The internet can just be a cruel place sometimes. It doesn’t take long for people to realize that they need to sensor what they post on their personal social media accounts and work hard on their personal reputation. What is surprising is that some marketing and PR teams are not as concerned about what is being posted about the organizations that they represent. With every incident being recorded and shared across social media, a brand’s reputation can be tarnished very quickly. Just ask United Airlines! You should always have a PR plan in place to deal with whatever might be thrown your way. In today’s digital world where photos, social media and news stories are everlasting, upholding your reputation online is more important than ever. Remember that without a positive reputation, no brand can truly flourish.
How exactly does a consumer judge your reputation?
Think about when you plan a trip out of town, or even pick a new event to attend, do you make the decision yourself? Most of us talk these ideas overwith friends and family. If they respond positively you are more likely to pull the trigger and buy your tickets or book your travel! If they don’t, you will seek out another option, many times a competitor of yours. This thought process is how people are determining your online reputation. They are looking for recommendations, online reviews, ratings and feedback. The opinions of people that are not associated with your brand have a much greater impact on your future customers than your branded marketing efforts.
According to a 2015 Connected Consumer Survey, nearly 80% of people report that the internet is the first place they look when they need information, and over 50% are using search engines to look up brands. While you would prefer to control what potential customers see about your brand online, search engines allow them to access a variety of other information that you don’t control including reviews, non-branded social media posts, consumer photos and more.
Do you know where you are being rated?
Some review sites require you to create a business page with them while others are created by the people leaving the reviews. The top 3 review sites that you should be on is yelp.com, tripadvisor.com, and google+. Make sure to create a page for your business so that you can monitor your online presence as well as post photos, hours, website links, and more. Receiving positive reviews can not only get you free advertising on these platforms, but it also gives credibility to your brand.
- Promote the good and fix the bad. Capitalize on the positive reviews and use the negative ones to improve upon what you’re doing. Constructive criticism is not always easy to receive, but these reviews are a direct reflection of how people see you. Take negative reviews as a wakeup call and appreciate how it may be enabling you to improve.
- Make sure all your positive reviews are seen. Yelp uses an algorithm to hide reviews that appear fake. Unfortunately, many real reviews get stuck in this filter. To avoid this, you can ask your reviewers to make their profile seem more legitimate. They could add a profile picture or check into local places near you.
- Don’t ignore negative reviews. This is going to happen. It is impossible to meet everyone’s wishes. It’s important to acknowledge what wrong doing has been done or to clarify anything that may not be correct. Approach these reviews in a diplomatic fashion. Lastly, invite the reviewers to give you a chance to improve their experience in the future.
- Fight fire with fire. In some, very rare instances you can respond to negative reviews with humor. We don’t advise that you respond immediately after reading the post, but to wait until you have cooled off and can efficiently add some humor to your review. This will not only show other customers that you are paying attention to their opinions but that you also have a sense of humor. A great example of a brand responding with humor is the video, Visit Lubbock Mean Tweets https://youtu.be/8i0bHJBnxBo
- Keep them coming back for more. Share how you have improved your services based on the customer feedback. Show your customers how your brand welcomes their opinions and encourages repeat visits.
- Amplify your reach. Get engaging content in front of your audience to help drive traffic and positive reviews. Running a few $5 per day Facebook ads, for example, can allow you to significantly increase your followers and can help improve your rating on Facebook. When someone is a fan, they are usually less likely to leave a negative review. Be sure and post your content on all your social media platforms.
- Improve your reputation by exceeding expectation offline. Don’t let all the time spent on perfecting your online image go to waste by not performing in person. Insure that your employees are practicing what you preach online.
The secret to keeping up with your online reputation is to stay true to who you are as a brand. Customer service should be your number one concern. Provide an excellent experience from start to finish. Stay engaged with your customers and you will see your rating begin to creep up closer to a 5-star average! Do you have a tactic that you use to increase your rating? Let us know in the comments below!