We live in what is known as a reputation economy. Your brand is really only worth what consumers perceive your reputation to be. The consumers' growing dependence on the internet to research products and services before making a purchase decision is a driver in this reputation economy, and what is being said about your business online is shaping your image and credibility.
Consumers' trust and confidence in your brand has a direct impact on your bottom line. In order to build a credible branding strategy, it's critical that your business is conscientious of its reputation in every aspect of its online presence, including your website, social media accounts, online reviews, and business listings. It's been said that reputation is becoming a capital asset, and this is especially true for branding your business online.
Unfortunately, no matter how well you run your business or how superior your level of customer service is in comparison to your competition's, you're going to come across a disgruntled customer that could damage your reputation and brand. So how can you protect your branding strategy in today's reputation economy?
Here are several best practices to preserve your online reputation and maintain your branding strategy:
1. Be proactive with online monitoring.
Without using online monitoring tools, it's impossible to know what's being said about your brand online at any given time. Thanks to the internet, consumers have so many different avenues to express their thoughts about your brand online, and it's imperative that you stay on top of online mentions of your business if you want to preserve your hard-earned reputation.
Research reveals that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. One bad review can cause your branding strategy to spiral downwards quickly, especially if it goes unaddressed by your business. Being proactive with online mentions of your business will allow you to promptly and professionally respond to online reviews (both positive and negative) and help you to continue to build your brand. And, depending on how you address and resolve a negative online review, it can actually end up having a positive impact on your brand's reputation.
As a best practice, setup Google Alerts for your business, products, services, and key people in your company. While Google Alerts aren't perfect, you'll receive an email when a mention is made about one of your pre-set fields. It's also in your best interest to partner with a digital marketing agency that offers reputation monitoring to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
2. Diffuse negativity in online reviews.
If you do receive a negative online review, the worst thing that you can do for your reputation is to ignore it. Ignoring a review gives it validity and demonstrates that you don't care about your customers. Instead, you'll want to respond to the review promptly and find a way to defuse the negativity.
The initial reaction that many business owners have to receiving a negative online review is anger, but it's important to realize that a bad online review doesn't have to damage your reputation. You should think of negative reviews as a way to show your brand's character and win over new customers, assuming that you respond to them in the right way.
Angry customers want to feel that they've been heard. To turn a bad review into a positive experience, be sure to acknowledge the online review as quickly as possible by providing a thoughtful response and invite the customer to reach out to you privately to discuss the issue. Once the issue has been resolved and the customer is satisfied, ask him or her to write a follow-up review. This can help to build tremendous respect for your business from your consumers' perspective.
3. Build a reservoir of positive online reviews.
Your best defense against a negative review is to have a reservoir of positive online reviews to backup your company's reputation. Consumers want to see a true picture of your business, and your online reviews may be less believable if they're all five-stars.
If a customer has a good experience with your business, ask him or her to leave an online review. Proactively building a collection of positive online reviews will help to minimize the damage to your reputation when a negative review is received.
All in all, to be able to preserve your branding strategy in today's reputation economy, you need to stay in-the-know of online mentions of your business and promptly respond to them in a way that positions your brand in a positive light.
Online reputation monitoring is crucial to your company's success, and you need a partner that you can trust to assist you with this important responsibility. Contact us at New York Ave to learn more about our online reputation monitoring services and how we can help you to continue to build a brand that consumers' respect and admire.