Online reputation. It goes by many names. Clout. Fame. Hype. Whatever you call it, it has become one of the most important currencies of the 21st century. Business corporations would spend millions of dollars on maintaining their online reputation.
Your company’s branding and reputation are crucial to the success of your business. If you want to make it to the top of your industry, you must pay close attention to how your audience views you.
This article is a comprehensive take on online reputation management and why your company should not ignore it.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is the process of establishing a positive online stature. Your reputation matters now more than ever. As of July 2020, studies show that over 4.57 billion people across the world are active Internet users. That’s about 59% of the human population!
There is no denying that the world wide web has become a dominant part of our lives. With such a powerful tool at our disposal, it would be a shame if your business does not use the Internet to the fullest extent.
Deciding to bring your business to the digital world opens up millions of possibilities for your brand. You exponentially extend your reach to the farthest corners of the world. The Internet dissolves boundaries set by location. A company in New York can potentially reach users from Russia, Zimbabwe, and even Antarctica. As long as they have an Internet connection, your company can reach them.
Be warned. The Internet is a double-edged sword. As much as it can help you build your company, it can also bring it down. Your digital marketing strategy’s success depends on your online reputation. How your audience perceives your company affects your customer’s purchasing decisions.
With everyone watching your brand’s every move, you need to take great care to avoid the ire of the public. Cancel culture is a thing now. A negative online reputation can bring down even a business empire.
This is where Online Reputation Management comes in. Businesses all over the world are investing resources in manufacturing a positive narrative. If you want to succeed, your brand name must be associated with consistent branding and positive online reputation.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management
Wondering if it’s worth investing in an online reputation management campaign? Here are some of the benefits that companies enjoy from a positive online reputation:
- Increase Brand Awareness
With active online reputation management, your customers (or leads) are able to recall and recognize your brand even under different conditions.
- Generate An Online Following
One great benefit of social media is that you can form groups of people and generate a cult following. Just take a look at the Kardashians and think of how great it would be if your brand has at least 1% of their follower base.
- Improve Customer Relationships
Engaging with your customers online fosters a positive relationship. Remember to use a polite, friendly tone so as not to offend anyone. You want to be helpful and offer support every step of the way. Listening to customer feedback also helps improve your relationship with customers.
- Establish Brand Authority
A famous brand thanks to perfect online reputation management is always associated with being the best brand. Once you’ve optimized your online reputation, brand authority will follow. For example, if you invest in an SEO campaign and get considered as the authority figure in the industry, your website will appear first on search results.
- Expand Lead Generation Efforts
An online lead generation campaign by a popular brand will generate hundreds of organic leads easily. You can even get on a Google My Business page without going through multiple hoops. At the same time, you won’t have to spend so much resources on marketing schemes. The leads will naturally come to you.
- Encourage Better Talents
Studies found that applicants consider good online reputation as one of their deciding factors on whether they will accept an offer or not.
- Influence Customer Behavior and Buying Decisions
It’s common human behavior to patronize a product that is followed by hundreds of thousands of people. If a potential customer sees that others are flocking to your brand, there is a high chance that they will follow.
- Boost Sales
All of these benefits come together to boost your sales. Establishing an online reputation will bring a lot of positive results for the company. It may not necessarily translate immediately to a boost in sales but it will come.
Tips On How To Maintain Your Online Reputation
As Online Reputation Management is still a relatively new concept, there’s no actual science behind it just yet. However, these are the best practices you can adopt to maintain a positive online reputation.
- Improve Responsiveness
No customer (or potential customer) wants to be snubbed. A study by Clutch found that over 83% of people expect a response to their online queries less than a day after posting. Social media monitoring has made it easier to build personal relationships with your customers. This means that your company has a duty to attend to them 24/7.
Whether they’re an existing or a potential customer, you want to address their concerns right away. Responsiveness is now considered a key element in the buying decision of consumers. Facebook business pages even added a “Very responsive to messages” badge to incentivize online stores. Your page must have a 90% or higher response rate and a response time of fewer than 15 minutes to qualify for the badge.
