Online Reputation Management: 7 Techniques for Big Brands
The online reputation of a brand translates into how consumers perceive your business. How your brand interacts with consumers is vital to the success of a business. Negative reviews or posts about your business can significantly affect your online reputation. This can translate to reduced traffic not on your online stores but also in your physical storefronts. The age of being canceled or boycotted is in full swing, and how you carry yourself as a brand can make or break your presence in the industry.
But not to worry, to understand how to master your online reputation, you must first understand what ORM is. This term stands for online reputation management, which could be the saving grace for your business if you want to succeed in the digital space. Being successful online matters much more than it did 20 years ago. Since around 71% of all consumers begin their customer journey on Google, how your brand is seen on search engines is also critical to your online reputation, as 65% of online consumers trust online reviews on SERP.
That being said, every brand is fighting for the top spot on SERPs, and everyone wants the best exposure for their brand. So managing your online presence means being seen in the right light and being seen first. Some marketers say that 98% of online consumer researchers never go past the first page of a search engine. This means you must ensure you are seen first. Only then will your website be found, and potential customers can explore your product pages. Firstly, businesses need to understand what ORM strategies are.
The online reputation management strategy aims at creating a positive and trustworthy image of a person, brand or business in the eyes of the general public. When conducting ORM, it can consist of monitoring what consumers say about you, addressing product reviews, and customer feedback (positive or negative). You can also find yourself implementing strategies that will mitigate any bad PR for the brand or accelerate the excellent image of a brand through the digital space.
To manage your online reputation, you must effectively manage the different digital channels your brand is operating within. Each of these channels can be split into four main categories.
These categories are:
As the name suggests, this would be all the media you completely control and do not have to share. This consists of the brand website, blogs, videos, social media content and your pages on third-party websites. However, you can assume that SEO is critical in managing this kind of media. Since your web pages will appear on search engines, it would be beneficial if they were seen on the SERP’s first page.
This is the attention and exposure your brand receives through other businesses or platforms. It is usually free and does add credibility to your brand. This kind of media can be seen through press coverages, articles or blogs on other sites where your web pages are linked, such as forums like Quora and Reddit. Google reviews also play an impactful role in this media since you cannot control what people say about your brand on the platform’s business review feature.
Earned media can give consumers the trust and positive reinforcement needed to conduct business with your brand. However, when you achieve more positive reviews, search engines will also recognize the pattern and rank your website higher on SERP.
This kind of media refers to social media where all your content is shared with other brands and users. This means anyone can comment on the content you upload on these platforms. It can either be positive or negative, depending on the content you are putting out. You must pay attention to how consumers react to your brand online through different media channels. Multiple negative consumer engagements across social media are an alarming sign of changing your brand image.
This media refers to all the platforms you are present on that you paid to have a brand feature. This includes ads on Google, social media, Microsoft and Linkedin sponsored messaging. This kind of direct marketing toward consumers reinforces the brand’s image in the user’s mind. Even though it is essential, this media does not carry the same impactful weight as earned or owned media only because consumers trust organic interactions over advertisements.
After you have figured out the kind of media, you want your brand to emit toward consumers. So it is time to figure out how to execute the types of online reputation management techniques to navigate the digital space successfully and safely.
These techniques are:
1. Strengthen Brand Presence
There are three aspects of your brand presence you need to keep an eye on and maintain. These are the brand logo, colors & fonts and tone. To start with the brand logo, you must make sure that the brand logo is visible at all times and on all platforms the business decides to operate within. Having the logo on display pictures of accounts and account banners is usually common knowledge. Still, it is also vital to have the brand logo on any public content, such as social media posts, business presentations and website pages.
The idea is to have the logo present but not intrusive. You want consumers to know the post represents the brand, but the visual content is still the main highlight. A valuable tip would be to include the brand logo in the corner of any content, so it is noticeable but not distracting. The reason for continuous brand logo sighting is to reinforce the rule of seven. This rule explains that the average consumer needs to have seven brand impressions to be remembered and recognized. That being said, you should not overload the consumer with the brand logo. However, creating thought-provoking content is ineffective if consumers cannot link it to your brand.
