Brands can safely assume that their consumers are talking about them online, around the clock.
Online reputation matters tremendously, and companies that don’t take their online reputation seriously will see competitors moving ahead. Furthermore, they won’t get the results they expect from their digital marketing initiatives. Even the best digital marketing strategy for a brand with a poor online reputation is like frosting on a bad cake: it can only do so much to help.
Why Brands Must Take Their Online Reputation Seriously
Your brand’s online presence is everywhere. Even if you don’t have a branded Facebook account, you can be sure that people are talking about your brand on Facebook. This is not to say you have to have major presences on every single social media site. But you must be prepared for conversations to take place all over the web.
Eighty-four percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust word-of-mouth recommendations, so monitoring and responding to reviews is crucial. While you can sometimes have negative reviews removed (if they violate review site terms, for example), your better option is asking all your customers for reviews so that on balance, the reviews are positive. Disgruntled customers are all too ready to write online reviews, but satisfied customers may not do so unless you ask them to.
Word of mouth means something completely different than it did a generation ago. Today it travels at lightning speed, and a strong online reputation management strategy helps you stay ahead of the narrative and react quickly.
What to Do to Improve Your Online Reputation
Here are steps you can take to build and maintain a good online reputation:
- Deliver quality products and services for the price, because there is no substitute for genuinely being good at what you do.
- It’s not easy to be open to criticism and feedback, but people respect this type of transparency, particularly if you know how to respond in the right ways.
- Monitor the conversation surrounding your brand. There are many tools that will help you do this efficiently and effectively.
- React to feedback quickly, and politely. Addressing criticism works but ignoring it will not make it go away.
- Work steadily and consistently on search engine optimization (SEO). Being on page one of Google search results is one of the best marketing assets you can have.
- Swiftly address illegitimate attacks, such as people who post false information about your brand.
- Consider using professional reputation management services, which provide tools for monitoring, surveying, and boosting SEO.
What Not to Do
When you receive online criticism, perhaps the worst thing you can do is pick a fight over it. Every response to reviews – positive or negative – must encompass your brand values and professionalism. Don’t be tempted to generate false reviews, either. People are remarkably adept at picking them out, and it will only harm your reputation in the long term.
Mostly, however, don’t miss out on opportunities to engage with consumers. Thank your loyal brand ambassadors and genuinely try to understand people who have negative things to say. The web is more than just a giant collection of information. It’s also an ongoing, 24/7 conversation, and brands that actively participate in it discover countless opportunities to build a strong, positive online reputation.
Digital marketing is essential for today’s business, but even the best digital marketing campaigns can do little to overcome a poor reputation. By paying attention to the online conversation about your brand, practicing good SEO tactics, and responding to consumers with transparency and dignity, you build a strong reputation while ensuring maximum return on your digital marketing investments. Hangar12 is at the forefront of CPG marketing strategy and more. Subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date with our latest insights.