As a company, your online reputation is primarily influenced by two factors: branded communication, and what people say about you on social media and other digital channels. Your online reputation is therefore hybrid in nature.
Online research is an integral aspect of both B2B and B2C buying processes. Beyond exploring brand profiles, internet users look to see what others are saying about the companies they’re interested in. Such research informs and can even sway purchasing decisions. The question is, how can you as a company protect your online reputation when it’s so heavily influenced by what others say?
1 – Encourage User Conversations
It’s incredibly easy for internet users (particularly on social media) to exchange information and opinions about companies, which is something brands themselves need to embrace. Online consumers look for authentic information that can help them to make informed purchasing decisions, and trust user recommendations far more than traditional online ads.
It’s therefore in your company’s best interests to invite and encourage your online audience to talk about you on social media. Launching a brand advocacy program for employees, customers and / or partners is one of the most effective ways of doing this.
2 – Face Up to Bad Buzz
Social media, and Twitter in particular, is fast becoming the go-to place for consumers looking to provide feedback, some of which might not be positive. Even the most successful brands receive bad reviews. But when handled effectively, complaints can provide a roadmap on where and how your company needs to improve.
When bad buzz does arrive, the relevant team needs be on hand to address customers’ concerns and provide support. Focus on addressing negative feedback through the provision of expertise and the speedy implementation of solutions. When dealt with well, bad buzz can actually serve as good press that enhances your online reputation.
3 – Don’t Just Speak: Listen
One of the best ways of maintaining a strong online reputation is to act on what is said about your company. Customers are sharing an increasing amount of information with brands, which in turn allows you to obtain additional insights into how your products, services and online activity can be developed and improved.
When monitoring how your company is perceived online, it’s important to consider the style and impact of brand communication, as well as conversations that take place between individual users. Not everything is controllable, but being aware of when, where and why your company is being mentioned makes it a whole lot easier to track and strengthen your brand’s online reputation.