How to Manage Your Brand Reputation Online
How do you guard and manage your most valuable asset online: your brand reputation?
Your business’ branding is a valuable asset. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and, when done correctly, leaves a lasting impression that convinces your existing customers to come back.
However, in an age when “cancel culture” and social media makes it easier to spread negative feedback among your target customers, managing your brand reputation has become more crucial than ever.
But what exactly is your online brand reputation, and why does it matter to your business?
What is brand reputation?
Your brand reputation is how others see your brand. You might have carefully built your own brand, but your reputation determines factors like consumer trust and loyalty.
It also affects how people see the quality of your products and services, regardless of how you view them.
For example, Customer X is looking for an online business like yours. Your ad campaigns may give you the online visibility to appear in Customer X’s search results.
But then, Customer X sees some users talking negatively about their experience from your business. This may dissuade the customer from buying from you – regardless of how well you’ve built your brand.
A poor brand reputation could cost you potential new business, as well as returning customers. To prevent this, you will need to perform a thorough process that’s known as reputation management.
What is reputation management?
Reputation management is the process of handling online factors that affect your brand’s reputation. Through this, you can bring forward factors that boost your reputation while mitigating the effects of negative factors.
When it comes to managing your reputation, a proactive approach is much better than a retroactive one. Taking the necessary steps to direct the conversations about your business, influence public perception and respond to potential reputational threats can help you manage your business online.
5 ways to manage your online brand reputation
1. Monitor your business’ social footprint
Social media has become a game-changing platform for businesses to engage with its target market. Virality, however, can be a double-edged sword, especially when your business is associated with negative content.
Some tips to keep in mind when handling your business’ social media accounts:
- Be careful about posting content related to current events. Your content could come off as insensitive or offensive.
- You can delete comments that are considered spam or violate the social platform’s community standards. But some negative comments are legitimate feedback, and deleting them will make it look like you’re trying to silence criticism about your products.
- Minimize the salesy content. Social media isn’t the best place for hard sales pitches, and the point is to increase visibility and engagement. Once you’ve established your brand properly, the sales should follow.
Also keep in mind that negative social media attention could also come from unexpected places, such as your employees. If your employee does something bad and people manage to link them to your business, the affiliation could affect your reputation.
Placing strict social media policies can protect your business.
2. Generate customer reviews and feedback
Studies show that online reviews play a major role when swaying users deciding on purchases. If your business is relatively new or your product pages have few reviews, consider taking steps to generate more reviews and feedback from your customers. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Send your customers follow-up emails after their product has been delivered. Provide them with a quick link to leave a review to streamline the process.
- Be active on review platforms such as Google and Yelp. Users who see that you’re active may be motivated to leave their own reviews.
- Avoid overly long and winded review pages. Multi-page reviews and reviews that require too many lengthy responses could dissuade a user from completing their review.
3. Respond to reviews and feedback
Whether it’s a positive or negative review, responding shows that your business is actively listening to feedback.
For positive reviews, thank your customers for their time and support. It costs your business five times more to find a new customer than to retain an existing one. Therefore, making an effort to reach out to existing customers is a simple but effective way to maximize your customer base.
Responding to negative reviews, on the other hand, show that your business is open to improvement. Ignoring comments (or worse: responding to positive comments and ignoring negative ones) gives users the impression that you aren’t open to changes.
4. Conduct risk management analysis
More people are becoming socially conscious about the products and services they purchase. Whether it’s buying cruelty-free products or supporting small local businesses, more consumers want to shop ethically.
Your business operations may have certain practices that can be seen as outdated or perceived as exploitative. If you haven’t had one yet, consider conducting a risk management analysis to find potential negative reputation factors. Address these issues to ensure they don’t harm your reputation in the future.
5. Maintain Your Product Quality
It’s normal to have one or two unhappy customers – in fact, customers tend to trust imperfect ratings over five-star ratings because they feel more authentic. But when you have overwhelmingly negative reviews complaining about similar issues about your products, it paints a picture of your product quality.
Conducting regular product quality assessments can help your online reputation. Quality control measures ensure your product quality is acceptable. From there, you can address the growing number of unhappy customers.
Why is your brand reputation online important?
Regardless of your branding strategy, a poor brand reputation outweighs any effort to build an online brand. Here are some reasons to keep your online brand reputation at its best:
- Gain new customers. New users rely on reviews and content from your previous customers. A poor online reputation can scare them away before they can get a chance to buy your products.
- Improve visibility. Your reputation affects your branding, which can improve your visibility toward your target audience. Whether you want to be seen as the low-cost option or the premium choice, you need proper branding management to achieve your results.
- Increase your sales. Minimize lost sales and improve your online standing. The right branding strategy can help you gain the right leads that can turn into paying customers.
Your brand is a valuable asset, but it can be difficult to maintain a brand with a negative online reputation.
Taking additional steps to protect your reputation protects your business and the way new and existing customers perceive your business and its products.