5 Pillars for Online Reputation Management
These days around 4 billion people access the internet every day for an average of 9 hours. This is the reason why online marketing and promotion are so commonplace. Public relations can be built or destroyed by a single Tweet or Facebook post if you are not careful. Let’s find out the 5 pillars of the online reputation management.
There are many ways in which customers gauge your product or service. First, if your product does not show at the top of the list on search engines, you may not get enough visibility. Second, after people find your product, they will review it on blog sites or shopping sites. This is where online reputation management comes in.
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An example of reputation management
That would be ensuring your product has high ratings on shopping sites. You can do so by first making quality products. But then you must get people to review your product with high ratings. This is all a part of managing your reputation online.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online Reputation Management means the controlling or influencing of an individual or a group’s image (reputation) online. Although the adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” may apply in many scenarios, it does not fare well in the time of social media. One negative feedback or comment could spoil your or your company’s goodwill in the eyes of your customers/followers.
You must ensure that your online reputation perfectly embodies the quality of your product or service. At the end of the day, people will judge you on the basis of your work. But these “people” will be less willing to try your goods and services if they don’t like you. This is where building and managing public relations through online reputation is important.
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Be it your official website or a social media account, managing an online reputation need not be very complicated. Simply follow the five pillars of online reputation management as stated in this article.
5 Pillars of Online Reputation Management
Pillar 1: Authenticity and Transparency
At every stage of communication, you must maintain honesty and transparency.
- It starts with you, the messenger. Be honest about yourself, your company, and what it stands for. There should be no discrepancy between your company and the product it manufactures.
- Take this example of reputation management: Say you are launching eco-friendly products. But your company is found guilty of improper waste management. This will make the customers doubt your intentions.
- To develop a strong trust between the company and its consumers, you need to be honest. The truth always prevails, especially on the internet.
- People need authenticity to have faith in you. Only then will they spend money on your services or products. To achieve this, you must commit in the long term. Every campaign you run should be accompanied by the appropriate actions.
- To give you another example, during the BLM (#BlackLivesMatter) protests, many corporations expressed their support for the cause through social media. However, the people responded negatively to such gestures. Their argument was, how can a company with no minority in its higher leadership support a cause affecting the minorities? Your actions and words should be in sync. That will make your customers believe in you.
- Maintain some dignity and do not jump to take advantage of any popular event. People can see through that. Instead, do some research and find valuable topics related to your services.
- You can then highlight these topics and encourage users to engage with you through social media. The topics you end up choosing may not be popular at the moment. But they will build a solid foundation for your reputation in the long haul.
- If you are looking for online reputation management services in India, ensure they understand your brand well. Anything released from your end should be true to the spirit of your company’s actual standards.
Pillar 2: Relevance and Coherence
- Listen to the great storytellers. What do they all have in common? There is a certain clarity to the way they pass on information. And the listeners pay attention because great storytellers know exactly what the people want to hear.
- Learn to listen to your customers or followers. To do this, you must know what interests your target audience. Understand their tastes and preferences. Study their social media profiles and presence.
- You must conduct consumer research surveys to learn about your target base. Such surveys reveal valuable data and insights about your consumers so you can engage them properly.
- If you are choosing a digital marketing agency, make sure they have the expertise to give you deep analytics. They should also keep track of trending issues that could affect your target audience.
- A tip for conducting surveys is that you must keep them brief. If the surveys are too long, you will bore your customers. Many of them may not even finish the survey.
- The platform also makes a difference. These days everyone uses their smartphones more than any other device. Make sure that your surveys can be accessed on the phone in an accessible and readable manner.
- Be aware of current affairs, especially events that can impact you directly. Depending on the situation, you can leverage the recent events to make or break your product. For instance, if a sports team you sponsor wins a match, you can use that news to promote yourself.
- On the contrary, if the news negatively impacts your product, beware of promoting yourself. For example, a leading university in Lebanon was mocked on social media when it encouraged students to come and study there. This campaign came out in the midst of a deep economic crisis in Lebanon.
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Pillar 3: Building Relationships Continuously
You cannot own your own reputation. It has to be earned. Even though you are working hard with honesty, your audience decides whether you deserve their trust and respect.
- Every social media account or email address is a living, breathing person. It is important for you to build a reliable relationship with these online persons.
- Naturally, your real-world reputation will accompany you to your online presence. But a lot can change based on how you interact with audiences and customers over the internet.
- Social media is your biggest platform online to form your online reputation. No, you do not have to message your audience in their inboxes all the time.
- Instead, focus on your posts, stories, pictures, and videos. Social media allows you to use a multiple campaign approach. From the same account, you can promote your brand through posters, video commercials, artwork, podcasts, product photography, and much more.
- Make sure that your campaign is relevant to your business and your customers. Finding the middle ground is essential.
- Your work does not stop there. Over a period of time, people will interact with your posts. They can comment on their opinions and share their posts with other users online.
- Do not simply read these opinions. Always respond to them appropriately. You need to increase traffic to your page, or social media handle through audience engagement.
- Go for genuine reviews with no agenda. In addition, always share fresh reviews with your audience. This way, the audience can trust the opinions mentioned in the review. It will boost your reputation online.
- Being active on social media is paramount to business success. After all, billions of people are online too.
Pillar 4: Visibility and Punctuality
How can the audience trust your brand if they don’t see you very often? Simply being active on social media may not be enough. You want search engines and traffic algorithms to pick you up as a priority.
- First of all, plan your campaigns really well. You should have a plan of action months in advance. There can be room for change based on emergencies or breaking news stories. But the majority of your plan will remain unchanged. You need this time to come up with a well-researched and tried strategy.
- On top of that, you need to be quick to respond. For effective user engagement, you must reply to user comments as soon as they pop up. This can get a series of conversations flowing. Most social media sites like Instagram are programmed to give more visibility with more audience interaction. The more comments you get on a post, the more likely it will be visible to other people on the platform.
- A delay in response means a loss of opportunity. Within 24 hours, many people would have left a comment, and some audiences would have found solutions to their problems without your support. This is not good for your online reputation.
- Similarly, your response to online reviews must be quick. For instance, apart from good SEO (search engine optimization), the number of reviews and their recency heavily impact Google algorithms.
- When it comes to networking, keeping a good rapport with critics is also important. In addition, many customers do not trust reviews older than 90 days. This means you need to ask for reviewers to review your services periodically. Do not just wait for reviewers to take up your case.
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Pillar 5: Management of Challenging or Difficult Issues
No matter how hard you try to be good, sometimes you will be judged as bad. That is inevitable. But you can control what you say in that situation to save your online reputation.
- Management of crisis should be a component of your online campaigning strategies. It is advisable to hire a specialist team for crisis management. Their expertise can help keep a sinking ship afloat especially when the crisis is caused by external factors (a global pandemic, for instance).
- Focus on operational insights as well. This can prevent a crisis from happening. Pay attention to the problems your customers face. List out the problems and begin solving them before they get out of hand.
I hope everyone liked the article on “5 pillars of online reputation management“.
Aaron Hanson works as a digital marketer with e Intelligence, a digital marketing company with offices in the UK and India. He works passionately to find innovative solutions for digital marketing pain points and loves to share his expertise with anyone who needs it.