For any business, brand reputation and brand image are vital to its success. The way a company is perceived in the industry- by competitors, by customers, and by experts, determines the shape that the business can take.
Customers and vendors often judge a company by its reputation online – this could be in the form of comments, reviews and feedback offered by others in the industry or those who have been customers/done business with your company.
One of the most important activities in this regard would be to manage your online reputation. Here are some of the ways in which your company should create an online reputation and manage it:
1. Assess your existing online presence:
To manage your online brand reputation, it is important to always stay updated on your online mentions and presence. Build a process by which you constantly have your online presence monitored. This can include forum discussions, social media mentions, competitor website forums, reviews by customers and/or ex-employees and so on. Ensure that there is a proper guideline set in place to respond to queries, complaints and negative reviews promptly and to get these issues closed.
2. Identify potential issues:
Start with capturing related domain names or sub-domains which will be more likely to come up in search results and will push any negative search results further down. While monitoring your brand online, you might come across certain negative reviews, comments or complaints. Instead of deleting them or getting them deleted, engage with the people who posted them.
Provide a sincere and honest response and close the loop by getting their request resolved with the appropriate person or team in your company. This way you can also control the way your company is perceived.
3. Keep engaging:
A brand’s digital presence needs to be dynamic i.e. it’s not just about sending updates into cyberspace, but to build a strong brand reputation, you must engage more. Share, comment, like, favourite, retweet, reply and engage with those who engage with your company. Ask questions, and make posts more interactive. The key is to create conversations and improve people’s perception of your company as one that is dedicated to interacting with its audience and handling queries genuinely.
4. Create valuable content:
In order to manage your online reputation and make it grow, you must invest in creating high quality, valuable content. This will help your business establish itself as a thought leader in the industry and also drive positive reviews and enhance your existing brand reputation. Content that is useful to readers and provides value trumps constant self-promotion, always.
5. Build authenticity & your own voice:
To stand out amidst the clutter and create a reputation of being interesting and real, your company should develop its own unique brand persona, and create a voice that resonates across platforms when communicating with users. This unique and distinctive voice will build association with your company in your audience’s minds.
In terms of your brand reputation, it will become what defines you and thus add more to it in a positive way. To manage your online reputation, it will require a lot of research and pro-activeness in terms of your company’s digital presence and activity. It is a sustained activity that will add to your brand image in the long run, create a positive and strong brand presence for your company online.