Another aspect to consider when you are concerned with brand reputation is colors and fonts. Specific colors and fonts are associated with big brands, such as red being associated with Coca-Cola. So to earn a reputation to be remembered, you must select a brand color and font to use universally over all your brand outgoing messaging, such as emails, social posts and video content. The current consumer is visual, so you use these colors and fonts to achieve brand retention in the consumer’s mind. Regarding fonts, corporate letterhead would be advised for all company documents and online prints.
The idea of using a universal color for your brand content and logo is to set your business apart from the rest. The average consumer scrolled through hundreds of posts with different colors and visuals. So associating your brand with color would be valuable in creating a reputation within the digital industrial space. You must use your various channels to make sure your brand colors pop and make an impression on consumers.
Lastly is brand tone. This aspect is sometimes overlooked due to the kind of weight logos and brand color hold. But, the brand tone used in the messaging sent to consumers is critical to achieving effective brand representation. So it is essential to keep in mind to have a uniform tone across all platforms and also a tone that appeals to your target audience the most. Relating to who your target audience is would make your tone a lot more straightforward.
Personalized message tones in content would make the consumer more comfortable interacting with a brand. Using marketing jargon and generic slogan will do no business any good. Instead, your brand will be more approachable and recognizable when your tone is apparent across all platforms. To achieve the perfect representation of your brand online, you must improve all three aspects to make an impact in the digital space.
2. Perform An Online Brand Reputation Audit
Another element of ORM is seeing where you stand on digital platforms. You can only deduce this by conducting an online reputation audit. This will set a benchmark to assess how consumers currently view your brand and the challenges you are facing. Only you figure these out, it would be easier to focus on improving your brand reputation. TO conduct an audit, you must perform brand monitoring.
To start the process of brand monitoring, these are a few steps you need to follow. The first step is opening your preferred browser and entering incognito mode. This is to ensure that your previous history will not affect your search. Next, you must type your brand’s name into a search engine, preferably Google. Once you hit search, you must examine all the sites on the first SERP. Your business should pop up if you have set up a webpage beforehand. Please go through all the Google My Business information that pops up. This would consist of ratings, comments, reviews and user-generated content.
After that, you can separate the site results into those you can control and those websites you have no control over. You can usually control the narrative when it comes to social media. Regarding third-party listings or news pieces, you will have to contact the authors or owners and request them to edit any distasteful content out of public viewing. The best-case scenario is every negative opinion these sites have about your brand can be changed. Finally, review all the reviews and see the consensus on how consumers feel about your brand and products. These reviews are essential because they will assist you in deciding which platform needs the most attention.
Additionally, there are also brand monitoring tools available for businesses to use. These will narrow down the search results you have control over, what websites are associated with your brand’s name, your online popularity, and assistance in understanding Google analytics and website traffic sources (either external or internal). Finally, the overall sentiment of people is easily identified through these tools.
3. Encourage Positive Feedback From Customers
The impact of brand reviews has been mentioned in the previous section, but what is the effect on a brand? Some market researchers have observed that positive online reviews influence 90% of consumer buying decisions. On the other hand, 86% of consumers will be reluctant to buy from a brand with negative reviews. This is why having a four-star rating on your reviews is crucial in attracting new customers and elevating your online brand reputation. One vital practice to incorporate into your brand strategy is to ask customers for feedback and reviews.
Consumers are more likely to share a review if they have an incredible experience or a horrendous one. The trick is to pinpoint where the consumer is happiest on the customer journey and suggest if a review could be posted or filled up. This is usually done by sharing a link that can take you to a review page. Getting positive reviews is essential to SEO for your brand as they impact SERP rankings. Platforms like Google will downrank a site that has poor customer service experiences and negative reviews left by customers.
There are a few ways to request consumers to leave reviews and feedback. The first way is by asking them directly, either in person or through an email newsletter. Similarly, you can add a small pop-up on your website that suggests consumers leave a review. This process should be simple, avoid unloading other features like sign-ups or personal details, or the customer might feel overwhelmed.
Social media is always an excellent outlet for gathering customer reviews. The numerous features on every social media platform let you use creative and fun ways to have consumers leave reviews about the business and its products. You can also have an encouragement program that would reward consumers for leaving reviews. One critical practice you should incorporate in the process is always to thank every customer that leaves a positive review since time and effort from the consumer went into the review.
