As the world is becoming increasingly digital, and information is more accessible than ever, brand reputation management has undergone an important evolution.
Nowadays, customers are not longer sharing their thoughts and feelings on a certain product through word of mouth. They are leaving reviews on multiple websites, sharing their negative (or positive) experiences on social media, and watching Youtube videos.
In fact, even blogs and forums like Quora or Reddit are changing the way users share information with each other. According to INC Magazine, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation.
Having said this, it becomes clear that companies should establish a solid reputation management process to ensure that they are keeping customers satisfied. And of course, in the case they aren’t, what it is that makes them unhappy, and what can be done about it. This way, businesses will be able to react accordingly, and on time.
Also, one last thing before we move on with our article. Some of the links on this blog post are affiliate, which means that I will make a small commission if you end up purchasing after clicking.
So, without further ado, let’s tap into the top tips for managing the reputation of your business adequately.
1. Monitor your Social media channels
Your brand reputation management should start with a regular monitoring of your social media channels. As social media makes it so easy for people to share their thoughts and opinions, the chances are that they will go there first if they need to vent out.
For this reason, make sure that you are regularly checking:
- Posts comments – what are people saying on your organic posts? Pay special attention to publications with more commercial nature. If people are unhappy with your product or service, they will more probably share it in a commercial post rather than a content-based one.
- Relevant hashtags – check hashtags that you use regularly, or are relevant to your business. Try to find and identify hashtags that include the name of your company to see if someone didn’t use them to share negative feedback with the crowd.
- Reactions – depending on the channel, some reactions can be a great indicator of your brand reputation. For example, LinkedIn doesn’t have any negative post reactions, but Facebook allows you to express yourself if you are sad or angry:
Additionally, social channels like Facebook have a section for Reviews, which is an absolute gold mine for understanding your brand reputation online. In this section, users can give you a rating and share their opinion directly with you (and other users):
They can also state directly whether they would recommend the company or not.
Responding on time to negative feedback is crucial. For this reason, make sure that you monitor your social media activity at least once or twice a week. Although daily would be much better!
Once you publish a post, keep daily track of the social activity that is happening on it for at least the next 3 days. This way, you ensure that you are capable of responding on time while the post is still trending. After that, you can reduce the monitoring on this post as you publish more, fresher ones.
2. Monitor your paid ads
You should be monitoring your paid ads the same way you do it with organic social media posts. A trend that I have been recently noticing is that many people purchase, remain unsatisfied, but move on until they see a new ad from the brand.
Then, they remember that they haven’t been satisfied with the product. And leave a negative comment or an angry reaction to share their experience.
For this reason, it is very important to monitor your social media campaigns for the time they are running. Of course, the point is not to get obsessed with every angry emoji or upset comment. The point is to identify the constructive feedback and see how you can improve your product, customer service, etc.
After all, companies should be capable of distinguishing constructive feedback that can help their business from people who are just being unreasonable. And trust me, a lot of people complain just because they can!
3. Identify standalone review websites
The majority of industries and sectors have standalone, reputable websites that are exclusively dedicated to reviewing products and services. They are also another golden mine for getting an overview of your overall brand rating and reputation.
Take some time to do a research and identify websites that provide valuable information for your business. Then, monitor them regularly, for example once a month or every two weeks. Some examples include:
- Capterra for tools and businesses within the software industry;
- Consumer Reports for product reviews and ratings;
- PC Magazine for hardware products and electronic devices;
And so on! Of course, these websites don’t have to be exclusively dedicated to reviews. There are websites that do this while offering other sources of content as well. However, the point is to find a reliable source that gathers opinions and ratings of users.
It is even better if they have a tool for direct comparisons, for example Capterra.
Capterra allows me to select the companies that I want to compare. In this case, the Customer Relationship Management tools of Hubspot (affiliate link) vs Salesforce.
And remember; standoalone websites should be monitored, but not addressed directly.
4. Ask for feedback directly from customers
Another important step of your brand reputation management strategy should be to proactively ask for reviews and feedback from your customers. Remember, the feedback you get is not only for attracting other potential customers, but also for your development as a company.
Don’t be one of these companies that only care about getting a few positive reviews just so they can publish them on their website. You should care about positive feedback, but constructive negative feedback is sometimes even more important. Why?
Because no one can help you improve your products and services better than your current customers. There are two ways to get real reviews from your customers:
- Offer online incentives – such as coupons and discount codes for inexpensive amounts.
- In-store incentives – for example, McDonalds offers you a free burger if you fill out their survey.
Of course, if you are working on a more personal level with your customers, you can also directly ask them for a review or feedback. This can be the case for companies in the B2B industry.
5. Planning is key
When it comes to effective brand reputation management, planning your responses in advance is key. You should be prepared to answer to negative feedback without wasting too much time. Otherwise, users might become even more unhappy with your business and your customer service.
There are some things you can do to plan in advance:
- Collect your negative feedback and divide it into sections with the most common cases;
- Have a brainstorming session with your team and/or communication specialists;
- Discuss the most precise and adequate responses to each individiual case;
- Write them down in advance in a response template so you can access them quickly;
Just to make things clear, I am not saying that you should copy and paste template responses to every user who leaves you feedback. Please don’t do that. It is not only unprofessional, but will make the user feel that you are not taking them seriously.
However, having templates that you can work on and personalize for each user can definitely save you some time and effort. Don’t forget the personalization part; your users will highly appreciate it.
