Managing Your Online Business Reputation: What to Know
Just a decade ago, your online business reputation might have been handled by a public relations company.
But nowadays, online business reputation is usually handled in-house or with a specialized online reputation management company.
And every business should be aware and proactive about managing their business reputation online.
Nearly every company does business online. This makes it more important than ever to manage your online business reputation.
Here’s what to keep in mind about effective online reputation management in today’s world.
What Is Online Business Reputation Management?
Online reputation management includes a variety of areas and steps. It includes anything from monitoring online chatter and responding to customer concerns to implementing strategies that will promote your firm in a positive light.
The Facets of Online Reputation Management
There are many facets of online reputation management. Each of them must be maintained simultaneously. This is why many companies choose to outsource their online reputation management to an expert company.
Here are the areas to consider with complete online reputation management:
Publicity includes things like media outreach, media relations and investor relations. This might take the form of print ads, event appearances and radio interviews.
Partnerships include things like tie-ins with charities, community outreach projects and co-branding with other companies.
For example, a mattress company might partner with a bed sheet maker. On the other hand, a juice maker might partner with a company that makes blenders.
Social media is an important factor of any online business reputation management strategy. This includes managing your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and more.
Because it’s nearly impossible for you to manage all social media platforms at once, hiring an online reputation management company is essential.
Contact creation ties into online business reputation management because it is a great way to leverage positive messages about your firm. It’s also a powerful way to influence public perception. You may create content in-house or outsource it to an online reputation management company.
Your content may include anything from current reviews, webinars, videos, podcasts, and testimonials to behind-the-scenes info on employees and management.
Paid media includes assets like Facebook ads, Facebook sponsored posts, Twitter cards, sponsored tweets and more. These all have a powerful influence on your online business reputation.
The downside is that paid media costs can add up very quickly, eating into your marketing budget.
Each of these elements offers you ways to influence your online reputation and public reaction. This is where managing the online business reputation really comes into play.
Managing Your Online Business Reputation
When it comes to managing your company’s online reputation, you or your reputation management company should complete the following steps on a consistent basis:
Audit Your Online Business Reputation
You should develop metrics to measure your online reputation. Perform audits of your reputation on a regular basis.
Thoroughly review what the public says about your company. Determine how the public views your brand and figure out the challenges you need to face and how to overcome them.
Monitor Your Brand
Strategize Online Business Reputation Management
Build a strategy to manage your online business reputation. This includes setting up specific goals, defining what kinds of resources you need, figuring out the focus of your online business reputation strategy and prioritizing tasks.
As you can see, strategy development is very complex and takes time to complete. This is why a lot of companies outsource their online business reputation management.
Determine the Tone
Whether you DIY your online business reputation management or outsource it, you need to determine the tone of your customer responses.
The tone of voice coincides with your brand. For instance, if your brand is lighthearted and humorous, your postings and paid media should reflect that.
Create Policies and Guidelines
Finally, you need to create policies and guidelines. This is usually done by the company’s executive management team. Everyone involved in strategy implementation will adhere to the policies and guidelines established by your executive team.
Handling Negative Reviews
Every business gets negative reviews at one time or another. There is no way to please everyone at once. No matter what you sell, product or service, there will always be people with something bad to say about it.
The important thing to know is that negative reviews are manageable. And, remember not all bad reviews are bad. In fact, many believe there’s no such thing as bad press.
Of course, it’s very important that negative reviews are taken care of in the proper way.
Here is how to handle negative reviews:
When you read something negative about your company, you may have a knee-jerk reaction and want to respond as fast as possible. However, it’s really never good to overreact or be impulsive. What do you really want to do is to think about things; typically overnight.
This will give you a calm head so that the negative review can be responded to objectively and clearly, without emotion.
See the Other Side
When responding, always see the other side. The first thing to say in any kind of response to a negative review is, “I understand,” or “we understand.” This lets people know you are listening to their concerns.
Even if the negative review is completely off base, you need to be perceived as a company willing to listen to anyone.
Don’t Place Blame
Another thing to remember when responding to negative reviews is that you should never blame the customer.
For example, you should never say that the reason they are unhappy with your product is because they didn’t use it right. Never blame the customer.
Keep Public Responses General
Don’t get into a back-and-forth with the customer. Instead, keep your responses very general. The place for dedicated customer service is in private email correspondence or over the phone, not in a public forum.
Respond to the customer in public, but deal with the problem in private.
Offer to Solve the Problem
Everyone likes to see your company stand behind its brand. If you have a customer complaining about your product or service, be sure you offer to solve the problem. This will make people have more trust in buying your product in the future.
Everyone who reads the negative review will see how you respond when faced with an unhappy customer.
The tone of voice for all customer responses should be friendly, calm and focused. Don’t use strong language or exclamation marks.
Emotion can always be seen the wrong way when read by others. And you don’t want it to appear too upset about a bad review.
Finally, you always want to follow up with customers who left a bad review. This is always the case when you have gone out of your way to fix the problem. When you follow up, ask the customer to update their review or their comment.
Now you’re not only taking care of the problem, but also making sure the customer is satisfied, going forward.
A positive online business reputation is essential for any business that wants to be successful in the long term. If you would like help with your online business reputation management, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.