4. Working With Influencers
Influencers in the digital world are a well-known technique for advertising your brand and establishing yourself in an industry. Consumers follow influencers and can feel swayed to feel a certain way about brands over time. Influencers can influence consumers’ thoughts through reviews and feedback on products or services. Some advertisers found that 90% of consumers trusted the recommendation they got from an influencer. They also are more likely to trust a brand that has been referred to them by an influencer.
This is a potent tool in a brand reputation strategy, as this could make or break your business. So it is crucial to seek influencers representing your brand the best and ensure that you are seen in a good light among their followers. What an influencer can do for you is increase your audience and the reach your brand has on various platforms. Not only that, but your credibility will make consumers trust the business more. Influencers generate a lot of views and impressions on social media through their content. It would be a good idea to associate your brand with influencers to better manage your online brand reputation.
5. Tackle Negative Reviews
The impact of positive reviews was discussed in the previous sections, but you must also keep an eye out for negative reviews. These kinds of online reviews should be addressed, and it should not be assumed that they will disappear eventually. The perception of a negative review should also be changed. It is not a burden to the company but more of a second chance to prove to consumers you care about their opinion. Finally, addressing negative reviews shows consumers that you are well-versed in problem-solving and customer care and that the brand wants to build genuine customer relationships.
So be vigilant and respond to every negative online review your brand receives, whether on search engines or your brand website. Thank customers for their reviews, even if they damage the brand. Once you have acknowledged the issue, you need to offer up valuable solutions to combat the issue the consumer faced. For example, if a customer had a bad experience with your product, offer them a discount on their next purchase or a coupon. You can also go as far as refunding the money spent as a sign of goodwill from the business. This interaction will help with a brand reputation as you will be seen as a business that handles issues and knows how to keep the customer happy.
6. Incorporate SEO In Your Strategy
SEO is known to help brands appear on SERPs in advantageous positions, but when you use it for online brand management, there can be a slight difference. The main difference is that instead of getting many brand web pages ranked on search engines, For ORM, many websites are ranked to acquire brand-focused queries. This way, you will be able to push up positive owned media on search engines and push down negative search results.
The main focus of this SEO strategy is to optimize only entirely owned media to associate it with brad related keywords on SERP. For example, you can create content on your website that can be reviewed—building backlinks to key pages that can be ranked. You can also find positive brand mentions through events, influencers, digital PR and sponsorships.
Being active on social media platforms adds to the strategy and also optimizes third-party sites where the brand operates, like Yelp and Trust Pilot. Google will consistently rank reputable sources higher on their search pages which will assist in your reputation management. Ensure that your website and web pages are credible.
7. Humanize Your Brand
You can do all the above-mentioned techniques, but to truly connect with consumers, you need to seem more than just a business entity. The time when consumer awe at MNCs is over, and people are shifting to brands that have a human element to them. Now, if you run a small or big brand, showing consumers that your human side, as in the actual people behind the brand, always has a positive outcome.
A brand’s online reputation is based on how relatable a brand is to the average consumer. The younger buyer these days wants to know the ins and outs of a company. They want to know who works there and who manages everything. The inner workings of a business are what consumers want to see.
The more transparent you are as a brand, consumers will perceive you better. The treatment of employees and different departments is vital to the modern-day consumer. For example, brands can use their online channels to upload content about their employees and how they do business. This reinforces the positive perception consumers will have about a brand. Equality and fair business practices are critical for consumers; some might not even budge about their stance about how they feel about it. As a brand, you can share weekly videos about employees from different levels of the company talking about their experience at the business and use that content on social media to improve your brand’s online reputation. The more you humanize your business, the more trust you will have among people.
These techniques will assist your brand in securing a better online presence and, eventually, an excellent digital reputation in different industries. It would be best to focus on what the consumer sees and how they react. Not addressing negative consumer interactions can also lead to worse results for your brand. But if focusing on these techniques is challenging, you are in luck. Digital marketing agencies like SV Digital can help you with brand reputation management at affordable rates. Contact them to learn more about their services.
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