4 ways to improve your online reputation management

Establishing a positive online reputation is one of the most important marketing opportunities for any business today.

More often than not, customers are exposed to your brand for the first time through a social channel, whether it’s through the company’s website, a customer review, or a shared social post.

However, when a crisis occurs, brands struggle to not only maintain a positive social media reputation, but also how to manage it well.

Having a thorough and comprehensive online reputation management plan in place is a must for any business today.

Four key ways to improve your online management strategy today are:
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1. Understand your threats: conduct a social media audit

It is important that known vulnerabilities to your business are identified when developing your social media management strategy.

Identifying challenges and potential threats will help reduce the risk of any future negative impacts on your brands reputation.

Conducting a companywide social media audit will enable you to better prepare yourself in identifying and recognising online threats to your business.

Start by considering all risks that could influence or have an impact on your brand’s reputation.

Risks could include online security, crisis response or social media governance.

It is important to rank each of these factors in terms of likelihood, consequence and control measures for every threat recognised.

All team members involved or connected with the company’s social media accounts should have a thorough knowledge of the required daily procedures, policies, processes and key responsibilities to ensure transparency and consistency across all company departments when responding to any reputation threat.

Then review the company’s crisis management plans and training required.

This will help ensure consistency in messages and tone on all company owned social channels, as well as prepare staff for any crisis that could occur and the procedures to follow.

Most importantly, this will help staff develop key skills in responding to customers in a timely and effective manner.

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2. Be Authentic Online
As brands start to change their business models in adopting a customer centric focus, it is important to understand the key drivers for customers who call out brands on social media.

Dishonesty, poor customer service and rudeness (in-person) are ranked as the top three reasons for customers to make complaints about brands online.

If brands respond to customer complaints poorly or the responses do not match customer expectations, then brands are more likely to face boycotts and forms of online shaming.

As competition continues to increase across all industries, especially within B2C environments, good customer service is not only a must, but it should be at the core of any brand strategy.

In contrast, brands that have successfully integrated centric focus and priorities their online reputation management will see customers more likely to share their experiences online and become advocates for the brand.

By addressing their own networks and talking about the great customer service received in solving a problem or issue, customers can turn into loyalists and assist in the redemption process of the brands reputation.

Having a comprehensive online reputation management strategy is vital for any brands success in today’s highly connected world.

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3. Moments of truth: deliver quality customer experience

Brands should adopt a mindset that any interactions with customers are to be identified as moments of truth.

Research suggests there is a direct correlation between customer experience and the financial success of a company.

Brands that take the time to ask questions, look for feedback and engage with customers regularly, are more likely to develop an overall experience that connects with customers on both and emotional and transactional scale.

A high-quality customer experience consists of high-quality interactions, and begins the moment customers become aware of your company.

Today, first impressions count more than ever.

There are two key areas brands can implement and focus on in measuring and identifying how successful the customer experience journey is with their brand.

The first is identifying each touch point throughout your business and how your customers engage with and interact at each point.

The second is determining the overall customer satisfaction through transactional and image based satisfaction.

Transaction satisfaction is measured through support calls, sales calls and emails.

By doing this, brands will have greater visibility in understanding how customers feel and interact with their product/service and how they can improve.

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4. Take advantage of social listening

One of the most effective methods in capturing customer conversations and brand mentions is through the use of social listening.

Social listening enables brands to extract key insights about conversations taking place, both positive and negative and respond to queries and comments in real-time.

Social listening is a vital tool in understanding your customers in greater depth and should be applied to your overall strategy from both a content and CRM perspective.

Social listening can be used to develop high-level, actionable insights in a cost effective and efficient way.

Through monitoring social conversations and analysing social data to understand the behaviour and mindset of the customer, through unbiased and unprompted peer to peer conversations.

For social listening to be effective, it requires a commitment in understanding the semantics, patterns and conversations about your brand.

In today’s highly connected world, news of a brand slip up travels faster than ever before.

Having an online reputation management strategy in place, not only gives your brand the best chance at maintaining a positive reputation online, but creates opportunity to increase engagement between your brand and your customers.