Online reputation has become one of the most important assets of a company today. And we are not alone in saying so. A survey found 97% of the respondents reporting that a positive online footprint is of utmost importance. It is important but not always easy. And one incident which hurts your online reputation could hurt most or all of your business opportunities, for a long time to come. So how do you keep a check on your online reputation and protect it round the clock?
Why is Online Reputation Management Important?
A brand’s reputation is never completely in the management’s control. This makes constant monitoring of its status so valuable and important. Modern buyers make educated decisions. They use digital platforms online to research before making a purchasing decision. And it is not just customers who search for reviews and news online. Potential investors also depend on online research as a part of their due diligence efforts before making decisions. In either case, leaving a crude first impression is definitely not what you would want.
Moreover, in the digital age of social media and online news platforms, a negative review or article concerning a brand name will spread fast. You risk losing 22% of your business when your potential customers find negative search results related to your brand.
How to Protect your Online Reputation
Online reputation management is a vast subject. Here we discuss how effective social listening and tracking mentions can help your brand.
Spot Early Signs
Social listening tools help you prevent a crisis from happening. You will receive alerts about any brand mention in real-time. This includes all mentions be they positive, neutral, or negative. If you keep the alert notifications on, you would know of any suspicious mention or comment at once. This allows you to act before a negative review turns into a potential disaster.
Sentiment analysis is also an important part of online reputation management as is real-time media monitoring. This tells you how your customers feel about your brand/product/campaign. If a high number of mentions take a negative tone, the sentiment analysis would show a spike in the negative graph. A spike in the positive sentiment graph shows that you have been successful and people like your online presence and show you love. This feature is guided mostly in an AI-powered social listening tool by NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) which is still learning how humans speak, so most AI tools cannot understand the sarcasm behind a comment like “Yeah, right’ yet. In such a case, you will have the option to change the sentiment manually. As you keep doing it, the system learns. With repeated use, the program’s machine learning feature starts to understand better.
Managing Negative Comments/Reviews
We have talked about preventive measures up until now. But what if you already have a couple of negative reviews. How would you take care of those? Remember, no brand is perfect. There is always room for improvement, and there are always customers who are not happy with a product. In case you get an alert for a negative mention, do not allow it to unsettle you. You just have to act fast and you would be able to manage the situation.
This is how it works. Say a customer posts a negative review and you do not respond for an hour. 50 others see the negative review and note that there’s no response. They start viewing your brand as irresponsible. If you act fast and appropriately, others would clearly see how ready and willing you are to address the concerns of a dissatisfied customer. This maintains your image as a responsible brand if not improve it.
Sometimes, a member may leave a rude comment because of a miscommunication or voice untrue things which they may have heard as a rumor. Whatever the situation, stay calm and do not begin an online feud. Try to explain the matter and do the best you can to stay on the same page with an unhappy customer.
To protect your brand’s online reputation, you need to have a crisis management plan in place. Every member of your team needs to play a specific role when a situation arises. Without a firm action plan, your reputation can suffer heavy damages. Social media is a crowded place and news spreads fast. A drop in your reputation is a boon for your competitors as they might try and convert your customers into their own. So ensure that you have a strong strategy in place.