to panic. Read and understand the complaint of the user.
Customers who have already bought your product or service will not create a noise for the sake of it. If you get your customer service department to assess the negative review and offer a solution, the customer will lap it up immediately. That puts an end to the issue!
If the complaint is invalid or baseless, you can explain the situation to the user on the same platform. Draft a sympathetic reply, assure the user of your support and explain your stance. By no means should you get into an aggressive mode and try to bury the complaint under your brand’s weight.
More often than not, it is not the user’s negative words that pokes bad publicity: it is the poor response of the brand. An honest, transparent approach is what you need in the face of negativity. That disarms your virtual enemies.
Online negativity is here to stay! You need an online reputation management team to track down and address bad press online.
Remember: what you respond is more important than the allegations leveled against you!
How Online Reviews can Affect Your Business
With the advent of business owners gradually realizing the impact of online reviews, this article will explain how online reviews can affect them.
With the given cut throat competition in the digital sphere many of the marketers and business owners are gradually realizing the impact of online reviews. We are presently living in an age where social media and other consumer generated content sites dominate the market.
Your customers are talking about you online, irrespective of your industry. Initially, the product oriented industry experienced the impact of reviews online. But now the service oriented industry has also seen its influence.
In short, online reviews can influence every kind of business. The increasing popularity of social networks and micro-blogging sites are primarily responsible for making online reviews a crucial factor for any kind of business.
Negative reviews itself is bad enough; now imagine the impact it will have on your credibility and business if the reviewer tweet or share that piece of writing with a hash tag mentioning you or your business’s name. I guess that’s more than enough to drive away your potential customers and demote your image in front of the existing ones.
Several surveys were conducted to understand the impact of online reviews on businesses. It was observed that positive online reviews motivate about 87% consumers to purchase a particular product or service.
Similarly, it was found that negative online reviews caused as much as 80% consumers to change their mind about purchasing a particular product or service or recommending the same. According to a recently conducted Neilsen poll, 70% of the people polled expressed that they trust other consumers post and reviews online.
The same also applies in influencing buyers to choose one brand over some other. Thus, it is no more surprising that sites like Yahoo! Local, Google Places, CitySearche and Yelp have gained massive popularity these days. And their members are increasing in number every second.
Moreover, statistic found that 50% of US consumers were motivated to a particular local business based on positive online reviews. Another 64% consumers trust online reviews so much that they read such piece of writing before making a purchase decision. In fact, 85% of consumers trust the online recommendations when it comes to purchasing a particular product or service.
All these figures mentioned above are more than enough to establish the impact of online reviews on your business. The good and positive ones can make your business successful, whereas the negative ones will kill it. Now the question rises, how to avoid bad reviews online?
To begin with start following up your customers soon after a deal is closed to known their feedback. Also, create an easy complaining policy and never try to be defensive as you receive the complaint. Rather, be a good and empathetic listener as well as try to solve it at the earliest.
To implement your easy complaining policy, add a complaint form on the contact us or feedback page of your company’s website. Once you receive a complaint immediately follow up with the customer to resolve the problem. Instead of ignoring online negative reviews, respond them with a viable solution. Finally, remember your communication skill is most important to deal with problems related to online negative reviews.
Getting People Online to Talk about Your Brand
Talking about your brand only through your own platforms will not cover much territory. You will also find it difficult to gather the manpower necessary to reach out to every nook and corner of the online world. What do you do in that case?
You get others to talk about your brand in their personal capacities. If a certain number of your existing customers mention your brand in their circles, you will create a lot of ripples in the water without actually throwing in a stone yourself!
To get people talking about your brand, you have to disseminate information that they will feel interested to share. For example, if you are offering a 15% discount on your products for the month of March, you have to make that known to as many contacts as possible.
Along with the information, you must provide tools for users to share this with their pals easily. No user will hunt out for a share button on your web page if you hide it among clutter! Put it out right there for people to share instantly.
Another point to keep in mind here is that your content must not be too full of yourself and your brand. Such content doesn’t interest the readers enough to share it among themselves. They take it that you have a strong PR machinery to do the promotion for your brand.
Moreover, if your products and services are marketed with such abandon, you can expect netizens to gloss over and leave the sharing task to others. Be assured in your marketing message and do not go over the top.
Always maintain credibility in your branding efforts if you want people to share your content on their own accord. People feel a sense of belonging with brands that take their opinions into consideration. Engage the people on your networks through social media polls, contests and opinion sharing threads.
When these users feel that your brand belongs to them as well that they will willingly talk and refer your products and services. This will also help you build up a steady base of loyal customers. You must note here that marketing messages that are too subtle or too in-your-face are both not ideal for this kind of online marketing. You must hit the hammer on the head of the nail and not get fancy!
Related Reading: How to Protect your Website from Negative SEO?