Reputation Management: What You Need To Know
February 14, 2018
From full campaigns to paid ads, companies invest countless dollars and time to promote their businesses to ensure their name is in front of the right consumers. Reputation management is often the other half of these marketing/advertising efforts and involves everything from basic PR to calculated strategies aimed at managing the image the company portrays across multiple platforms. At VIG we’ve seen many of our clients take essential steps to managing their reputation.
From staying on top of social media to encouraging positive reviews of products and services, reputation management is an important part of standing out in today’s crowded marketplace. To help passionate professionals just like you, we’ve pulled our top tips from the team to help you understand the essentials of how reputation management can help you make a strong impact in today’s market.
Manage Your Digital Footprint
The first step you should take towards managing your digital footprint is simply taking an inventory of current areas where your brand is displayed. Doing a Google search for your company’s name and seeing the results can be pretty surprising. Chances are you might find a directory listing from Yelp or even a review site like Glass Door that has one of your old logos on the profile. Don’t be alarmed, most businesses find these when just starting out.
Having a running list of all the different directories your businesses shows up on and a general idea of what areas you need to fix is a great start. Tools like Moz Local can help you pull many of these listings into one area and give you the power update them all in one easy to use dashboard. For listings or directories that aren’t supported by Moz Local, many times these sites offer ways for you to claim ownership of the listing and update the areas you need.
Don’t forget about your social media accounts either. Making sure you have consistent logos, descriptions and contact information across Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram is key. Also making sure you have content posted consistently is equally important. If your Facebook profile hasn’t had a post since 2016, it’s time to give your profile some much needed TLC. Building out a simple content calendar for what you are going to post and where will help you avoid looking like your profile has been abandoned or that your company is just lazy or inactive on social media.
Performing occasional housekeeping to make sure you have the most up to date information available about your business will help you create a professional image for your company and build credibility and trust among your customers.
This trust can translate to more communication in the form of likes/shares on social media, contact form submissions on your website, and higher organic SEO rankings for your website.
Encourage Reviews & Feedback
In the world of marketing and PR, honesty and transparency are pivotal to a company’s reputation. Whether you sell products on an eCommerce website or install HVAC systems in customer’s homes, encouraging reviews and feedback of your products or services is essential for building your company’s reputation.
Take a step back and think of your business from a potential customer’s viewpoint. You’re looking for products/services that fit your needs. You have a budget you need to stay within and you’re unsure about whether choosing this company over a competitor is the right choice. Many customers find themselves in this position and the statistics surrounding reviews are hard to ignore.
- 93% of customers say their buying decisions are affected by online reviews.
- 85% of customers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 90% of customers devote the time to reading online reviews before visiting a business.
To successfully manage your reputation, you need to develop a plan for handling customer reviews, both good and bad. The guidelines listed below are general best practices for handling reviews:
- Respond to all reviews, both good and bad.
- Remember not all reviews will be positive.
- Thank people for taking the time to leave a review.
- Encourage bad reviewers to contact you personally to address the issue.
- Monitor reviewing platforms on a routine basis (Preferably daily or at least weekly).
Of course everyone wants positive reviews. Positive reviews are great and help spread the word about what makes your business standout. They act as a candid testimonial and help guide new customers to choosing your business over competitors. However, no good review should ever go left unnoticed. Commenting and providing a simple “Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We are happy we could provide you with such a great experience” is a great way to show appreciation and let customers know you’re monitoring their reviews and care about what they have to say.
Negative comments are obviously unfavorable but present an opportunity to open a line of communication. If a customer leaves a negative comment about your product, service, or customer service, you need to make a plan for how you are going to respond to this comment. As a best practice, you should always try to encourage bad reviewers to contact you directly to resolve any issues. Responding to a bad review in a negative way on a public platform can have long-last affects and ultimately reflect poorly on your business.
Creating an open dialogue for reviews both good and bad helps build your credibility. By responding and resolving any issues that arise, you begin to build your reputation as a responsible and professional business.
Promote Great PR
One of the main concepts of managing a company’s reputation is actually building one over time. Many experts gravitate towards traditional areas of reputation management like social media, content, and reviews without focusing on quality PR. Everything from press releases to published articles and events can be great opportunities to spread the word about your company.
We’ve seen many of our clients choose a mix of these tools to promote their businesses in a positive way. If your company has an important milestone such as a big anniversary, a press release from a local news outlet like the Central Penn Business Journal might be a great way to let your customers and the general public know.
If you are involved in several events and organizations throughout your community, sponsoring the next bake sale or 5k might be another great way to get your name in front of a wider audience. These efforts not only show potential customers that you’re an active company, it can also show that you care about and have great ties to the community.
Reputation management has been a central topic of concern for marketing and PR professionals for years. Whether you’re a master of social media or love uploading fresh content to your WordPress powered website, taking effective steps to building and maintaining a strong relationship with customers is one of the best ways to cut through the clutter and grow your business.
Feel like your reputation could use a boost? We’re here to help. Think VIG!