Don’t let your online brand perception go from bad to worse. Take the proper steps today to get your business back on track.
Consumers are putting increasing importance and value into online reviews, and they are becoming more comfortable using an ever-widening array of resources across the digital landscape to assess and judge the value of your brand. In the past, your business could have gotten away with focusing its efforts on your brand’s primary website and social media platforms only. Such effort to consolidate your brand’s online digital real estate is no longer a viable strategy, as the number of sites used by consumers to leave service and product feedback and reviews has expanded far beyond social media platforms. In fact, the scope of your brand’s online presence is now such that every business operating across the economy needs to take the time to assess and gauge the impact customer feedback is having on their business.
With studies showing that 93% of consumers have been influenced by online reviews, this need to examine your brand’s online reputation is especially true if you’ve found that your business practices have for any reason caused there to be negative reviews about your brand. A staggering 22% of potential clients are willing to discount your brand if they find a single negative review, and this number goes up to a terrifying 59% if they find three negative reviews.
So what can you do to repair and safeguard your brand’s digital reputation? Here are some starting points to establish a strong foundation and even take some preventive measures.
Take Control of Your Digital Real Estate
Setting the stage for other strategies in this list, the most important thing you can do in your efforts to repair your online reputation is to take control of your brand’s narrative. That requires your marketing team to identify and claim all relevant directory listings and business listings, and then set about ensuring every entry has consistent contact information and current branding. Establishing your authority over your brand in this way allows you to manage those listings and engage with customers on stable ground. Rather than an unmanaged space where customers happen to leave feedback, you’ve now created a platform from which you can actively engage your customer base.
Perform an Assessment of Your Current Online Reputation
As with most marketing initiatives, you need to create a baseline strategy based on the current state. With a clear understanding in place of current customer perception, you can establish which platforms need immediate attention. Also, based on the feedback you find, you can also establish a list of product and service improvements that will address common pain points being highlighted in negative reviews. With a clear path forward as to which platforms and business practices need to be addressed, you can go about taking the necessary actions to accomplish your end goal of improving customer perception of your brand.
Be Proactive By Setting Alerts to Inform You When Your Brand is Mentioned
Nothing will damage your brand more completely than unanswered and unaddressed complaints. Luckily, Google allows businesses and individuals to set alerts for keywords and brand names so that regardless of where or in what context, you’ll know if someone has posted about your business. Minimizing the window of time in which you engage with a post will go a long way towards repairing perception and showing consumers that you do care about what’s being said about your brand.
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Fight Fire with Honey—Diffuse Angry Customers With Kindness
Always engage with customer feedback. Positive, negative, indifferent, or pure flaming attacks on your brand, never leave a comment without a response. That doesn’t mean you have to address a sensitive matter on a public platform, but use the public platform instead to publicly apologize and very clearly invite upset customers into private dialogue to address their concerns. This shows the community that you’re paying attention and that you want to make things right while still respecting the privacy of the client. In public and in private, remain focused on solutions, not problems. Don’t dwell on the negative, but instead work with the client to establish a common path forward towards mutual benefit. This private approach prevents any sort of public escalation and allows you to control the narrative.
Leverage Positive Reviews And Invite Testimonials
A major component to your strategy for repairing your brand’s online reputation needs to be inviting your current customers who are satisfied to provide a positive review on any and every platform they are active upon that is relevant to your brand. By having a solid review generation policy and crowdsourcing testimonials, you’re building off of one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal—the willingness of happy clients to share a positive experience. This social proof approach helps derail the power of negative reviews by surrounding them with positive perceptions of your brand. Along with the proactive and solution-focused engagement in the previous step addressing negative reviews, you’ve effectively taken the bite out of the negative reviews and made the posters more willing to engage in solutions, as they are able to clearly see that your brand has provided value for others.
Turn Those Negative Reviews Around And Get Your Digital Reputation Back On Track
Often, negative reviews are more than just a simple customer complaint—they are a focused insight that helps to expose the flaws in our business model that we can successfully repair if we take the time and effort to do so. Being proactive about securing our brand’s presence across the internet is only the first step in many that we must take to improve and stabilize our relationships with our customers and potential clients. By going down this path and engaging with our customers along the way—both happy customers and otherwise—we can create a powerful narrative focused on solutions to some of our biggest flaws and create a stronger more successful brand as a result.