With your online reputation serving as one of your company’s core assets, it is important that you cultivate a positive brand image online. Igniyte looks at what an effective online reputation management strategy looks like and how this can help you protect your brand identity online.
Importance of online reputation
According to the latest small and mid-cap sentiment index, compiled by BDO and the Quoted Companies Alliance, your company’s reputation accounts for 28% of its overall value. Meanwhile in our Reputation Report, Igniyte found that 80% of the 500 UK business owners and higher decision makers polled believe that consumers value a positive brand or company image online.
If your business experiences an incident which generates negative content online, it could have major consequences. In our Reputation Report, we found that on average, the businesses polled had lost £46,815 as a direct result of damaging content posted online. Nearly a quarter said that negative content online had cost them up to £10,000, while 9% put the cost at between £50,000 and £100,000.
Control your reputation online
It is vital to implement a pro-active online reputation management strategy online to protect your firm’s bottom line. In a nutshell, online reputation management allows you to control what appears in a search online for your company’s name. The effectiveness of this strategy hinges on the ongoing creation of positive digital content. By optimising this content you can ensure it appears on the first page of a Google search for your business’ name, shielding the page from negative content.
With over a billion users, Google is the most popular search engine on the planet. A study conducted by Chitika in 2010 suggests that the first page of a Google search for your firm’s name attracts 92% of traffic from an average search. Therefore, if you want to project a positive brand image to consumers, it is advisable to create content, as this will rank on the first page of a Google search for your firm’s name, positioning your brand as a trusted provider of products and services.
Components of an effective strategy
This leads us to ask, what should you do to ensure your company builds an effective online reputation management strategy? We would advise you to include the following elements if you wish to build a strong online reputation management plan going forward…
- Exemplary good and service: Effective online reputation management begins offline. Focus on supplying your existing customers with great service, as well as first-rate products. Not only could this prevent aggrieved customers from posting negative content concerning your company online, it could incentivise them to post positive content, allowing you to foster consumer trust.
- Social media profiles: With customers increasingly engaging with businesses via social media, it is vital that you build a strong presence on these platforms. Focus on using social media to supply effective customer service, to ensure that these assets allow you to construct a trusted brand online.
- Engaging content: It is key that you attract high traffic volumes to your digital assets, ensuring Google views them as valuable sources of information concerning your firm. Develop useful content for your social media profiles, blog sites etc., so potential consumers will engage with these platforms, allowing them to rank highly on Google searches for your business’ name.
- Online response training: Provide all staff with online response training, ensuring they interact with consumers online appropriately. If you have the resources, develop a social media team who can respond to consumers on these platforms promptly, positioning your brand as one which always strives to put customers first.
- Brand monitoring: The sooner a problem comes to your attention, the sooner you can implement a resolution. Utilise monitoring programmes such as Google Alerts to keep track of your brand mentions online. This way if any reputational issues arise, you can look to resolve consumer issues promptly.
- Review management: With 67% of consumers saying that they are influenced by online reviews, it is important to deal with negative reviews promptly. Implement a review management strategy which allows you to deal with negative reviews according to best practise and promote positive feedback.
Get ahead of the game
Getting ahead of the game can make all the difference. By implementing a consistent pro-active online reputation management strategy, you can ensure that when people Google your company, the first page of the search provides a positive perception of your firm, fostering consumer trust.
This can allow you to increase sales, as well as audience engagement with your business’ digital assets online, ensuring they rank prominently in Google searches. In turn, this can provide your assets with more clicks from organic traffic, allowing them to effectively shield the first page of a Google search for your firm’s name from negative content. If you are hit by a reputational crisis, this pro-active approach could insulate your business from the fall-out, limiting its effect on your online reputation.