Caroline Macdonald, founder and CEO of OggaDoon, discusses the importance of reputation management and what it means for your company.
Think there’s no such thing as bad publicity? Well, think again. How people perceive your brand is key. Customers only want to identify with companies they trust.
One in three companies have said that negative content has damaged their brand’s reputation. An alarmingly high number in a world that is constantly sharing new opinions, updates and reviews.
This isn’t just about social media management or public relations (PR) plans. Reputation management is all-encompassing. It can also empower your sales and marketing strategies.
With this in mind, it’s never been more important to understand what you can do to improve or stabilise your reputation.
Reputation management: are you part of the discussion?
Every business has a reputation. We all have access to the ‘Google check’ and we can instantly judge whether we want to associate ourselves with a company within seconds. 64% of people trust online search engines the most when researching a business.
The internet has changed. Websites must contain user generated content and actively engage customers through storytelling. Social media accounts are an essential tool for success.
Simply put: if you have customers, then they will be talking about your brand, your products, your services. Whether that’s leaving a review, recommending or criticising your brand to a friend, you’ll need to make sure you’re part of the discussion.
Online reviews are one of the most vital indicators of your brand’s reputation. 91% of people trust online reviews as they would a personal recommendation, with customers now reading an average of 10 reviews before committing to a purchase.
It’s the voice of your brand
Consistency. If nothing else, you’ll want your brand to appear trustworthy and transparent. Establish your company’s voice and stick to it.
53% of customers are likely to consider brands that are transparent on social media for their next purchase.
Here are three ways to ensure your company appears transparent.
- Become the influencers of your brand. Engage your team to publicly talk about your brand. Encourage them to share, like and comment on posts and create discussions on channels like LinkedIn.
- Feedback is a gift. The only way to understand how your brand appears to your target audience is by asking them. Discover the good and the bad and formulate a plan to respond to both.
- Respond to criticism. If you spot a comment criticising your brand, reply seeing if there’s anything you can do to help. Other users want to see that your brand cares about its customers and users. Be calm in your response, and make sure you avoid getting defensive.
Ensure each member of your team fully understands the brand identity, including the tone of language and expectations for each communication with your customers.
Content to inspire
One of the best ways to increase your reputation is by creating valuable and relevant content. Users want to feel inspired by the content you create, so make sure it’s fully researched and is placed where they will see it.
Find and share content that your users will find interesting and the likes and comments will come.
Video content is one of the most engaged with mediums online, with GIFs, how-to videos, webinars and interviews being informative and eye-catching.
Written based content, such as reports, infographics, blog posts and whitepapers can position your company as expert leaders in your field. Be the go-to source of information for your industry.
Controlling the spread
Unfortunately, mistakes can happen. A crisis can occur in seconds, but it can have a long term reputational and financial impact.
In 2018, officers on a United Airlines flight forcibly removed a passenger. After negative publicity and widespread coverage online, investors saw that the company had lost almost a billion dollars in market cap value.
You’ll need to plan for all eventualities. Map out all the potential crises that could occur, with causes, effects and responses included. Have a media trained spokesperson in place, someone who is quick on their feet and calm in front of a camera.
Admit when mistakes happen. Everyone makes them and covering them up will only make your customers more suspicious. Turn your crisis into a positive, using it as an opportunity to humanise the company.
Set up Google Alerts for your company. This will notify you every time your company is mentioned, so you can react to relevant news stories quickly.
Managing your company’s outer perception
Deliver the best experience possible for your customers. As stated, inspiring and engaging content can help build a positive reputation, establishing your company as a leader in its field.
Once users are in your funnel, encourage them to review your brand on social media as this will help attract new users.
Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail. Make sure you have a fully realised plan so that if things do go wrong, you’re ready to build back your reputation quickly and efficiently.
What reputation management advice would you give? Let us know below.