How Does Reputation Management Work? | Vicinus.ai
Here is a fact: Every brand has an online reputation. Your current customers talk about you and even perhaps influence your leads’ future thoughts around your product which is why reputation management is important.
So, a pertinent question that arises here is, do you want an active say in building and managing your online brand reputation? To know how, let’s start at the very beginning.
What is Online Reputation Management?
In a nutshell, Online Reputation Management (or ORM) means improving your brand’s perception in the eyes of your leads and customers. Effective ORM ensures that your prospects find the right material about your product when they search for you online.
Sounds easy enough? Unfortunately, it’s not! With the advent of social media and other digital public forums, organizations find it harder to safeguard their image. Such platforms expose a brand to a great deal of petty criticism and trolling. This is why you need a robust reputation management process.
Why Care About Your Brand’s Online Reputation?
While we know this sounds like common sense, here is why you must care about your brand’s online reputation – just as you would about yours.
1. The Internet is the First Stop for your Customers
It’s no secret that these days, people turn to the internet the minute they want information. What’s more, the majority population trusts this medium more than several others. Don’t believe us? An extensive survey by Edelman Insights revealed that two of three surfers think of the internet as the most reliable source, especially when seeking information about a business or individual.
Add to it, another study by BIA Kelsey concluded that a whopping 97% of people read online reviews before engaging with local businesses. Hence, the numbers stand firm on the fact that what unravels online affects your brand’s success immensely.
2. Know the Reputation Others are Already Creating for your Brand
Sure, you are a top player within your league and feel that you have a grip over what people say about your brand. However, this confidence can quickly sway in the other direction as mostly strangers are talking about you online, and you don’t have much control over that.
However, through a strategic ORM process (discussed below), you can influence how prospects feel about you. Perhaps, you respond to every angry customer’s grievance on a public platform or for every couple of bad reviews, get a satisfied customer to write a testimonial endorsing your offering. Effective online reputation management allows you to know the image your customers are creating and how to direct it in your favor.
3. A Brand’s Online Reputation is Hard to Forget by Customers
If your brand already suffers from a poor online reputation, don’t feel disheartened. It doesn’t have to be this way forever! Meaning, it’s not permanent if you learn to manage it well both online and offline. In fact, a bad reputation offers immense scope in the form of feedback to improve your offering or after-sales service or whichever aspect that needs work.
However, if you leave things as they are and don’t employ an ORM process as early as possible, your brand will face a severe disadvantage in terms of revenue over the long-term.
Brands that Failed at Online Reputation Management
Certain biggies with a “we’ll plan an ORM strategy tomorrow” attitude have faced grave consequences. Study them here:
An airline still trying to find its feet after the online fiasco of 2017. US Airlines was labeled ‘Evil’ on social media when the video of their security personnel ruthlessly dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight went viral. The minute this video was posted online, it gathered 1 million mentions each day across the entire social media spectrum. The aftermath of this incident caused United Airlines’ stock to plummet by more than a billion dollars.
Various customers negatively received the brand’s environmental practices. Several of them commented on the company’s public page about the same, but Nestle did not address said concerns. What the brand anticipated as a temporary phase aggravated into a wave of angry customers who aggressively kept commenting and started posting altered versions of the Nestle logo. Ultimately, they had to delete their public page.
Key Takeaway from both case studies: Don’t be in denial when it comes to your online reputation. If customers are talking negatively, address the criticism as soon as you can.
Top 5 Commandments for Building and Managing Your Brand’s Online Reputation
Consider these five commandments sacred if you wish to save your brand from tarnishing its online reputation:
1. Ensure Brand Transparency
Be transparent about the measures you take to incorporate your customers’ feedback and recommendations. This goes a long way in gaining a healthy online reputation. For instance, after receiving serious flak over raw material sourcing, McDonald’s publicly forced its egg and chicken suppliers to improve the hens’ standards of living.
2. Respond Proactively and Politely to Customers
Try to respond to every customer complaint that pops on any public forum or social media platform. Remember, an instant reply that says “we have received your complaint and will get back to you within 24 hours” goes a long way than replying a few days or a week later with more information. Also, make sure to respond with a thank you message to any customer who recently used your offering and gave you a rave review.
3. Take Action against Dubious Attackers/ Trolls
Call out illegal behavior. If you have a troll army posting false information against your brand – not a rarity, be prepared to slap them with a legal notice. You can also take the help of a digital security expert to help you figure out the main troll account mobilizing others.
4. Use Automation for Effective Online Reputation Management
With a vast number of digital platforms and portals, manually monitoring your brand’s reputation is a mammoth task. Save yourself the trouble by purchasing an AI-based software that automates your ORM process.
Remember, your brand is only as good as your customers think it is. Perception is king, and fortunately, you, as a brand, have some agency to monitor as well as manage your online reputation.
So, take our five commandments in your stride, devise an online reputation management process and put that plan into action before any negativity starts hounding your brand.