We've become a review-driven society. We like to know that it's a sure thing before we lay down our hard-earned money for it. We comb through reviews to ensure we're making the right decision. And that means that, as a business, online reputation management should be a top priority.
How would you like the world to see you? Would you like to be thought of as an expert? Compassionate? Genius? Innovative? Modern? With the right reputation management services, you can change and improve how the world perceives you as a brand.
Why is Your Online Reputation Important?
In today's ad-screaming world, many have come to distrust advertisements. After all, who can you believe when faced with a constant barrage of companies touting their products and services as "the best" or "the longest lasting?" How do people cope with this constant noise when making decisions?
They rely heavily on a business's reputation.
A case in point: One study found that 85% of people trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. And in the same study, 97% of people looked online to find out more about local businesses. Whether you're a local business or not, this speaks volumes about how your online reputation relates to your audience's needs.
What comprises your online reputation?
There are many factors that feed into your brand's reputation, including:
- Social media
- Third party review sites
- Media coverage
Juggling the many components of online reputation can be daunting, which is why many B2B brands hire a B2B PR agency that offers reputation management services.
But how to create a solid online reputation that attracts your audience? And what if your reputation has taken a few hits in the past -- how to bounce back?
Let's look at 7 specific tactics to boost your brand and personal reputation, even if they have been damaged.
7 Tactics to Ensure a Standout Online Reputation Management
1. Decide on the Reputation You Want
It's important to choose early on how you want to be perceived. This will guide your decisions and tactics as you build and maintain your online reputation. It will help you know how to respond to comments, what content to create, and even how to develop your social media presence -- all of which we will touch on below.
What qualities do you want to emphasize in your brand's reputation? Honesty? Integrity? Helpfulness? Accuracy? Expertise? Speed? Value? Reliability? Talk to others in your company to see what they think. Compile a written list of qualities that you want as part of your reputation. Make this list a priority for members of your brand to emulate.
Once you have a clear picture of how you want your brand perceived, it will be easier to see what tactics will help you to achieve it. This will guide both your decisions and those of your employees in terms of representing your brand.
2. Learn Where You Stand
Before you can manage your online reputation, you need to determine what your online reputation is now.
A great (and free!) tool to help you do that is The Brand Grader from Mention. Enter your brand's information, and it will tell you who has mentioned you, as well as what people are saying on social media. You'll receive a grade to help you qualify where your brand stands -- in particular, what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can calculate a game plan for improving it.
Create Google Alerts for your brand to keep on top of what people are saying about your brand. This will help you keep current with the most recent whisperings about your brand, and be ready to act as soon as good or bad news hits the internet.
3. Create Content
Want to be known as an expert in your industry? Then you need to create your own content that showcases your knowledge and abilities.
The first and most important step in content creation is to start and maintain your own blog. This gives people a wide variety of content to feast on and get to know the kind of brand you are. The topics you choose can also bolster your reputation as a thought leader.
While a blog is important in cementing your online reputation, other content formats can help as well. You might consider creating...
All of these content formats serve a special purpose: to showcase twhat your brand represents.
4. Promote Third Party Review Sites
There are many third party review sites that can either bolster your reputation or damage it. Unfortunately, more often than not, it is dissatisfied customers who leave reviews on these sites.
How can you change this and nudge your happy customers over to third party review sites?
While you could say, "Leave us a review on ABC Website," this has become a bit tacky. Another, better way to lead your customers there is to say, "We are also on ABC Website." It doesn't push them for a positive review, but lets them know where they can go if they would like to leave a positive review.
5. Build Up and Maintain Social Media
Your social media profiles should never be an afterthought -- haphazardly thrown together because you've been told you need one. Social media should be strategically planned to give a positive first impression.
Don't neglect your social media. It is, after all, an extension of your business. Your profiles should all be updated regularly with the latest business information, news, and content. Picture this: an important news story hits and people head over to your social media accounts to check you out -- only to find that you haven't posted new content for a year! This creates the impression that you just don't care.
Respond promptly to any and all comments. Don't let negative comments fester on social media. Answer messages promptly, especially complaints. Remember, many social networks will tell people when they message you, "This business usually responds within X hours." If this time is ridiculously long, it will strongly hurt your brand.
Keeping up with social media can be a full time job. So if you want to do it right but don't have the time, you should hire a professional. If you'd like someone who can boost your reputation or combat negative comments, choosing someone who specializes in online reputation services for small businesses might be the best fit.
6. Tap Into Influencer Marketing
Influencers have incredible power when it comes to public opinion. You can tap into this power for the positive impact it will have on your reputation.
Choose an influencer who is well-established within your industry. It doesn't have to be a flashy or gimmicky pairing -- in fact, stay away from overt and blatant promotion. Instead, gently influence people by coupling your name with the influencer.
A great way to use influencer marketing for your reputation is to co-create content with an influencer. Seeing your name beside that of the influencer's can have a powerfully positive impact on your image.
If an influencer is sincerely enthusiastic about your product or service, you might team up on a social media campaign to promote an upcoming product launch.
7. Build Links to Your Site
Ranking on Google is an essential way to raise your brand's reputation among new audiences. When you appear as one of the top search results on Google, it helps your brand stand out. After all, many people know just how selective Google's search algorithm can be.
A key tactic to ranking in Google is building links -- the practice of getting high authority websites to link back to your site. This could be news media sites or even review sites like Google Reviews or Yelp. And Google also rates positive reviews against negative ones -- so boosting your positive reviews can be a big boon to your SEO ranking.
Ranking your own content higher on Google also helps to push negative press or reviews further down the page, where they're less likely to negatively influence potential customers. This little trick helps people to focus on your positive qualities -- that way, even if they see negative information further down, the positive content makes it seem like an afterthought.
Don't leave your online reputation to chance. May these tips and tactics help you to maintain your program of online reputation management and empower your brand's success.
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