Managing Online Reputation Must Be the Top Priority of a Business
- Jul 10, 2014
- Madhurima Gupta
Online reputation. It’s tough to earn, but easy to lose. In this digital age, every company has a well though-out web strategy. But, how many of them actually care whether such strategies are making their brand identity shine in the web-space. Majority of the marketers are often taken off-guard when online reputation management issue emerges. However, they only, come up with complains like “why are people saying negative things about me on the internet?” and ask for suggestions “how they can get over that? “ There is no secret sauce that will guarantee a good reputation of your company or brand online. Whether an enterprise is large or small, it has to be involved in continuous and ongoing process to create and preserve its online reputation. Let’s find out how you can manage the reputation of your brand in today’s online landscape.
Changing business landscape
Even a few years back when internet was not so dominant, the pattern of business was totally different. It was a top down approach, as the customers were just only passive audiences with no means to express their voices.
This situation has become topsy turvy and now the websites are not just e-brochures to make aware your customers about your line of offerings. User generated content and regular interaction via social media and your websites have become the norm. Web audience will be leaving comments on your blog posts and sharing their experience with your service or products in the social media sites. But, you cannot control their reactions or urge them good words for you. Therefore, you have to perform better to earn good reviews and comments.
You may not pay heed to the people’s voices, reviews, and opinions. But, does avoiding those comments really help? Think again.
“Be transparent” is the cry of the moment
Few months ago, social media sharing company Buffer revealed the pay structure of each of their individual employees. The blog post also includes their CEO’s salary. McDonalds Canada went a step further bringing viewers behind the scene in a video that demonstrated their supply chain and manufacturing process. This initiative was taken to fight the online rumour that their McNuggets are made of “pink slime”. The video has received more than 4 million views and McDonalds is praised for their transparent approach.
Why transparency has become so important now? We live in an era where the corporate secrets are revealed with just a few clicks of the mouse. It is just a matter of time when people discover all the facts related to your trade. Therefore, the companies now have to be transparent in their approach than ever before.
The most recent studies show that integrity and engagement are two crucial factors to build your brand. Being transparent also means:
- Allowing your employees to publicly talk about your products and services
- Asking for customers’ feedback
- Establishing an effective communication channel
- Addressing the criticism directly, instead of hiding it
These may appear as few simple tactics, but are difficult to implement. Those companies not providing much attention to their communication process have to struggle with these concepts.
If you are planning to achieve complete transparency, it is very important that you have the online reputation management strategies already in place. Irrespective of whether the feedback is positive or negative, you have to accept the criticisms and comments from your customers. A negative feedback may make you angry, but a defensive or aggressive approach will not work in the online world. Even you have thought to overlook any negative comment; it will not help as well. Addressing it promptly may rather help to change the situation.
Your first look out will be to do everything you can to stop a negative comment or viewpoint from becoming a reputational crisis. Though, the response should be prompt, it has to be well thought-out. if the comment involves something about the quality of your services or products; safety, security, and privacy of the customers or the employees- you have to deal with the matter very tactfully.
Feedback from the online traffic
In an endeavour to manage reputation online, you may come across two types of negative feedbacks. One in the form of complaints in your social media profiles and another negative content. The complaints on your social media sites will not appear in the search engine results, so there is no immediate threat to your business from that. However, for that you cannot ignore the comment.
The other aspect, may affect your online reputation seriously as these will be very prominent in the search results. Think, what impression will someone have when he or she will google your brand name and finds a negative review or a defamatory content about it. It is not always possible to please every consumer, so negative reviews will crop up. Spot that comment quickly and think how you can act. You can set up Google Alerts that will make you aware if your brand name is mentioned anywhere online. It is the fastest way to spot any negative campaign going on against your brand.
Tips to manage your online reputation
Here are a few practical tips that you may follow so that your brand maintains a positive perspective on the web.
- Apologise for your mistakes
- Try to build up trust
- Examine what people are saying about you
- Address criticism
- Be serious about your website ranking in search engine
- Do not overlook any illegitimate criticism, take proper action against any illegal behaviour
If you have any issues with your brand management, there is always a professional to help you out.
Madhurima Gupta is a digital marketing enthusiast and takes interest in online marketing, social media promotions and search engine optimization. She is associated with content writing, blogging and social media engagement. She is a content developer in Softz Solutions.
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