Online reputation management is when a business owner addresses negative or false comments and actively monitors brand mentions on websites and social media. Online reputation management mainly works by responding to negative customer comments online and reacting to stories in the media (both social and traditional) that paint the company in a bad light.
Online Reputation Management is a multi-faceted concept aimed at creating a positive public perception of a brand, business, or person.
Reputation management includes
- Monitoring reputation
- Addressing any content or customer feedback that could damage the brand
- Using strategies to prevent and solve problems could damage an entity’s reputation
How Does Online Reputation Management Work
Multiple channels fall within Online Reputation Management since it may initially seem overwhelming to embrace all these channels.
Let’s think about them in terms of the PESO model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned,” which serves as a means of segmenting all of the marketing channels at a brand’s disposal into discrete groups.).
- Paid Media for Online Reputation Management
- Earned media should focus on all businesses; these sources help create a positive outlook and trust with online visitors
- Shared Media On top of your website
- Your business’s accounts across various social networks are the online version of your business card
Unaddressed complaints, negative comments on Twitter, and low star ratings on Facebook can seriously harm your company’s reputation and turn potential customers off. You should pay attention to what is happening on your Twitter wall the same way you treat the walls of your brick-and-mortar establishment.
You must track what brand mentions are popping up within other accounts and address the mentions that negatively portray your business.
Why Reputation Management Is Important for Your Online Business
We have explained why online reputation management for your brand is critically important. However, let’s examine how an efficient Online Reputation Management strategy can benefit your business.
- Impact on Buying Decisions. The lack of online review management can cost you your customer base.
- As 81% of buyers do some online research before making a purchase, the way you appear online is the make-it-or-break-it factor in their final decision.
- And your online reputation is a business quality check, with 88% of consumers reading reviews to determine if your business is reliable.
How to Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation
You need a process to implement for successful online reputation management. Of course, the process will vary from company to company, depending on your size, your industry, and your resources. But take the eight rules we outline below as the critical milestones for establishing an efficient Online Reputation Management strategy.
Perform an Audit of Your Online Reputation
Before putting any Online Reputation Management process in place, you must conduct an extensive online reputation audit.
The idea of an online reputation management audit has to do with uncovering how people see you online and what kind of issues you are facing in challenging that view. And to do that, you have to do some brand monitoring.
There is a way to manually conduct a quick audit of your brand reputation: Open up an incognito window and enter your brand name into a Google search. Take a good look at the sites that appear on the very first page.
Identify what Google My Business-related features come up on that page and evaluate your presence there: ratings, comments, reviews, user-generated photos, etc. Separate the websites into the ones you control and the ones you have limited power over.
With your social media accounts, they are highly manageable; with third-party listings, you can reach out to site owners and add/remove misleading bits.
Establish an Online Reputation Management Strategy
Now that you know the online landscape around your brand, it is time to set up an online reputation management strategy.
However, before we get into details about it, you must get your priorities straight.
Online Reputation Management Prioritization
The impact is the most significant criterion for your choice, as you must allocate resources to the channels with the highest stakes for your business. Prioritize tasks:
Which tasks are critical and must be addressed first?
There should be a plan for handling critical and challenging tasks. Choosing the more manageable tasks to get done first isn’t always the best option.
So, by considering these factors, you can create a matrix like the one on the Semrush website, and whatever channels appear within these criteria the most could be the ones you start your work on for your brand.
Policy Definition, Guidelines and Tone of Voice
This part of the policy will vary for each brand but ensure everyone is sticking to these guidelines.
Generally, it is a good idea to make sure you are not acting like a bully and not escalating any conflicts. Some conversations can be moved to DM, but even then, try to stick to your tone of voice rules, as people can share private conversations publicly.
Have a Crisis Management Strategy in Place
But make sure no one copies and pastes it in mass at the time of a crisis; your response should look tailored to each comment and personal. Set up a chain of command beforehand, as everyone should know the roles in advance, especially when your colleagues face a crisis and may lose their cool.
Monitor Brand Mentions Efficiently
However, it is not just about checking what reviews rank on Google. You can use the Semrush brand monitoring tool to manage and monitor brand mentions efficiently.
Here, you can set up a campaign to monitor the web for mentions of your brand, products, and people to ensure you always know what others say about you. And you can jump straight in and attempt to resolve any negative mentions or references.
