What is online reputation management?
Simply put, online reputation management (ORM) is the process of influencing and controlling a brand’s digital reputation. It’s making sure that positive, relevant content surrounding your brand is at the top of search results, while negative, irrelevant or brand competition content (which, if you’re playing it right will be at a minimum) is hidden further down. Acting as your online ‘image’, ORM is vital in improving and restoring your brand’s character, credibility and the consumers’ trust in your company.
How ORM can make or break you brand
Consumers’ purchase decisions rely heavily on what they read about the product and brand online, from product reviews – 67% of consumers have stated that they are influenced by online reviews – to blog posts and social media comments left by consumers. If consumers come across a negative brand reputation online, chances are they won’t be purchasing your product, but will move on to a competitor with much more positive reviews – a staggering 80% of consumers had changed a purchase decision due to a bad review they saw online – damaging your sales figures and your vision of success.
The power of voicing marketing messages has shifted away from brands and towards consumers. Brands used to be able to carefully construct and promote their offering using traditional ad methods, but now, with the emergence of social media, this power has been transferred to consumers making it more difficult for brands to control their reputation and defuse negative feedback.
If your ORM is managed well, monitoring for any negative reviews/comments and alleviating them while proactively building on your positive reputation will entice consumers and encourage them to buy your product.
How to manage your online reputation effectively
Monitor the buzz:
The most important aspect of managing ORM effectively? Listening and responding to the buzz. Make sure that you have a powerful social media monitoring tool to hand and a strict procedure when it comes to assigning consumers who are having issues with your brand to customer services. Don’t ignore consumer complaints about delivery issues, refund concerns and product problems, instead, acknowledge them and do all you can to rectify the issue.
If you’re not set up to handle customer service or your presence on social media is poor, then this reflects badly on your brand, impacting sales and consumer loyalty. Not only should you monitor for any negativity, but a world of questions are submitted from potential consumers asking for extra information about your product before they make a purchasing decision. If you’re on the ball and react quickly with relevant, helpful info, chances are they will head to the checkout with your item in their basket.
Never delete comments, take it offline:
Deleting negative comments are seen by consumers as a ‘cover up’ of an issue, and puts your brand in bad light. Unless the comments are obscene or very offence, there is no need to delete them, simply take them offline. Private message the consumer to see if you can help rectify the issue and restore their faith in your brand – one in three consumers who receive a brand response to their complaint will re-post a positive review, with 34% of those deleting their initial negative comment.
Review your response rate:
Is a consumer complaining on Twitter? Negative comments and reviews have a way of spreading quickly on social media so making sure your response rate is up to scratch is vital. Make sure your respond promptly within an hour in a professional and polite tone. It’s the best way to minimise damage caused by the negative comment and helps to ensure fellow consumers can see your brand’s point of view.
If you need to research into the comment, a simple ‘we are looking into the issue and will be in touch shortly, thanks for your patience’ will go a long way to showing consumers that you are addressing their concern and care about the experience they have with your brand.
Monitor online reviews:
Whether the reviews are left on your e-commerce site, through Amazon or by independent bloggers, make sure that you regularly monitor online reviews to distinguish whether they are negative or positive so you can effectively and successfully mitigate the negative and promote the positive.
Left unattended, both positive and negative reviews will be of very little use to your brand… with the negative having potentially disastrous consequences. By keeping an on-going monitoring schedule, you will go a long way in ensuring consumers have faith in your brand and are comforted by your positive image when making a purchase.