Rules of Effective Online Reputation Management | Vicinus.ai
What the internet says about your brand is not gospel truth, but for countless prospects, it may be. This is why having an online reputation management strategy (ORM) in place is critical. After all, a whopping:
You can imagine the damage negative reviews can bring to your brand.
Besides making your customers vulnerable to being poached by your competitors, research shows that a single negative review drives away 22% of prospects.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Remember how you whitewash your dirty walls periodically, and they become as good as new. An ORM strategy gives you a chance to change the way your brand is perceived online.
At its surface, ORM seems like just a way to manage your company’s reputation. But, the deeper you go, you realize that a reputation management plan is indeed the key to improve your business practices that result in happy customers.
How Does It Work?
You begin by putting together an online reputation management guide, which lists all online channels or platforms where your brand may be exposed to reviews and testimonials.
Once you have all the possible information avenues in place, you begin monitoring and managing your brand’s online reputation. How? We’ll get to that in the next bit of this article.
For now, here is an infographic that lists out all the possible channels you may need to manage to improve your brand’s online reputation.
Remember, this is an exhaustive list of platforms where your brand must appear in a positive light. Not all channels may apply to your brand per se.
The 4 Rules for Effectively Managing Your Brand’s Reputation Online
You may not realize it, but you manage your online reputation when you respond to customer complaints on social media platforms, get happy buyers to leave a testimonial on a public forum, and so on.
Consolidate these haphazard occurrences into an effective reputation management strategy by following these five rules.
1. Draft a Reputation Management Guide
Even before you check out what prospects and customers are saying about you through reviews or testimonials, establish a few guidelines. Setting a blueprint or ORM policy document will help your team know which reviews to respond to and the ones to ignore. It will also help them figure out the maximum time they can take to reply and the appropriate manner of response.
Make sure also to list out a protocol or escalation process in case a reputation crisis hits. Believe us, it happens! Here are a few questions you must provide answers for in your ORM guide:
- What should be the response time?
- What kind of wording must you use when replying to an angry customer?
- Who is the designated authority or spokesperson in the case of crisis management?
- Should you opt for automated responses?
2. Engage with Positive and Negative Reviews
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you but,
Reviews act as a guide for potential buyers looking to rely on a brand. Also, when you get rave reviews, Google ranks your website higher, which boosts your brand’s visibility.
The point is, adopt sound business practices and offer exceptional after-sales support to earn rave reviews. And, never forget to thank a customer when they leave a positive review on a public platform.
While it’s true that negative reviews can seriously hamper your online reputation, what is likely to prove worse is if you ignore them. Quickly responding to an unhappy customer online, owning up to your mistake, and rectifying it, will go a long way in inspiring trust.
3. Audit Your Brand Reputation Regularly
Conduct an extensive online audit of your brand once every six months. Doing this will help you figure out:
- How people perceive you online
- Challenges you face when engaging with customers on a digital platform
To monitor your reputation:
- Open a browser in incognito mode and run a search for your brand.
- Look at the top sites that appear on the results page and the impression created by them.
- You will likely find ratings for them on the results page. Carefully read through the customer reviews for these ‘more popular’ sites to see what you are doing right or wrong.
4. Create Quality Content and Actively Distribute It
This is the last but in no way the least of the ORM process steps. Creating high-quality content about your brand plays a significant role in its positioning. Use content marketing to educate your prospects on how your offerings help them and other issues they care about.
If you have a sound content marketing and distribution strategy in place, you can positively influence customer perception and boost your online reputation.
You see, gone are the days when things like brand image and reputation building seemed matters of consideration for bigger corporations. Today, if your brand, big or small, wants to thrive in the market, you must ensure your customers feel positive towards it.