Businesses from a variety of fields now have to contend with the fact that their digital presence is often how they make their first impression. Because the internet is the first point of contact for customers and partners alike, developing and maintaining an effective online reputation management strategy is crucial for long-term success.
Social media is a critical component of your business’s online reputation management strategy. A thorough social media plan should account for multiple ways for customers to contact and interact with your brand. Effective use of social media may require you to have staff specifically tasked with updating and moderating social media accounts. One way to streamline this process is to pre-schedule postings as part of your content marketing strategy.
Taking the time to fine-tune your social media accounts gives you more ways to connect with customers. While social media strategy will depend on a variety of factors, including your field, these are some major platforms to consider creating and optimizing:
Part of optimizing your social media will include incentivizing users to follow and engage with your brand on these platforms. Consider using traditional advertising materials to spread the word about ways to interact with your brand online. Use your accounts to start conversations, ask questions, and build a sense of community among your users.
Reviews make a tremendous impact on whether someone interested in your services converts into a customer. But besides managing bad reviews, your plan should also offer incentives for leaving positive reviews. Reviews can substantially influence whether a customer patronizes your business and are often the first thing potential customers look at when researching your business. Some popular tactics for getting customers to review your business include offering special rewards programs, discounts, and even giveaways for positive reviews.
You can also harness the power of positive reviews in your favor. Positive reviews can make fantastic additions to marketing materials or web copy, and some businesses even dedicate an entire page to what customers are saying about their products and services. This customer-generated content typically reads as more authentic than company-crafted advertising copy and can help gain the trust of new users.
Proactivity can help you plan ahead for negative press, bad reviews, or other reputation-damaging events. Every business will face a crisis eventually, whether major or minor. Being aware of this reality, expecting potentially damaging scenarios, and tasking qualified personnel with addressing these types of problems can help your brand survive these incidents with its reputation intact.
Some plans may involve removing negative reviews from search engines. Other companies may focus on garnering more positive reviews or press attention to outweigh negative attention. Regardless of specific strategy, the company should have some plan developed ahead of time for responding to criticism, including criteria for which criticism merits a response at all.
Timely response can be critical when handling potentially damaging situations. Many businesses have learned the hard way that ignoring a bad review or barrage of criticism can make its consequences worse. A reputable reputation management group will address the situation immediately to prevent bad reviews from lingering online for too long. Mistakes are inevitable in any business, so you want to use your company’s digital interactions to demonstrate that you are doing everything you can to remedy problems as they arise.
Responsiveness also shows your company’s genuine investment in your customers’ satisfaction. As a general policy, you want to respond to both positive and negative feedback, particularly on social media and review applications. Doing so shows that you value your customers’ insight and actively look for ways to improve your services and customer relations.
How effectively your business uses search engines directly impacts how visible your business is. When you are monitoring your business, be aware of how online content affects your search ranking to avoid triggering spam filters. Third-party links on spam sites can damage your Google ranking, so be proactive about addressing this content.
Brand reputation businesses should be able to state how they will measure reach and other outcomes. Clear, measurable objectives help your experts determine which aspects of reputation management are working effectively. For instance, social media analytics can reveal both what your campaigns are doing well and areas for improvement. Platforms like Hootsuite keep track of analytics across multiple platforms for you, saving time and allowing you to fine-tune or redirect your campaigns.
You can also set up free Google Alerts to stay aware of how often and where your company is being discussed online. This is one simple monitoring tool you can use to gauge reputation and the types of coverage your company is receiving. Google alerts can also reveal what types of conversations your company’s name is appearing in, illuminating details from what questions customers have about your services to their desired features.
Keeping eyes on your competition is a wise move. Knowing what has worked well and failed for similar businesses can help you borrow successful tactics while avoiding embarrassing or damaging pitfalls. Take the time to read what business insiders and customers are saying about your competitors to give yourself an edge.
Unique, useful, and shareable content can do wonders for your brand’s reputation. Adding a blog to your web page gives you the opportunity to show off your expertise and build community among your customer base. You can use this space to share insider tips, build credibility, and promote special events or discounts for new and existing customers. A smart content strategy can help you stay in charge of your online reputation and engage your target audience effectively.
When you hire someone for reputation management, you will want to know exactly what to expect. Ask questions about how you will meet with your strategists (by phone, email, Skype, meeting, etc.) and how regularly you plan to meet. You want to be certain that the company’s style of client management works for your needs.
Finally, evaluate your personal accounts and privacy settings to ensure you are always putting your best foot forward. It is perfectly fine to have personal accounts, but you want to be aware of the fact that these accounts can impact your business. Keep your social media, blogs, and other online spaces professional. A reputation management company can offer personalized advice on your situation.
If you own a business in the Calgary area and are ready to optimize your online reputation management strategy, contact Digital Marketing Collective today. Our experts can assess your situation and offer customized advice on managing your brand’s digital reputation.
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