When it comes to online brand reputation, any marketer can confirm that they’ve had their share of negative reviews for their brand. Sometimes, you can blame it on unforeseen circumstances. But ultimately, designing a brand reputation strategy for the modern era involves a proactive community-driven approach to customer service, and ultimately, reputation management.
Reputation management strategy is the process of shaping how others perceive your company. It is a crucial aspect of building your brand. The core fundamentals of this process are proactively creating channels for feedback, monitoring those channels, and responding in a timely and appropriate manner.
Yet, only 15% of business owners address reputation management issues. One of the reasons why many reputation management gaps go unnoticed is because marketers simply aren’t aware of them – and therefore, the proper channels don’t exist for managing them.
Getting ahead of issues before they snowball can be challenging, but with these steps, brands can take a multifaceted and proactive approach to finding the gaps in their reputation management strategy
1. Track Mentions and Create a Crisis Communication Map
Understanding what your customers are saying about your brand is one of the most important steps to uncovering the state of your brand’s reputation. Ultimately, brand is what your customers say about you.
Mentions are one of the easiest ways to seek out your brand’s most direct feedback. And luckily, there are a lot of great social listening tools for uncovering this. While many rely on sentiment analysis, you can often get a good glimpse of your most positive and negative feedback and determine areas you need to improve as a business.
“Mentions” go beyond online reviews. Tracking brand mentions means that you get notified whenever your brand’s name is mentioned on the internet. It can be in a forum, social media post, blog, news article, or any other type of online content.
What to do with Mentions: Crisis Communications Map
Some mentions will be negative. And ultimately, that’s okay. Feedback is valuable and can improve these sorts of issues in the future. But when escalation is needed and an issue requires immediate attention, it’s critical to have a plan in place to address the issue.
Many brands rely on a Crisis Communications Map, which empowers customer-facing individuals to appropriately respond to and escalate customer feedback in a timely manner. While most feedback won’t require this level of severity, having a proactive strategy in place can mitigate issues down the road, should they arise.
2. Add Value for Engaged Customers with User-Generated Content
Customers expect brands to meet them where they’re engaging with like-minded content and values. Part of proactively connecting with customers involves getting them engaged with the brand so that they’re more inclined to privately escalate concerns. This is where user-generated content (UGC) comes in.
Prioritize engaging with your customer community by inspiring them to share their experiences with your brand on social media, or whichever channel your customers are most interested in engaging. You can do this by resharing that organic content on your brand’s account and website, featuring their reviews, or hosting a social media contest encouraging them to share posts related to your company.
Revel Nail reshares user-generated content from a customer, enthusing about the user’s nail design in the caption.
By shifting your online focus to celebrating your customers and amplifying their stories, people will feel more connected and heard by your brand, and your social media accounts will be more authentic. The more followers that interact with you regularly, the more your online reputation will grow positively.
3. Dive into Online Reviews
This is just how the world is nowadays. Even a seemingly perfect ecommerce business will have at least a couple of bad reviews. However, both positive and negative reviews can benefit your business and help improve the services you deliver as well as the marketing campaigns you create.
But there are cases when a business is drowning in bad reviews, and they become the reason why its reputation management strategy starts to suffer. How should you tackle negative online reviews?
One word – graciously.
Every brand receives criticism sometimes, and there are several smart ways to deal with it:
Don’t hide negative reviews. Brands with 100% positive reviews can look fake or untrustworthy; customers want to see some negative reviews and how the brand’s customer service team handles them. This trust created by negative reviews actually improves conversion rates by 67%.
Transfer the discussion to your platform. For more involved issues, suggest a customer continue the conversation via email, private messages, or a client feedback form on your website. Thus, you can avoid disclosing too many details publicly and provide a more thoughtful and productive dialogue.
When in doubt, refer to the crisis communication plan to build the right relationship going forward.
Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a copywriter and blogger at GetGoodGrade with a background in marketing and sales. She enjoys sharing her experience with like-minded professionals who aim to provide customers with high-quality services.