Manage your Brand’s Reputation Online

Manage your Brand’s Reputation Online

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The Internet is both a wonderful and dangerous place for any business. Wonderful because it can help you reach new customers and create loyalty amongst those you already have. Dangerous because it’s an open forum for anyone to comment on the service your company provides, whether what they’re saying is true or not. This means that your brand’s more vulnerable than ever.

This is where Online Reputation Management (ORM) comes into play. Think of it as PR for the Web. It helps you to monitor your brand across the Internet by tracking mentions of keywords relating to your brand. For example, you can see what people are saying about your business by monitoring your company’s name – no one will be able to say anything about you online without you knowing about it.

It’s an eye-opening tool that helps you protect your business’s reputation and enhance customer service, build relationships and encourage repeat business.

Making ORM work for your brand

  • Personalise responses. Sincere responses to any gripes, queries or compliments can help you build relationships with your customers and mitigate negative commentary.
  • Value every individual. While connections with many friends and followers can be a shortcut to a wider audience, a passionate individual is just as powerful. Don’t neglect any comment or complaint because you think they matter less. Prioritise but recognise the potential value of each mention.
  • Be consistent. ORM requires all marketing and PR employees to publicise the same messages and have the same reactions as if they were one person. This builds trust and a united front against negative commentary.
  • React immediately. As soon as you’ve identified, or are alerted to negative brand mentions, respond as quickly as possible. The longer you leave a negative situation to fester, the less manageable it will become. Nip negativity in the bud before it spreads.
  • Look to other companies for examples. Study companies that have recently been in hot water and analyse how they’ve dealt with negative publicity. What key actions can you identify? Were they successful? This can help you formulate a reactionary strategy.

ORM can help you contain negative mentions and use them to your advantage. It’s a necessity for any modern business, as all brands are being spoken about online regardless of whether they have a website or not. Make sure that you protect your business’s image in the online arena.

Maximising your ORM strategy

Here are five tips to get the most from your ORM strategy:

  1. Never react impulsively. Reaction without thought can lead to aggressive responses. While feedback needs to happen quickly, each reaction should be carefully considered.
  2. Be proactive. Any PR disaster should be planned for and proactively dealt with. Prepare for tomorrow’s storm, today. By building relationships with those in your social media platforms, you will get the benefit of the doubt if something does go wrong.
  3. Add a personal touch. Respond to the content of your connections with relevant messages that relate to your brand.
  4. Know your audience. Always speak to your target audience with a consistent message that will appeal to them. This way, your core audience benefits most from your responses and your ORM efforts are more likely to pay off.
  5. Acknowledge, resolve and publicise. The best way to deal with a complaint is to empathise, genuinely resolve the issue and do it on an open platform so that consumers know they’re your priority.
Kerry Beetge is a copywriter and editor for Purple Cow Communications, which specialises in Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click Advertising, Email Marketing, Web Design and Mobile Development. Visit www.purplecow.co.za for more information.