Reputation Manager

Reputation Management and Why it is So Important

Reputation ManagerReputation management plays a huge role in your business’s success. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your company is presenting itself in the best light possible.

The definition of reputation management is not so easily pinned down. Some believe that it involves social media monitoring, others think it has to do with public relations while still others will tell you it involves keeping your reviews at a five-star rating.

Well, the truth is, it’s a bit of all these elements and the way you handle it can make all the difference in how people perceive your company. Read on to find out more about reputation management and the role it plays in the entrepreneurial landscape.

What is Reputation Management?

Once upon a time, customers didn’t have the means to go public about the way they felt about a business. Sure, they may have told a few friends about an incident that left them disgruntled, but without access to review sites and social media, they were limited in how far that influence would take them.

Today, all that has changed.

Customers can use blogs, review sites, social media posts and other channels to tell people what they think of your company, and the truth is, it’s not always good. So, the question is, what can a company do to protect themselves in this tell-all climate?

The Importance of Transparency

In the midst of criticism, it is best for companies to be transparent. In implementing transparency, there are a few rules to follow:

  • Ask for feedback
  • Don’t hide criticism, rather address it publicly
  • Establish a 1 on 1 communication channel between yourself and your customer base
  • Encourage your employees to talk about your products and services in a public forum

Transparency is a must, but it’s also risky. When exposing yourself in this way, you must have all your bases covered or weaknesses will be revealed. For instance, it is always best to acknowledge customer feedback as opposed to ignoring it. This will let consumers know you are paying attention to the criticism you are getting and that you are doing what you can to improve.

However, responding too aggressively or, worse yet, outright insulting your customers can get you in a lot of trouble. If you find that your responses are putting you in a unfavorable light, you may want to consult an expert in to find out about the best ways to deal with criticism.

Using Social Media Monitoring

In some instances, reviews and feedback will come directly to your channels. In other cases, you may not be aware of feedback until it escalates. Social media, for instance, is more difficult to monitor. This can make it a liability for many companies.

It may start with just one comment, a small yet carefully worded post. It’s about your company, and it’s not good. Before you know it, the internet is blowing up with negative posts about your company while you were busy doing other things.  A big part of reputation management is damage control. It’s about responding to comments in a timely manner and stopping things before it’s too late.

Social media is difficult to monitor and its easy for things to get out of hand. However, Google alerts and other tools can be very helpful in these scenarios. A Google alert will let you know when something is being said about your company online giving you the chance to stop it before it does permanent damage to your reputation.

The Weapons of Reputation Warfare

In a business landscape, there are three types of weapons that will be most damaging to your reputation. These are as follows:

Negative Reviews: When a person looks at your business, one of the first things they will want to see is how close you are to getting those five stars. While responding to negative reviews will help your reputation, it may not reverse these ratings and that will affect your reputation permanently.

Hate Sites: Some people go above and beyond negative reviews and actually create hate sites for companies that have gotten them upset. Even though these hate sites are often filled with senseless insults and false information, they can make some customers run the other way.

Bad Press: We all know the expression, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But when a company gets bad press, it can damage their reputation forever.

What Can Be Done to Reverse the Damage?

When someone uses weapons of reputation warfare to damage your company, the best thing you can do is fight back. While responding directly to irate customers in a sensible manner can do a world of good, here are some tactics that are even more effective.

Boost Your SEO: Having your company appear at the top of a search engine will have the power to override negative reviews that damage your reputation. If you can take it one step further and have your positive reviews become more visible than the negative ones, that’s even better.

Have the Negative Review Removed: There are instances when customers take reviews too far. They may say something false about your company or they may use foul language when leaving a review. These practices can violate the policies of the platform they are posting on. If this is the case, you may be able to take action to have these reviews removed.

Launch an Online Investigation: If there are serious attacks being made against your company, it may be best to get a cyber investigator onboard. He or she will be able to trace the source of the violators and have them removed using technological resources.

Tips for Building a Strong Reputation

Bad reviews and negative feedback happen and there is no way to completely avoid them. However, there are things you can do to enforce your company’s reputation so that these reviews will not have as much impact. Here are some tips that will help protect you from negative comments.

Establish Yourself as a Respected Leader: Becoming a respected leader comes from years of offering good service and products to your customers. That can be backed by providing informative content like tutorials and breaking news as well as innovative breakthroughs. Once a company establishes themselves in this type of leadership position, a few negative comments will not be enough to do damage.

That being said, no matter how established a company becomes, it is always a good idea to listen to what customers are saying and respond to each individual comment and review. This will help you maintain your standing as a business that cares about the people they serve.

And while negative comments should be responded to as way of implementing damage control, you should respond to the positive ones as well. A simple ‘thank you’ will let customers know you are grateful that they took the time to say something nice about your company.

It is also important to remember that a good reputation is not only about how you deal with feedback. It’s about how you come across to customers. Therefore, you should make sure your web site looks great and that it contains professional pictures and high-quality content. Back that up with effective products and terrific customer service. If you have any sort of brick and mortar presence, make sure stores are clean and well maintained.

Monitor Your Search Results: Your google search results will be the first impression most consumers will have of your business. Businesses should google themselves regularly to make their results are free of any negative commentary. If this is the case, companies must work on their SEO to make the necessary improvements.

Understand Your Audience: Having a good understanding of your audience will keep you from doing anything that might potentially offend them.

Learn from Your Mistakes: While a company is trying to protect their reputation, they may make mistakes along the way. They may respond too aggressively to commentary. They may not own up when they are at fault. They may fail to produce a timely response and allow things to get out of hand.

The important thing here is to learn from your mistakes as well as the mistakes other companies have made before you. This will help you pave a path for better reputation management strategies and create an improved image for your company.

Ask for Professional Help: Reputation management is not easy. It can be difficult to come up with the best responses to negative criticism and keeping track of all your channels is challenging as well. It is for these reasons that you may choose to call in professional help. There are companies that specialize in reputation management and they will implement strategies to reverse the damage of bad reviews and feedback.

When you’re in business, your reputation is everything. Keep your company in the best light by being transparent, responding to criticism in a prompt and polite manner and making efforts to become a leader in your industry. This will get you on track for healthy growth as your business moves forward. 

Questions? Ready to Get Started?

If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at 312-834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.