6. Customer service as a competitive advantage
My next tip for a highly efficient brand reputation management strategy is to transform your customer service into a competitive advantage.
In other words, offer such an amazing and outstanding customer service that even if your users leave negative feedback, they know that they can count on you to fix it. Which will also make potential customers looking at these reviews and your responses more relaxed and encouraged to try your product.
In fact, if you offer great customer service, your current users will try to fix the problem with you first. Before venting out on a website or a social media channel. Because they know that you will pay attention to them, and they don’t need to complain publicly to get your attention.
A great example for this WordPress.com, a company that offers excellent customer service. Every time I was unhappy with something, I talked directly to them, and they spent enough time with me until the issue got fixed. They also respond immediately and offer extremely valuable help. As a consequence, I natually never complained about an issue with them anywhere.
7. Be transparent
Always be authentic and transparent when handling negative reviews. After all, brand reputation management isn’t about proving that your company is perfect, and you never make any mistakes. On the contrary; issues will happen even for the best ones out there.
Now, I am not particularly fond of the statement that the “customer is always right”. However, I do think that you should try to avoid getting into the mindset of responding to issues with excuses. Instead, respond by acknowledging the problem and providing next steps for its solution.
For example, if someone is complaining about a technical issue, thank him for the feedback, and respond by saying that your team is looking into it. If it’s a temporary issue, you can even go a step further and reply again when the issue is solved to let him know.
Of course, if the issue is personal, you can also tell him to send you a message via Facebook or by email so you can look into it together.
8. Establish a good communication
Communication is one of the most important aspects in practically any life situation, and this includes brand reputation management. Make sure that users and customers can get to you through as many ways and channels as possible.
They should be able to communicate with you as fast and easy as possible. Via chatbots on your website, on the phone, through social channels (make sure you respond fast), by email. If the user feels that he can reach you easily, you will not only improve your brand reputation, but will also reduce negative feedback.
9. Write a Blog
Another tip for an efficient brand reputation management strategy is blogging. Yes, that’s right!
Writing blog posts that are rich in content and are optimized for search engines is an amazing way to increase brand awareness and build your online reputation. It can help you build expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Additionally, you open another channel for your audience to get in touch with you. And of course, to leave you constructive feedback. They can leave comments under your blog posts and help you earn more reputation points on Google, and in front of other readers as well.
And last but not least, blogging can help you rank your brand name. This way, when users type down the name of your company to research your products, relevant content will show up on Google. Not only your website, but also other content that you are generating. Instead of reviews opinions from standalone websites.
10. Use the right tools
There are a lot of of paid and free Marketing tools that can help your brand reputation management. Some of the most popular and helpful ones include:
- Google Alerts – this tool allows you to set an alert for a specific keyword. For example, you can set an alert for the name of your own company. This way, when somebody mentions your brand name, Google will send you alerts so you can detect this content quickly.
- Buffer – Buffer is a social media tool that allows you to build your audience and grow your brand on the most popular social media channels. With this platform, you can easily create and publish content, and also monitor users’ engagement and interaction with it.
- Similar Web – this platform offers Marketing Intelligence solutions so you can discover trends as they happen. It also helps you benchmark your market and analyze audience behavior, which is great for an effective brand reputation management.
- Semrush – another platform that can help you build and monitor your brand visibility is Semrush. It provides customers with a variety of tools for Traffic Analysis, Market Exploration, Brand Monitoring, Topic Research and Post Tracking. In other words, everything you need to not lose your audience out of sight, and detect what they are saying. (affiliate link).
- Mention – another great tool for monitoring your brand online is Mention. It allows you to pin-point and detect important conversations, visualize data, and generate automated reports.
When it comes to your brand reputation management online, tools are definitely your best ally! After all, we can’t possibly monitor everything manually. Google has a huge database of millions of websites, reviews, comments and mentions. And it is just not physically possible to research and process everything manually.
I mean, you can try, but I don’t think it will be worth it! 🙂
11. Provide quick responses
Next from our tips list is to dedicate enough time to respond to comments and reviews quickly. If you plan to respond to a comment 2 weeks later, don’t bother responding at all.
Nowadays, users have become really fast consumers of practically everything. So, they might leave a heated comment or review, and forget about it the next day. Responding too late will probably have a rather negative effect than positive.
You don’t have to check everything every 5 minutes to respond in the same day. However, do try to respond within the next 48 hours after the user has left a comment.
12. Google my Business
And last but not least, our next brand reputation management tip is to keep a good track of your Google my Business account.
It is an authoritative and highly consulted source, and it is especially important for local businesses such as bars, restaurants, shops, hotels, etc. After all, it is one of the first places that users will check when searching for information such as where to eat, for example.
For this reason, managing your Google my Business account is key to maintaining a good reputation online. Respond to all reviews and comments even if they are negative, and try to do within 1 or 2 days after somebody left a review.
And don’t forget to use this information to improve your products and services. Feedback from customers is the best feedback of all! If you don’t have a Google my Business account yet, you can click here for more information.
And that was all from me, folks! I hope you liked my article on the best tips for brand reputation management. You need to monitor all of your channels regularly, and make sure that you are responding adequatelly to every piece of feedback.
I hope to see you in the next article! In the meantime, you can always leave your questions and doubts in the comments below. I will be more than glad to answer you! Also, if you need help with your brand reputation management strategy, you can send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.