How To Protect Your Brand's Online Presence
Written in partnership with Alisha Shibli of Radix
Most of what your customers see about your brand is online these days. And your online presence can undoubtedly influence whether or not a customer chooses to interact with your brand. For this reason, we see big organizations putting a lot of resources towards maintaining a good reputation on the internet.
When you think of a famous brand that you like, the positive feelings you associate with it are a result of a lot of thought and strategy that went into how the brand would be perceived and the wider company reputation.
What is reputation management?
At its core, reputation management is about building and maintaining a positive perception of your brand online (and offline). It’s about controlling how your products and services are recognized and maintaining a good reputation for your company.
Your reputation is in your hands.
Think about your own behavior as a consumer. For example, when booking a hotel there’s a lot you, as a consumer, look at besides the price. If the property is in your budget, you’ll then read the reviews, check out the company website, and their social media platforms to make an informed decision.
Today, the reputation of your brand is largely dependent on online reviews and social media conversations. In fact, customers read an average of 10 online reviews before they make a decision.
Reputation management is important for businesses of all sizes. Influencing and monitoring how you’re perceived can feel like a daunting task considering so much of it is out of your control.
The good news is that there are effective strategies and plenty of tools you can use to build and protect your brand’s reputation without drilling a hole in your pocket.
How can you build, maintain, and protect your brand’s online reputation?
An effective online presence is crucial for almost all business and it can also be a great way to manage your reputation. Mentioned below are 10 simple yet effective ways you can build, maintain, and protect your brand’s online reputation.
1. Be honest and authentic
As most of your communication is happening from behind the screen, it is important that you sound as human as possible. Know who your target audience is and understand how they interact. When you talk their talk and walk their walk in your most honest and authentic way, you’ll strike the right chord with them. Welcome negative comments and feedback and address them sincerely. Otherwise, you may end up encouraging trolls to further hamper your reputation.
2. Be aware of your online surroundings
Use the web and your network to stay ahead of competition, industry development, news, and anything that is relevant to your business. Set up listening tools to keep track of the conversations that are happening around your brand and in your industry. Being aware can help you steer how you act online.
3. Monitor your online reputation
Do a Google search of your business regularly to gauge how you’re doing in search results and if there is any kind of publicity. Use tools such as Social Mention or Google Alerts to monitor and maintain your company’s reputation. Understand the urgency of a situation (be it good or bad) and have a team ready to address it immediately.
4. Ask for feedback
Feedback is valuable. It shows who is interacting with you and gives you a deeper insight into your reputation online. Getting feedback is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re on top of everything and that you make necessary changes if required. Doing this also gives you the opportunity to turn a negative review into a positive one by addressing it in the right way.
5. Build a great website
Your website is one of the first touchpoints on the Internet for your customers and one of your initial opportunities to build credibility. To ensure that you start on the right foot, make sure that you choose the right domain name. It is one of the most important details that often gets overlooked by businesses. Instead of going for a domain name that is long and clunky, choose one that is sleek and relevant. One of the ways you could do this is by registering your domain name on a new, industry-specific domain extension such as .TECH, .STORE, .SITE, .SPACE, .ONLINE, and more. They allow you to have a domain name that is short, simple, memorable, and relevant.
6. Be socially active
Being interactive is a great way to build and maintain relationships. Social media platforms, when used correctly can be an effective way to shape your company and brand reputation. This means being quick in responding to comments and tweets to build a strong relationship. Social media is all about instant responses and delays can have a negative impact on your reputation. Take time to build a great profile and share content that resonates with your audience. Be strategic without losing sight of building real connections.
7. Get the right kind of publicity
A lot of reputation management is about being proactive and not just reactive. While you might be using social media and other online channels to build a relationship and entice customers without going for direct sell, there is nothing wrong in tooting your own horn occasionally, when the time is appropriate. A good way to gain positive online publicity and promote your product is to write guest posts on other blogs and publications. Another way is to create and promote ads and establish yourself as an expert to spread a good word about your company.
8. Create amazing content
Create and distribute content that adds value to the end user. Instead of adopting a sales-oriented approach, focus on reciprocation and engaging your audience. A blog is a great vehicle to achieve this objective. It allows you to share information about your company and share useful tips and observations that give your business greater credibility.
To sum it up, when you’re trying to build and maintain your online reputation, you’ll want to focus on the following aspects:
- Make sure all the online and offline channels that you own reflect your brand imagery, messaging, and values. Be authentic and honest.
- Ensure that the information about your business is up to date on all platforms.
- Create a stellar website to make a lasting first impression.
- Cultivate a positive user-experience from start to finish.
- Actively seek customer feedback and respond to negative comments with helpful and actionable solutions.