How to Monitor Your Online Reviews Efficiently
How frequently you should schedule reports depends on how often you are mentioned online; it depends on the activity and scope of your business in many ways. Once set up, the tool will return a whole host of brand mention insights for you:
You will be able to understand from the dashboard and reports the overall sentiment of brand mentions across the web.
It is a great way to quickly understand whether people’s perception is positive, neutral, or negative, as well as to see specific mentions (both in terms of sentiment and those with the highest traffic potential and estimated reach).
Dominate SERPs for Brand Searches
Also, focus on optimizing your official social media channels, as these sites typically appear within the top 10 for branded searches. But chances are, you won’t fill the entire space with your owned media. Here is how you can review what sites to look out for to give away a positive vibe within SERPs for your brand searches.
Define Your Branded Keywords
Semrush’s Organic Positions report can help you determine your branded keywords by filtering them out from the entire keyword list your domain ranks for.
You should identify the branded keywords with the highest impact. Quickly check the search volumes for each branded keyword to prioritize between them. Create a list of branded keywords that are your top priority.
Encourage Positive Reviews Online
Negative or positive, online reviews will impact your business and sales. Dimensional Research uncovered that positive online reviews affect 90% of buying decisions. And 86% of users will think twice about choosing your brand if it has negative reviews.
How to Get Your Customers to Leave a Review
- You should also have a strategy to encourage customers to leave a review.
- You can do it on a quid pro quo basis and in good faith. Encouraging your customers in person is good; email newsletters and your place of business with your free Google Marketing Kit.
- You can create a small pop-up whenever someone visits your website, asking them to leave a review.
Managing Negative Online Reviews
ReviewTrackers survey unveils that 94% of consumers admit that a negative online review can turn them off choosing a particular business. Before you address your negative reviews, you need to assess the most problematic reviews. Reviews that rank highly in the SERP are a great starting point for your brand Online Reputation Management.
You can quickly run a review through the following social media platforms:
- Google My Business Social
- Media platforms
- Instagram, etc.
- Review.io, or similar
Don’t forget that some social media platforms can gather reviews even if you don’t subscribe. It would help if you captured a regular snapshot of your online reviews to deal with issues effectively.
How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews
Responding to positive reviews can show potential customers you are grateful for their feedback. Responding to negative or neutral reviews can add insight into WHY they had a bad experience so you can improve.”
Being polite will always make your brand look more appealing, especially if you are not giving in to provocation and rudeness. It will only highlight the contrast between a pleasant brand and a raging critic, especially if there is a rude review3 Apologize If You Are Wrong (with one exception). If you are at fault, you should extend your apologies.
How to Push Negative Reviews Down the SERPs
These reviews rank either because they are placed on a very authoritative platform or because they have backlinks. So, to rectify this situation, you need to push the harmful content onto page 2 of Google; or further down if possible.
Here are things you can do
- It creates and earns great and positive content that outranks the opposing piece.
- Work to secure product or service reviews on high-profile sites (even if that means paying for advertorials or sponsoring content).
- Work with influential bloggers or work alongside your PR team.
Create Content that Is Always On-Brand
So, how your content appears for your branded searches, the replies you give across review platforms, and your social media communication all play a part in shaping your image in the eyes of your customers.
Choose Your Influencers Wisely
If you have decided you are ready to invest in some influencer marketing, here is how you can approach the influencer picking process: When dealing with high-end influencers:
Try to pinpoint the ones who aren’t already “taken” by your competitors and best fit your brand image. If you spot a mention from an influencer during your online reputation audit, reach out and thank them for the mention.
It can become a conversation starter, even if their review wasn’t favourable. You can get a chance to create a better pitch for your product and service and turn them into your brand ambassadors. When identifying an aspiring brand ambassador:
Check who mentions your brand most frequently (in Semrush’s Brand Monitoring tool, there’s a special tab called Mentioners).
Your job is to set up a solid online reputation management strategy to navigate all the online conversations, provide fixes here and there, and provoke positive sentiment.
We hope this guide will be a great starting point for your online reputation management efforts.
In the meantime, if you feel like we’ve missed something important or you would like to share your own Online Reputation Management experience, please put your thoughts down in the comments.
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