The way you handle negativity as a business is vital. Understanding how to improve online reputation management and avoid mistakes will help your company in the best way.
Let’s start with the premise that anyone can write about us and, unfortunately, very rarely the consumer invests time in thanking the work or service provided. In contrast, in most cases, the user will let us know their dissatisfaction through social networks.
How to Improve Online Reputation Management
Considering beforehand that not all reviews we receive are positive, it’s not possible to control what’s written about us on the Internet. But, we can do two things:
- Not give reasons for bad reviews (as much as possible).
- Continuously monitor social networks to act on negative mentions.
Early action can prevent the investment of time and resources. It’s important that we don’t confuse a crisis of reputation with an organizational crisis.
A reputation problem, without going into detail and focusing on the marketing area, could mean that your company is linked to negative content in SERP (the search engine result pages).
(*) As an example, according to a survey in the U.K made by Which? the companies that occupy the lowest positions in terms of customer service are:
- Ryanair (in last place)
- Scottish Power
- Talk Talk
- Virgin Media
(*) While comparing those results with a survey made in the United States by Axios the companies that occupy the most challenging positions are:
- The U.S. government, (in last place)
- Tobacco company: Philip Morris
- Real estate company: The Trump Organization
- Retailer: Sears
- Financial services company: Wells Fargo
- Satellite television company: Dish Network
- Social media company: Facebook
- Investment bank: Goldman Sachs
- Financial services company: Bank of America
- Cable, internet, media, and entertainment company: Comcast
(*) These lists serve to exemplify the positioning of companies in terms of reputation. These lists may have changed by the time you read this article.
Why is Reputation Management in Marketing Important?
In the end, reputation is a matter of perception. So, even the slightest misunderstanding between any part of the communication chain can alter the public perception of a company forever. How to improve online reputation management and avoid mistakes is crucial to your marketing strategy.
As marketers, we have a double role. On the one hand, we must be very precise and make sure that all the actions we take are in line with the message the company wants to transmit.
On the other hand, we must monitor, respond and resolve those reviews made by users mainly on the Internet.
Most experts agree on three different approaches depending on where your business is:
- Building Plan – When the business is new and/or has the potential to build a reliable image.
- Maintenance – Once the business has a certain running-in and you just have to check the strategy used.
- Recovery – At the time of taking action because the reputation has been damaged either by comments, news or any other fact.
Common Mistakes to be Avoided
As I mentioned previously, reputation is a matter of perception and therefore may be in constant movement. What today seems to comply with our ethical and moral standards, tomorrow may seem to be totally out of date and reproachable to us. For this reason, we should not start from a rigid structure in terms of planning, maintenance and recovery. We must periodically check these phases and adapt them according to the behaviour of the users.
I explained in other posts that there is not a single solution to reputation problems. However, here’s a list of some common mistakes that are easy to identify and therefore, avoidable:
- Publishing the same on all social networks.
- Not asking for customer feedback.
- Responding on the defensive.
- Developing a too extensive response to answer every single comment received.
- Focusing only on negative reviews.
- Posting fake positive reviews.
Focus on the Positive
No one can predict when a crisis will occur, and reputation is one of the most valuable assets that must be protected as it can have a positive or negative influence in any action or decision: from purchase, a contract, a merger… Customer service is one of the factors that directly impacts reputation. After all, with the internet, your business image depends on ratings, so work to get positive rating and manage negative comments.