4 BLDG STEPS: Social Media, Reviews, Personal, Community. Communication,
5 MAINT STEPS: Make Things Right, no Retaliation, Advertising, Honest, Relationships.
4 ATTRIBUTES: Consistency, Communication, Presence, Responsiveness.
Believe it or not, brand reputation can make or break your success as a business. Building and maintaining a positive perception of your brand will give the public confidence in your business. It also plays a significant role in the buyer’s journey – as customers want to do business with companies they can trust and rely on. In this article, we will define and break down brand reputation management. We will also discuss important strategies you can utilize today to build and maintain your brand for success. Let’s jump in!
What is Brand Reputation Management?
Brand reputation management is the practice of improving, monitoring, and maintaining society’s perception of your brand. Yes, it starts with the product or service you offer. Your product or service offering plays a significant role in how customers feel about your business. If they have a great experience, they should perceive your brand more favorably. With a poor experience, they could view your brand more negatively. Typically, customers that have had a poor experience are more likely to spread the word about your business. However, with an effective approach, you can manage customer feedback (negative or positive) to help promote an excellent brand reputation.
“Spreading the word” can either happen within face-to-face or online scenarios. Customers could chat with their neighbors, friends, and family about your business. In today’s digital world, they could take their thoughts online and leave comments about their experience on review platforms. Brand reputation management is all about managing the public’s perception of your brand and ideally, helping to build a positive reputation.
Now more than ever, it’s important to maintain a positive brand reputation. For many businesses, maintaining this after serving dozens or hundreds of customers presents its challenges. Fortunately, you can improve your brand reputation and mitigate any damage from negative complaints with a handful of important principles.
How to Build: 4 Fundamental Brand Reputation Management Principles
1. Be Active on Social Media
Social media is one of the most visible channels for your personal and corporate brand, and it’s one of the best ways to connect with your customers regularly. Focus on the strategies listed below:
- Build consistency across platforms. To keep things consistent, it’s best to create profiles for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube. If you don’t have accounts created on some or all of these platforms, make sure to create them using professional handles or titles. If you already have accounts for some or all of these accounts, make sure they are uniform and showcase similar content and information. Consider using the same profile picture across all accounts so users can easily recognize your brand. Create engaging descriptions and showcase your best products and/or services.
- Create engaging content and answer questions. The first step in most social media strategies is creating content. Creating engaging content doesn’t have to be as complex as it seems. Showcase your brand through your products or services. If the product or service is quality, individuals will naturally show interest. If they comment on a post or DM you with questions, answer their questions in a positive, timely manner.
- Professionally showcase your personality. People appreciate brands that show personality and character. This helps create a positive persona around your brand that they can easily trust and communicate with. Even though you should let your brand’s personality shine, make sure to keep communication and your social posts professional.
- Interact and engage with your customers. Customers love brands that interact and engage with their audience. When individuals comment on a post, reply to their comment professionally, but keep it unique. Engage with other funny, interesting, or educational pages related to your industry. Individuals tend to use their social media platforms for entertainment and educational purposes.
2. Gather and Monitor Reviews
As you provide your products and services to your customers, it is important to gather and monitor reviews. Online reviews play a key role in the decision making process for buyers. In fact, a recent study has shown that over 90% of people will check reviews before making a purchase decision. Getting lots of good, local reviews for your business is one of the best things you can do for your brand reputation. Third party reviews are highly visible and they can support your other marketing endeavors. While you shouldn’t pay for or solicit reviews, proactively ask your customers to write a review for your business. Instead of offering money, try offering coupons or prizes for customers who take the time to leave a review. Positive reviews will help build your brand AND improve your online rankings. Focus on these sites when gathering and monitoring reviews:
After you have gathered some reviews, monitoring reviews will play an important role in maintaining a positive brand reputation. 56% of customers have said that responses to reviews have changed their perspective. Monitoring reviews is quite simple. Once reviews start to come in, you should start seeing the reviews on the associated review platform. Most platforms make it very easy to monitor and reply to reviews. When replying, remember to keep your responses professional and unique. If it’s a poor review, try to make things right and understand their situation. If fake reviews come through, many review platforms have ways to flag and request removal. Effectively monitoring responding to reviews is best practice in Brand Reputation Management. Make it a top priority !!!
3. Get Personal
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s important to maintain your professionalism, but that doesn’t mean hiding the characteristics that make you unique. If you like to make silly puns or if you speak with a casual tone, don’t try to bury those aspects of you; instead, show them off. People have a much easier time connecting to people than they do with faceless businesses.
When customers have a specific need or question, provide professional and personalized answers. This will show customers you care about them – which reflect through the reviews and feedback you receive. If a negative comment or situation comes up, don’t be afraid to make it personal to fix the situation. When a problem needs to be escalated to upper management, make it happen to ensure the customer has a great experience. If done properly, it will greatly improve your brand reputation.
4. Contribute to The Community
Make sure your business is active in your local community. If you can fit it within your budget, find ways to make an impact through service or social projects. It doesn’t need to be complex, and it will help put your business in a positive “spotlight”. For example, you could make sure your business sets up a booth at a local conference or gathering. You could also advertise with or provide resources for influential local groups.
Associate your business with good causes. It’s also a good idea to practice corporate social responsibility (CSR) and associate yourself with positive organizations. Consider donating money, resources, or some of your time to charities and local nonprofit institutions. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – this is one of the best principles of brand reputation management.
