11 Reasons You Need To Be Doing Online Reputation Management
With the internet being at a point of near-universal reachability, reputation management becomes crucial. With 4G being commonplace, and the eventual coming of 5G, users have access to fast internet on their phones, at all times and in most locations.
A four-star review on an eCommerce platform may seem paltry compared to products with five-star reviews. When quantity increases, quality is the answer to stand amongst the crowd.
Reputation extends not only to the goods and services you purvey but also to your company’s other intangible assets. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the way you respond to customers’ complaints, the kind of ads you put out, etcetera, all add up to proactive online reputation management.
These are all very important in keeping your brand competitive and it’s perception positive.
Reputation Management: Why Should You Focus On It?
Mentioned below are 11 reasons why you should opt for proactive reputation management online.
1. Take Advantage Of Your Visibility
It is easier than ever to read about a company and its provisions online. One can just go to Amazon to find product reviews and head over to the company’s Facebook page to see how it handles negative and positive comments from its users.
It is vital that a company uses this visibility to their advantage and openly addresses the criticisms and complaints, as well as the compliments.
This kind of interactivity will only increase a brand’s relatability; the lack of can prove counterproductive. Potential consumers might consider a brand un-trustworthy if they fail to reply to complaints online.
2. Demonstrate Your Ethical Values
An enduring trend is Millennials and Gen-Z leaning strongly towards and willing to pay for brands that are ethical- in the fashion industry that lean is 87%.
With websites such as Glassdoor and Trustpilot, a potential consumer can see how the company treats its employees and how it is viewed by other consumers.
With social media platforms such as Twitter, any potential consumer can come across a positive deed done by a brand for the community, the environment, etc.
Companies hold more responsibility than ever and have to act beyond the traditional profit-loss model. A big factor of online reputation management is being proactive about bettering things around them.
3. Leverage Social Media
Everyone and their grandma is on Facebook, and this statement has now become a commonplace. Social media websites such as Facebook boast of so many users now that it has not only become a place for people to interact with each other but also for us to interact with brands.
This not only includes the top dollar brands that invest dollars to advertise but also the regular, free posts that allow potential consumers to experience the intangibles of brands and to understand brand personalities.
Social media is also an easy to access platform for consumers to address their issues and potential concerns with a company. Being a hermit brand and not being on social media might (and probably will) work against you.
Hence, being regular and proactive about uploading content is vital to online reputation management.
4. Be Mindful About The Content You Post
Consumers know when they’re being advertised to and with the power the Internet has bestowed upon them, they are only one ‘skip’ and one ‘new tab’ away from not viewing your content.
Furthermore, constant bad content and advertising will just lead to negative brand perception and hamper your customer loyalty. It is important for companies to do research on what consumers are consuming and form their content marketing strategy accordingly.
Reputation management is all about flaunting your positives and niceties to your consumers, in the way they like being addressed to.
A long drawn out speech might not work as well as a snappy short movie that talks about how your company is helping ‘X’, or how they’re changing something in production that benefits the consumers.
5. Keep Updating And Growing With Your Consumers
Consumers grow, and your brands need to grow with them. Once hailed as the challenger to the big boys such as Microsoft, today’s Apple is the big boy of the tech world.
Companies need to look at Apple on how to proactively reposition their reputation. As you grow bigger and provide new services with time, your consumers begin to perceive you differently.
Reputation isn’t merely about the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, but it is also about the ‘what’.
Like Madonna, you need to change with the decades. If a company doesn’t, it might find itself in the middle of an identity crisis. Think Apple in 2020, a Fortune 500 leader, still trying to put up its 90’s inspired anti-Microsoft ads online. It just won’t work.
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6. Hire A Dedicated Team For Your Reputation Management
Having a dedicated employee towards online reputation management is beneficial, maybe even vital.
Someone who understands your company’s personality, its approaches to hot topics, its ethics, and the Internet is an invaluable asset to your organization. This skill is a bridge of sorts that connects your offline PR to the world of a strong online presence.
Companies have begun to realize the importance of said skillset, and instead of playing catch-up, it is best that every organization begin engaging with internet PR experts to improve and maintain their online reputation.
7. Keep In Line With The Trends
The Internet moves rapidly. The next best social media platform, cultural landmark, and app are out and about at the speed of light. Tik Tok recently started promoting its brand new ad platform.
Companies who are proactive will get on board with the young social media sensation’s ad platform.
The app’s large user base will be a great place to flaunt products, services and most importantly do a good bit of reputation management on it.
By adopting new online platforms and initiatives companies can stay relevant and promote themselves online. If they don’t, their competitors will.
It is easy to gain and lose relatability online when your consumers are exposed to new brands, internet slangs, content, and social media platforms regularly.
8. Learn To Handle Negative Reviews
Some consumers and competitors aren’t as nice as others. A dirty tactic could be posting multiple negative reviews or paying individuals to do that for a competitor.
It might seem ridiculous, but it is so commonplace that there are multiple guides written on how to deal with them.
A brand that isn’t active with its online presence and reputation management, might find itself being criticized despite upholding itself to the highest standards.
Therefore, to avoid reacting to fake news, companies should be vigilant online.
9. Be Cyber Safe
The entire ensemble of that famous TV sitcom, Friends, recently started their individual Instagram journeys. Before that, however, there were multiple fan pages- individual and collected- dedicated to them.
It is easy to create an account online. In most cases it is free. While fan or consumer made pages are not unknown, they can become problematic if they start representing the company, either inadvertently or on purpose.
It is easy for celebrities to avoid this since they are always in the limelight. But companies that choose to stay away from online reputation management (or worse, the Internet in itself) might find their identities being misrepresented or even attacked by cybercriminals.
To avoid this, it is best to start your building your online presence and reputation on your own.
10. Aks Your Customers To Enhance Your Reputation
You go to a restaurant, experience a great meal and service and get asked to put in a good word on Yelp. It isn’t unheard of. In fact, it is a smart strategy to get your consumer’s opinions, especially the positive ones, online.
It varies from industry to industry, but promoting your consumers to review their experience with your products/services can help greatly with your reputation management.
This is why consumer testimonials are so common for B2Bs and online workout programs. People trust a workout program that Susan B. used to lose 20 pounds in 3 months.
Promoting legitimate consumers to become your reputation managers is very common and very effective, especially if done ethically.
11. Take An Active Stance On Issues
Coca Cola recently announced that it would be channeling its marketing funds in the Philippines towards the cause to fight COVID 19.
Even if you haven’t done something wrong, consumers expect you to take a stance. Loyal consumers especially want to know that your values are aligned to theirs.
This means knowing what is relevant in the world and openly displaying your stance in the context of those conversations.
While taking a stance on the fight against COVID 19 is straightforward, there are a lot of topics and conversations that require a ‘this or that’ view. In these times, consumers expect brands to use their following and resources to openly express their viewpoints.
It is a vital part of reputation management- brands that seemingly don’t care about the happenings of today both slowly lose relevance and trust. An approach of silence might just be taken negatively.
Reputation management isn’t just about being positive or negative, it is also about adhering to your ever-changing brand persona. How consumers perceive you and expect you to act in certain situations is all part of reputation management.
These 11 reasons above highlight the importance of maintaining your online reputation. But if these aren’t enough, do a quick Google search for the online PR efforts done by some of the biggest brands in the world.
At this point in internet history, it is less about becoming the early adopters and more about joining the ever-growing party.