Having a customer service representative 24/7 is costly. As an alternative, you can add business hours and integrate an automatic messaging system. Design the message so that you’re empathizing with the sender. If they send a message to your page or site, they’ll receive a message like this:
“Hi there! We’re sorry for the delay in response as we’re currently out of the office. Our current business hours are from 9 AM to 6 PM. We’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.”
- Establish an Active Social Media Presence
One of the best ways to manage your online reputation is to establish a social media presence. You can choose to focus on just one social media platform or appear on all four of the biggest platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The first step is to generate an online following from these social media apps while maintaining a consistent branding story. Take into account that you need to post regularly and that all posts must align with your branding.
Consider your social media as an investment not only for your online reputation but for lead generation as well. A brand with a social media following has the opportunity to develop social networks — these are important in customer acquisition and customer relationship management.
When you run social media campaigns, one of the most significant benefits is lead generation. Social media ad managers now provide options where businesses can ask for contact details. This allows brands to create a database for their subsequent marketing strategies. Building social media profiles can be a challenge at first.
- Create Helpful Content
As a company, your main priority is to address the needs of your customers. You want to build a helpful and trustworthy image. According to Forbes, the average American is bombarded with a whopping 4000 – 10000 ads a day. The article was published in 2017. I’m confident that the number has exponentially increased by now.
Because of aggressive advertising, our brains had to build a defense mechanism. Think about it. Even if 10 000 ads in a day bombard you, you mostly scroll past them without a second look. Catchy and highly engaging advertisements work. Digital marketers, however, found a more effective way to convert an audience into loyal consumers: creating relevant content that improves customers’ lives.
Regularly publish helpful articles and social media posts. This strategy is two-fold. Your customers become grateful for your help, and you build yourself as an authority in the industry. For instance, a company offering home renovation services must have online resources on the topic. Some examples include:
- Videos on Home Renovations
- DIY Tips for Home Renovations
- How to choose the right contractors for home renovations
Additionally, you can jump on Reddit and Quora. These are community-driven websites that are often underrated at building a brand’s online reputation. Jump on threads and subreddits, answering queries about your industry and publishing content. Promote your business in a subtle manner. Your main goal is to be helpful and answer questions, not to market your brand.
- Maintain a Friendly Facade
Positive online reputation management will automatically expand your audience reach. You want your audience to associate your brand with positive customer experience Name recall is a powerful weapon to have under your belt.
You can maintain a friendly facade by regularly engaging with your audience. Talk to them through various social media platforms. Make sure to listen to their suggestions as well. Be careful not producing any negative content as it can disrupt everything you’ve worked so hard for.
- Monitor Online Reviews
Customer feedback is important. Online reviews sites provide businesses an avenue to discover what their customers think of them. Surveys found that up to 54% of online buyers and 39% of in-store buyers read online customer reviews before purchasing any products or services. Reviews allow your customers to provide you with well-meaning constructive feedback. It is a way for them to voice out their pleasure or displeasure.
Brands with tons of positive customer reviews make more sales than those with negative reviews. If your brand receives regular negative reviews, don’t let it sit on your site. Address these concerns immediately. Release a sincere statement to ensure that such circumstances won’t happen again.
Navigating cyberspace is tricky. There are tons of traps and pitfalls. Mistakes on the Internet do not disappear for a long time. People keep screenshots as “receipts.” Thousands of businesses have already tanked and went bankrupt due to boycotts. If you suffer from a negative online reputation, you’d have a difficult time even hiring. Over 69% of aspiring employees reject job offers from companies that are not well-perceived by the online community.
However, just because online reputation management is challenging does not mean you shouldn’t do it. A positive online reputation can do wonders for your business. The Internet has launched millions of successful ventures. Today, having an online presence is a sign of credibility and authority. If your clients can’t find you online, your chances for conversion drastically decreases.