Online reputation is important for every business and social media has escalated this need. How can you filter the noise to maintain a positive reputation?
As social media usage increases and people feel more comfortable expressing their opinions through all the platforms, online reputation management becomes even more crucial for every business trying to promote its services.
It is estimated  that consumers are 92% more likely to trust their peers over a brand when considering a new purchase, which means that online reputation may bring a customer closer to your business.
Online reputation management is the process a business follows to analyse and monitor all its relevant mentions and reviews that take place on the web. It is helpful to keep track of the sentiment around your business, as this may offer useful insights on how to improve your digital strategy.
For example, it may be useful to establish a positive online presence, as 86% of people hesitate to purchase a product from a business with negative reviews. Would you risk losing potential customers over your online reputation?
Here are five basic steps to consider when starting with online reputation management.
1. Assess your current reputation
Start by analysing the existing online reputation for your business. What are the first results in search engines? What are people saying in social media and blogs?
This is the stage to collect all the information that will offer you a better understanding of how others view your business.
It’s not just about performing a search, it may also extend to the analysis of previous campaigns, hashtags, existing content, social handles, and anything that exists on the web and is relevant to your business. Are all the details correct? Do the employees support your online reputation? Are there are any changes that need to be highlighted to your online presence?
2. Identify changes needed
It’s useful to create a positive reputation before you come across a negative issue. If the business already has an online presence, it may be a good idea to filter out the noise and examine the first changes you need to make.
For example, how about “hiding” all the mentions that are not relevant or useful enough to be linked to your business? Is there a recurring mention that you’d like to remove?
Moreover, you can even set personalised filters to help you highlight the most relevant results for your business.
Social listening tools may take you to the next step of this process, by offering you valuable insights on your brand’s reputation and how this can be improved.
3. Determine what works best
Once the monitoring and the research is complete, it’s time to decide on the best sources to include in your online reputation strategy. Which platforms work better for an improved online reputation for your business?
Do you need to create more content? Should you switch the existing focus of your marketing efforts to enhance your online reputation? This is another step that you listen and learn until you’re able to understand the most effective ways that could impact the management of your online reputation.
You may start with an initial decision on the platforms to focus on and if you still feel that you’re not targeting the right audience, you can always experiment with different areas of interest.
Social media, online press, blogs, and forums indicate the endless opportunities you may test until you find the perfect way to craft the strategy for your online reputation.
4. Create a reputation strategy
Your online reputation strategy should include the content, the platforms, the opportunities for expanded reach, but also all the ways you can involve the community in the enhancement of your online presence.
Fresh content can help you update your SERPs, which may push down any negative content, or simply allow you to promote the latest content you’re creating about your business. This is always useful when trying to prove that your business has a consistent and valuable online presence.
Moreover, it’s important to claim and update local listings, or involve Yelp and Google Business to ensure that your business is properly represented, offering updated information in every platform.
Your customers can serve as the best promotion for your online reputation and it’s always a good idea to ask the for reviews and testimonials. There needs to be the right timing to ask for them and a reward may also encourage them to spend time on them. How about creating a campaign to encourage new reviews?
Once you have the reviews, feel free to share them and include them in your content marketing strategy, showing that you value your customers and you highlight their genuine and (hopefully) positive reviews. In case of a negative review, you should never delete it, as it proves that you are not afraid of everyone’s opinion, but on the contrary, you are listening to all your customers and you’re ready to improve the customer experience.
5. Start building
There should be a constant process in the creation and the management of your online reputation, from new content, to updated information to the listing sites and the encouragement of new reviews.
Once you’re active in monitoring your brand’s presence, you’re already prepared to deal with any new situation that may need your attention. It’s always helpful being proactive and brand listening, even with an automated process that may notify you for new mentions, can facilitate this process.
You can also blend online reputation management with customer service, competitor analysis and crisis management, to create a complete strategy on how to deal with any event. This will help you have a great overview on anything that involves your brand’s online presence, offering the right insights on how you can improve your relationship with your customers.
If you’re a brand selling high-consideration, ‘big ticket’ items like appliances, cars or luxury goods, the customer journey is vitally important.