The term “Brand Reputation Management” has recently got wide popularity; it’s a long driven concept. Building reputation has always been a matter of concern for successful organizations. The only difference is that earlier, it used to be called as Public Relation Management and now it has got a new terminology. However, the sphere has evolved to include instant user generated feedback through social media sites and review networks which imply new challenges and opportunities to businesses.
Brand Reputation Management is all about managing the business references, conversations, and feedbacks effectively, both online and offline.
So, what’s the game plan to follow? Here are the seven areas you should focus on to get your brand on top.
1. Search Engine Authority
Your company website should be the first listing on search results page when users type in your business’s name. The rest of the listings should be your social profile pages (your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other official profiles), Google Places entry, your website blog and news entries. Wikipedia pages and review websites can also pop up on the first page. So, make sure that all the facts mentioned are correct and accurate. The main aim should be to dominate the front page results with your business listings.
Also, you should rank high for key terms within your industry. The more you appear on search results, the more it will help you earn a brand image.
2. Monitoring discussions on brand online
It doesn’t matter whether your business in small or big, people will talk about it; and irrespective of how many people are discussing about it online, you should be ready to monitor their activity and respond to positive or negative comments. You need to deal with inaccurate stories and discontented customers appropriately.
There are many tools available in the market to help you monitor such discussions and mentions, like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Technorati and Hootsuite.
Online monitoring brand mentions is crucial to brand management. These appearances can occur at online forums, social media platforms, blog posts, etc. There are many free as well as paid monitoring tools available. The businesses can use them according to their requirements and budget.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media provides an effective platform for creating a positive business image. Running a set activity plan on these sites help you create a reputation that lasts and add credibility. For big business firms, it is recommended that their key staff has well maintained LinkedIn profiles and personal social sites.
4. Reviews and Testimonials
Every business is subjected to criticism. Both positive and negative feedbacks should be accepted in a healthy manner and put to constructive use. Negative reviews should be used to make amendments while positive reviews can be used to gain customer endorsements. Customer endorsements are far better than company recommendations.
Adding testimonials and positive reviews on your website is a good way to catch customer’s attention and thus, build a positive reputation.
5. Better Customer Service
Providing better customer service is crucial to brand reputation management process. To accomplish this, it is required that the customer service staff understands the importance of BRM. Setting targets is one of the ways to encourage them to work better.
6. Dealing with discontented customers smartly
Sometimes it so happens that an angry customer post negative feedbacks online. This may damage your brand reputation if not handled at an early stage. In such cases, it is necessary that comments are responded to immediately, either with a strong reason, or genuine apology. You may also offer discounted services. But if the matter is not resolved, it’s better to address the issue directly.
7. Reaching out to customers for advocating your brand
Try to convince your best or most valued customers to share their positive experiences online. Send them gifts at special occasions and invite them to company events. This will further encourage them to post positive reviews online; thus, enhancing your brand image significantly.
Business owners are often unaware about their online brand reputation issues. They don’t even realize that they need to be concerned about their brand reputation online. In fact, many marketing executives don’t realize the potential loss in sales, press coverage and more until long after the damage is done. It should be understood that brand reputation management has a big impact on a company’s revenue and thus, it should be given desired importance.