When doing business, reputation is an important thing to consider. You need to ask yourself, “Are you a likeable Laura or a sketchy Sam?” The sketchy Sam doesn’t consider engaging his customers, audiences, or other people online in his site. He thinks he is the smartest and only focuses on pushing his products to customers and never replies to comments or complaints. The likeable Laura, on the other hand, doesn’t brag about how smart and amazing she is. Other people do it for her. On her website, the likeable Laura interacts with audiences and jumps into conversations in the social media and replies to comments and complaints.
No customer would like to knowingly do business with someone sketchy. Businesses of various sizes and shapes face new challenges because of the rise of social media. People are talking about your brand more often than before. What you say online could have a big impact on your business. So, what are five tips you can use to manage your online reputation?
#1 Monitor Your Brand on Social Media
There are many social media platforms that you can use for your brand. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among the top social media channels. You need to perform regular searches in these channels to see how people are talking about you and your brand. The kind of talk you see in social media can help you get valuable insights into your brand. The consumer sentiments will give you some understanding on how they feel about your brand or you. When searching on your product or brand name, remember to check all the platforms and not just visiting the ones you have a presence. Sometimes, your brand’s conversation could be going on in a social media channel you don’t have a presence.
#2 Respond Promptly
In social media, people expect you to be sociable. If customers are reaching out to you on Twitter or Facebook, they expect that you reply fast to their queries. Sometimes, there may be something posted on social media and you feel that you can’t solve it immediately. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reply. At the very least, you need to acknowledge that you have seen the comments or complaints and thank the people who posted them. That way, you show your presence. Talk about something that will show that you are in the conversation and the audiences are not alone. When you engage with audiences who post comments, it helps cultivate a long-standing relationship with your brand.
#3 Ask for Reviews
Among the powerful tools you can use to manage your brand’s online reputation is to ask for reviews. You can ask for Google reviews or Yelp reviews. Reviews help attract customers who are in the early stages of the buying cycle. Customers seeking products and services consider online reviews. If you have a big number of customers, you can create a campaign by sending them an email asking them to leave reviews. When asked, many people are likely to leave a review about a brand than when you don’t ask them.
#4 Seek Brand Advocacy
Using social media can help you build a platform of strong brand advocates. Share the content that your audience loves and engage them appropriately. You can start a discussion about a new product or you can host competitions so that the audience is actively engaged. Encourage audiences to post and share content too, it could be in the form of comments, suggestions, ideas, or images or whatever they want to say.
#5 Be Transparent
You need to build trust with customers and audiences, and a great way of doing it is to be transparent. You are in a world where thousands of eyes are on your brand and everything you say reflects on your brand. Do not try covering up things, because it can lead to a serious backlash. Honest communication helps build reputation. Whenever you make mistakes, always admit and not cover up, otherwise, even if you mask it, it will soon be found out. If someone presents complaints about you or your brand on social media, do not attempt hiding or deleting them, address the issue. There are other people watching to see how you respond to complaints and the worst mistake you can make is to delete or hide them.
Carefully cultivating the online reputation of your brand can foster growth in sales and positive sentiments on your brand. With the average online users spending about 50 percent of his or her online time engaging in social media, it makes sense to build conversations with them in those channels. You need to go where your audiences and fans are, that’s in social media.