Reputation is key to any business’ success and how this reputation appears online is becoming increasingly significant. Online reviews are gaining in influence and more and more people are going online to research a company or product before purchasing. With this trend only set to rise in 2016, it’s essential for brands to take a proactive approach to their online reputation.
Comments and posts online are instant and they can spread far and wide; meaning it’s becoming harder for brands to manage the conversation about them online and limit the damage of those negative comments.
Here are some of Igniyte’s tips for managing and protecting your brand’s online reputation:
- Responding: Bad reviews online can be devastating to your business, as customers often check out what others are saying about you before using your services. Google will rank review sites highly, so you need to ensure that the information is accurate, fair and positive. You should look to respond to negative complaints or issues within three working days. For more advice on responding to complaints, read Igniyte’s article on How To Engage With Comments About Your Company.
- Managing online reviews & conversations: This is the most essential part of your online activity, as it ensures that you can respond and react to ongoing consumer discussion. Constant monitoring makes sure that you’re well-equipped and aware of the steps you need to take if something goes wrong, in order to limit the damage. You’ll need to determine when to respond, when to report and when is best to ignore. Defamatory or false comments can be challenged, whilst fair assessments should be promptly answered. Using Google Alerts is an effective way of monitoring mentions of your firm online.
- Internal processes: Ensure that everyone fully understands the protocol in order to maintain a consistent brand message. If you provide your employees with training and ensure that they are aware of each other’s roles and responsibilities, you’ll minimise the risk staff pose to your online reputation. If your PR or marketing team is not fully trained in customer interface, then they may prove insufficient when called to deal with a reputation crisis. Internal communication is vital as it ensures the problem can be solved swiftly and ensure consistency.
Your company’s reputation is statistically more at risk in January, so you need to ensure that you’re adequately prepared for the potential backlash heading into the first months of the New Year. With sensible, well-advised responses to complaints and hard work to ensure that internal policies are followed, your company will be well-equipped to protect its reputation.