The internet search engines and more specifically, a simple google search, gives the modern consumer an unrivalled choice when it comes to products and services. Fortunately, between online reviews, social media mentions, and forum posts, it’s easy to find all the information they need on any business they’re considering buying from. If a company wants to attract customers, its online reputation can’t be left to chance.
Organisations that fail to stay on top of their online reputation management don’t know what their past customers are saying about them, which can impact a brand’s online presence. Negative search results can affect a organisation just as much as a positive search. This gives them limited insight into why potential customers are passing them over in favour of their competition. Consequently, they’re incapable of making the necessary improvements to improve their market share.
7 strategies for successful online reputation management
Deliver on your service promise
Maintaining a brand’s online reputation is less time-consuming and costly than attempting to repair a poor one. So, your foremost online reputation management strategy should be delivering on your brand promise and delivering the quality of service the customer expects.
Consequently, upon adopting this mindset, you won’t take bad reviews in isolation: you’ll constantly be asking “why did we receive this negative feedback?”. This consistent self-evaluation helps you identify the root of problems within your company. Are the negative reviews caused by a certain department? If you operate multiple sites, do they stem from a particular location? Conversely, does another site get a lot of positive reviews, and, if so, what are they doing differently to other locations?
A commitment to delivering on your initial service promise is an effective way of online reputation management strategy and prevents avoidable problems.
Determine your current online reputation
Before setting out to improve your online reputation, you need to develop an accurate picture of what consumers presently think of your company.
How are you viewed by your target market? Then, upon discovering how good or bad your reputation is, was it in line with your expectations?
Discovering how in touch you are with your potential customers is a key strategy for maximising your online reputation management efforts.
The best way to find out how you’re viewed in the marketplace is to conduct an online reputation audit. The results of your audit will help you decide which online reputation management strategies to focus your energy on, by highlighting where you need the most work.
Always ask for reviews
One of the most important aspects of your brand’s reputation is reviews and customer feedback. This is especially evident when you consider that, in 2021, 77% of consumers ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read reviews when looking for local businesses. Plus, this figure is up from 60% in 2020, which shows that online reviews are growing in importance.
Make acquiring a review from each customer part of your overall sales process. When you, or your staff, serve customers with the thought of them leaving a review in mind, you’ll deliver a better service. Now, not every customer will leave a review, but the mere habit of always asking for one every time will help maintain your service standards.
Plus, the fact you’re asking for reviews shows that you not only care about your customers’ opinions but that you don’t shy away from criticism. This shows your commitment to improvement which also bolsters your online reputation in the long term.
Respond to positive reviews and negative reviews
Replying to your online reviews, whether positive or negative, is a potent online reputation management strategy. When you reply to a negative review, the aggrieved customer feels acknowledged, opening the door for you to restore your reputation. Better still, if you do a good enough job of making amends, they might write a new review.
Responding to a positive content review conveys appreciation. It makes the customer who left the feedback feel they made the right choice in buying from you. Plus, it’s a great strategy for generating more positive reviews, as customers they know you’ll read them. Set up ways to leave reviews on your websites as well as through recognised review sites.
Launch a referral program
Launch a referral program or revamp the one you already have if it’s not achieving the desired results. A referral scheme gives you a reason to frequently engage with your target audience, whether through your mailing list or social media channel. This increased engagement helps to build relationships with both past and potential customers. This, in turn, strengthens your online presence and helps improve your online reputation.
Keep an eye on social media
Social media accounts can be such a key influence on an organisation’s online reputation that many companies employ social media managers. Effective social media management involves two aspects. The first is “listening” for mentions of your company, which is made easier with various monitoring tools. You can then reply to each mention appropriately, whether it’s a simple like or retweet, an appreciative comment, or expressing regret over a bad experience.
Secondly, you need to regularly engage with your followers. This includes posting content they’ll find valuable (or entertaining) or sharing useful posts from other players in your industry. You can also post user-generated content – in situations where a customer has posted about your brand. Not only will the customer enjoy the recognition but it’s a nice way to enhance your online reputation too.
Strengthen your SEO strategy
93% of online customer experiences begin on a search engine, so when a potential customer searches for your company, the results need to be positive. If their search results are filled with poor reviews and negative comments, the chance they’ll become a customer is slim-to-known. To remedy this, you need to make sure that first page on google is filled with content that enhances your company’s stature.
Now, while following the advice earlier in this post will get you more user reviews, those aren’t within your control. What is within your control is posting your own content regularly. This includes blog posts, infographics, photos, videos, podcasts, or any other content that’s relevant to your target audience and helps them find your company.