Brand reputation management is vital to growing any business. A positive brand will build loyalty and increase confidence in your brand, product or services. Which will ultimately generate more leads, drive sales and increase your bottom line. Whereas a negative brand will turn customers off, and make them more likely to choose one of your competitors.
Brand reputation management has become a bigger priority for companies. Today’s digital age means that online conversations are taking place 24/7 across social media accounts, review sites, forums, and news sites.
What is brand reputation management?
Your brand’s image is the image it portrays to customers and potential customers. Your online brand will affect whether or not people will choose to do business with you.
Brand reputation management is the practice of controlling and influencing the public perception of how others see you. Media monitoring and social listening are vital tools for brand building and managing your reputation. But it is equally important to have a clear strategy.
By knowing who is talking, what they’re saying and on which platforms it is being said, you will set yourself up for success and manage the conversation in the right direction.
It is important to position your brand as an industry-leading resource for your customers. So, how do you improve your brand reputation and where do you start?
What does a good brand management strategy look like?
A good brand management strategy is more than just managing online reviews. It incorporates content planning, keyword research, PR, social media and much more. The modern customer and business rely on the internet to find product and services that they need. They use review platforms, social media as well as your own company or brand website to form an opinion about your business. This can be influenced by what they read online in the media, whether they find any negative reviews, and how your company website answers any questions they have. The goal is to try and get as many ‘owned assets’ and positive online mentions on page one of Google – this is good brand management and a good reputation is free advertising.
Brand management and review management are different, yet the terms are used interchangeably. Both are vital but need different strategies and different tactics.
Both need proactive management. So, what do we mean when we talk about the different aspects of brand reputation management – what are the keys to successful brand reputation management?
The content you create is a driving factor in how your brand is perceived. The essential components to great content are relevancy, consistency, and quality.
Relevant content – Position your company as an insightful source for information on subject areas that matter to your brand and company.
Consistent content – It is important that the content you produce remains consistent in its tone, writing, style, and voice. The content should represent the personality of your brand.
Quality content – Show your brand’s trustworthiness by using original research, links, reviews and testimonials from happy customers. Think about how you can engage with your audience through images or products, services and maybe even your team.
Content can be everything from white papers, a company blog, or industry research reports. By producing lead-generating content across all your chosen channels you will raise awareness of your brand.
This will position your company as a knowledgeable source on topics that will appeal to your audience. All content should be fully optimized for the Google search engine algorithm to gain you more website traffic and potential customers.
A reputation management strategy will include a strong PR program that will position you, and your brand, as an expert in your field across major newspapers, publications and media outlets. PR will improve brand perception, manage a negative sentiment and increase your web presence through positive news stories.
Social media is an integral part of brand reputation management. This is the process of tracking, monitoring and responding to positive and negative comments about your brand. If done properly through a social media strategy it will make your business, or brand more accessible and customer-focused.
Social media channels, like Twitter, can often be viewed as a customer service channel. You can use it to support your customer service channels as customers will use it to get in touch with you.
Channels like Facebook can form part of your review management strategy. Because customers and clients can leave positive or negative feedback.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A long-term SEO strategy will put your brand at the top of search engines as this is where potential customers are searching for your expertise. The first page of a Google search for your name, your company or any search term attracts 95% of traffic from an average search. And 90% of people only look at the first page of search engine results to form their impression of your business.
A good content and SEO plan will leverage strategic key phrases to create content that interests your audience. This will lead to greater visibility and more website traffic. You should dedicate resources to improve your ranking on search engines.
For many companies, and brands, online reputation management takes the form of monitoring and managing their online reviews. Use review sites before bad reviews appear. Word of mouth and personal recommendations have always been important for businesses. 93% of people say that online reviews impact their buying decisions with 78% of consumers saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So you can see that by actively managing your brand’s online reputation you will build brand trust, customer confidence and improve your presence on social media.
An experienced digital PR, marketing and social media marketing strategist, Claire leads PR strategy and delivery at Igniyte across multiple countries and sectors.
With 16 years’ experience in marketing, communications and PR, she seamlessly directs all elements of B2B and B2C online PR to gain high-ranking positive coverage for our clients in regional, national, international and specialist online media – and she helps ensure that any risks are managed and mitigated.