As a digital marketer, one of the most common grievances that we get from potential clients is that when something goes wrong with their online reputation, they start feeling like if they take any action, it could make things worse. For example, the clients think that if they leave comments in places where their online reputation isn’t up to the mark, it could turn more eyes towards them or that if they start addressing their customers’ complaints head-on, it will result in more complaints flooding in.
Improving and maintaining an online reputation needs a special skill set. Nevertheless, most digital marketing agencies can agree that many of their potential clients don’t “really” understand what online reputation management means. It does not involve wickedly playing the system to remove genuine criticisms of a brand from the web. Likewise, in the same way, it isn’t whining, grumbling, or anything else with a resentful, defensive, or authorized overtone. To tell the truth, it’s about speaking out on your own behalf and sticking up for yourself. In the most real sense, it is fighting back or defending yourself. But rather than getting involved in any type of actual or physical fighting, it is merely about speaking the truth out loud.
Online Reputation Research: Not Only for Customers but for Your Business Too
When you imagine users looking into a brand’s online reputation, you might think of prospects directly. Nevertheless, we like to advise businesses to do their own online reputation research. Because at the end of the day, if the product or service you are offering is not good enough for the people, it will be visible via your company’s online reputation.
Online reputation is crucial. It serves as an icebreaker (makes the first impression when a prospect searches for a business) and a dealbreaker (influences the final buying decision) as well.
To put things into perspective, we are not just saying this. The importance of online reputation management is distinctly reflected in the statistics. Reportedly, more than 90% of buyers go through customer reviews before purchasing a product, around 5/6th of customers worldwide check local business reviews, and over half of the total consumers won’t buy anything until they have read four reviews at the minimum.
But we don’t “really” need someone to cite these statistics for us to realize how essential online reputation management is. Just consider your own life and how you usually make purchases. If you are anything like the average consumer, you wouldn’t just purchase something without performing a little research first. So ask yourself, why would your customers behave any differently?
By now, you have probably understood the importance of having a decent online reputation. This brings us to the next step, i.e., improving and maintaining your online reputation appropriately.
It Is Nothing Like You See in the Movies
In numerous (but indeed not all) TV shows and movies, aloof silence despite the accusations is often acclaimed and even rewarded in some cases. We bet you have seen it countless times. The hero is accused of something terrible by one of the villains but chooses to remain silent and says nothing in their defense. But then, right before the movie or show is about to end, the truth is revealed, the villain gets punished, and the hero, well, becomes the hero again.
But unfortunately, as tempting as this may sound, that’s not how things work in real life generally. Moreover, it is unmistakably not the way things work on the web. When a person criticizes your business on the internet, your prospects, existing customers, investors, and employees will eventually discover it. And that’s virtually definite.
Honestly speaking, finding criticisms of a brand can be quickly done within a couple of minutes. So customers who spend hours researching your company will undoubtedly find them.
That’s why it is critical to work on your online reputation correctly. Rather than neglecting the accusations and letting them go unaddressed, it is vital to face them directly. And by that, we mean responding to them or reaching out to those unsatisfied customers. Moreover, for specific accusations, this might even mean getting a lawyer involved. Most importantly, it means being proactive. In numerous ways, your online reputation is actually an extension of your company, making it too valuable to not monitor and maintain constantly.
The Key to Successful Online Reputation Management
When it comes to running a successful online reputation management campaign, honesty is always at the heart of those campaigns, at least, as per what we have discovered so far. Undoubtedly, the methods, techniques, and tactics used are all different for each business, but apart from all that, it is about being honest. In this context, it means being honest about your business, what it has done, its accusations, how you have addressed them, etc. This stands true irrespective of whether those criticisms are valid or not. Sure, agencies craft a unique strategy for each client, but those strategies must be rooted in truth. Because without that, it wouldn’t work.
In addition to all this, much like any other aspect of digital marketing, online reputation management, too, needs the buy-in from clients. Think of online reputation management as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. Now even the best treatments wouldn’t leave lasting results if the client continues to eat junk food, remains inactive, and has an unhealthy lifestyle overall. The same holds true for online reputation management as well.
A business engaging in regular fraud won’t ever be able to prosper genuinely with or without online reputation management. This is because bad or harsh reviews are not causing the most significant damage to the brand’s online reputation; the brand itself is doing it.
Wrapping It Up
When you take actions to enhance your brand’s online reputation, it provides you with something to live up to or achieve. By being as dynamic and honest as you can, standing up for yourself, and being open but not giving in while carrying on with your business ethically and appropriately, you can undoubtedly achieve the online reputation you desire for your company. Now that you know what online reputation management “really” means, you can go ahead and start looking for ways to improve and maintain yours. Be sure to keep an eye on your customer reviews, research your company’s online reputation frequently and proactively respond to customers’ grievances in a polite manner to win hearts and make your business thrive!