Maintaining the best possible brand profile online is crucial for business success, but monitoring and managing your reputation can be complex. Here we’ll simplify the process by revealing the most important elements for building a solid online image.
Online Reputation Management Basics
- Stay vigilant about your reputation: You can’t manage your image if you’re not aware of what it is. Stay on top of the latest reviews, feedback received or comments made about your business. Check your Google business page, Yelp, Facebook comments, industry-specific sites like Angie’s List (contractors), Amazon (product makers and sellers), comments on your own blog, and more. Try out a free or paid tool to help, like Google Alerts.
- Create your response strategy: Assign someone (if you have staff) to monitor your reviews, questions, and mentions, and decide which require a response. Poor reviews and negative comments usually need attention, but even responding to good reviews is polite and can show you are appreciative of feedback.
- Deal with negative comments with grace: Being responsive rather than defensive will help you here. Don’t respond when you first read the comment–if it upsets you or makes you angry. Get some distance by assigning these to someone in your organization, or at least take a few minutes/hours to gain objectivity. Don’t take comments personally, but rather take them as an opportunity to learn what people think and use the knowledge to refine your products or services. (Respond quickly enough so that the reviewer doesn’t feel you don’t care. Quick responses, which are respectful, impress even your harshest critics.)
- Accentuate the positive: Always ask for reviews and feedback. This way, you’ll generate more positives and show that you value your customers and their thoughts. Good reviews will also push down any negatives, so they’re less visible. (But you still need to respond and solve issues.)
- Track results: Use online reputation tools, or your own observations, to see how your strategy works long term. You should see your reputation growing and getting better!
- BONUS advice: Keep your word: Do what you promise to any online complainer or reviewer. This follow-through can get you an amended, improved review from some people. (If you make empty promises they’ll likely add more negatives around the Web and sink your reputation further.) Integrity is always appreciated.
Understanding, protecting and continually improving your business image, through online reputation management, are essential steps for business success and growth. Contact Drive Digital Demand today and let’s get started.