Don’t forget about the importance of online communities as well! Add and verify your business on the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The BBB is a trustworthy site that many users go to find information about the quality of a business. Find ways to serve the digital community and connect with other businesses. Collaborating with other businesses online can improve your presence and situate your business as a thought leader within your community and industry. In situations where you contribute to the community, make sure to showcase this work through social media, newsletters, or blog posts.
How to Maintain: 5 Steps to Protect and Restore Your Reputation
If you’ve been the subject of a bad review, scandal, or other incident that calls your reputation into question, here are some steps you can take to protect and/or restore your reputation.
1. Try to Make Things Right
Depending on the situation, you may have the opportunity to make things right. For example, if you have a client who’s angry about the fact that the job wasn’t done to their expectations, offer a free service or replacement, and publicize your willingness to fix your mistake. If there’s a bigger issue, like if you’ve been using a faulty product or a faulty process, offer a discount or special deal for all your customers as an apology.
2. Refrain from Retaliation
When you get negative reviews or feedback, you may be tempted to retaliate against the poster, insulting them or diminishing their viewpoint, but this can only work against you. Instead, be polite and kind, and respond to their accusation as calmly and professionally as possible. You’ll make a much more positive impact this way, improving your brand reputation.
3. Don’t Advertise the Event Unnecessarily
Even if you’re exonerated, it’s unwise to unnecessarily advertise the fact that you were accused of something. For example, you wouldn’t want to state on your website that you were taken to court but found innocent—that can still make a questionable impression on new clients.
4. Be Upfront and Honest
If you are asked about a problematic incident, on social media or by a prospective client, don’t dodge the question or lie. Instead, state the facts as you know them, and explain your perspective. People respect honesty, even if it isn’t exactly what they wanted to hear.
5. Focus on Existing Client Relationships
In the wake of a public accusation, seeking new clients may be challenging. Focus on rebuilding or reinforcing your existing client relationships with personal conversations and follow-ups on their needs. This will rebuild trust with local and online communities, restoring a more positive brand reputation.
Facing a blow to your reputation doesn’t mean your company is going to collapse, but it is important for you to take action to restore that reputation. Dedicate at least some time every week to improving your public image, and keeping your brand strong enough that no single incident can break it. As you dedicate time, focus on these important brand reputation management attributes.
Quality Attributes to Build a Positive Brand Reputation
In an online era, one customer’s experience can dictate the responses from many others. You might think that this leaves your business’s reputation in the hands of your consumers, but it doesn’t have to end there. Focus on these four attributes to cultivate the reputation you want, and watch your business prosper.
Nothing will hurt your reputation more than failure to provide the product or service you offer. Whether you make everything yourself or have a manufacturing plant full of workers, you’ll need to monitor everything you sell to ensure that it meets the quality standards you promise to your customers. Even better, try to go above and beyond expectations.
Consistency extends to your timeliness too. If you assure your customers that something will be on their doorstep within a specific time frame, you need to do everything in your power to complete the project and send it out before that deadline hits. If delays come up, let your customers know and give them a projection of when they can expect their purchase.
Most people will respond with understanding if they have a grasp on the situation. If you run into a snag or have trouble with an order, you can satisfy many customers with an apology or a discount. If you’re open and honest with your clients, they’re less likely to leave unpleasant reviews or disparaging comments online.
Don’t limit your communication to problems, of course. Use your newsletters and updates to your advantage by publishing accomplishments, milestones, and other reasons to celebrate. Don’t forget about your sales, either – no one will know that you’re offering a fantastic deal if you don’t spread the news far and wide.
If you can make your business easy to find online, you’ll be much closer to increasing your customer base. Promote your website wherever you can: make sure it’s on your business cards and add links to it in every newsletter. Pay attention to your website’s design too – you want it to be easy to navigate and place orders so that potential buyers don’t get frustrated and give up.
Don’t forget about your social media presence. Any platform where your target audience tends to browse, make sure you have an account there. If you have the resources, put someone in charge of your social media presence. Let them curate content, handle direct messages, and develop the personality that you want to exemplify with your company.
Remember those online reviews that can theoretically make or break your company’s reputation? You can curate those too. Give your customers an incentive to leave an open and honest review, like a discount code for their next purchase, and you’ll see the numbers go up. Most people won’t leave a bad review for a business that gives them something extra.
When negative comments come in – and no matter your product or service, they will eventually – don’t panic. Look at the complaints carefully, try to address them with the values your company holds, and communicate with the reviewer to see if you can resolve their problem. If you need to address an underlying problem in your company, you can publish it and explain how you plan to fix it.
How Manta Can Help Your Online Brand Reputation Management
Honesty, communication, and working to resolve any issues are critical values to uphold in all parts of your business. They’ll help you improve relationships with your audience. You never know which details will be the selling point, so give them all your attention. Use the principles and steps outlined in this article as you focus on your brand reputation strategy.
If you need help with your online brand reputation management, reach out to Manta today. If you are merely looking for help with creating a website, or improving your online visibility, our team of digital marketing professionals can help. Our affordable business listing and SEO services will help to improve your online presence and promote a positive brand reputation. We provide these services to help small businesses show up in web searches and lead interested customers to your page. Get in touch today to set up the help your company needs to thrive in an internet-driven world.
Comments: Do you know any other Steps to Build or Maintain your Brand?
from Manta 7-22 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
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