Reputation Management: How To Protect Your Brand Online In 2021

A positive brand image can undoubtedly influence a consumer’s purchase decision – and for virtually every business building a positive brand image begins online.

These days, your reputation largely depends on social media and online review sites. For example, consumers need to read an average of 10 online reviews before they feel they can trust a local business.

Since brand image makes such an impression on a person’s buying decision, you need to regularly monitor your reputation online. Even so, it can feel like a daunting task, especially when so much of it is out of your control.

Fortunately, there are numerous tools and strategies you can implement to ensure you are protecting your brand in 2021. In this post, we give a clear overview of brand reputation management, how to create a plan for managing your company’s reputation. and high quality tools to complement your process.

What is brand awareness management?

Brand reputation management is the process of monitoring how consumers perceive your business and, if necessary, taking strategic action to improve your brand’s image. Today, reputation management focuses on monitoring and protecting your brand’s online reputation on reviews, social media, and Google.

Reputation management is an ongoing process as you keep an eye on the public perception of your brand and can address potentially harmful situations as soon as they arise.

When your reputation is positive, you are building customer loyalty, a key driver of sales and growth. Having a bad reputation can hurt sales and customer loyalty, but it also helps you learn what customers like. This can be helpful for updating business processes to better meet consumer needs.

Brand security was discussed recently in a conversation with reputation management, and we’ll go over what matters below.

Brand Reputation Management vs. Brand Security

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, brand safety ensures that advertising, its content, and content shared by brands is appropriate and not associated with consumer opinion topics that may be negative. Although the concepts are somewhat similar, brand security falls into brand reputation management.

Some examples of scenarios that threaten brand security include correct ad placement. The IAB recommends buying ad space from trusted publishers so that your ads don’t appear alongside content that consumers may find offensive or cause them to distrust your brand.

In another scenario, you want your ads to be related to what you are promoting. When customers click an ad to get a new blanket and are led to unrelated content, they are engaging in malicious advertisements that put the safety of your consumers at risk.

Brand security goes both ways; Your business is protected from external sources purported to cause harm, and your customers are protected from malicious business practices that can cause them to lose money or be exposed to objectionable things.

Overall, brand security is a process within brand reputation management. You make sure that your advertising practices are legitimate so that consumers don’t feel misled by your brand and don’t have to question your business and distrust your offerings.

Reputation Management Plan

Let’s go through a sample reputation management plan that you can customize to suit your business needs. It is important to remember that reputation management is an ongoing process. You should be consistent as long as your business is up and running.

1. Research and testing.

The first step in reputation management is research. At this stage, you use the Internet to have conversations about your business and what people are saying about you. Try to seek out all types of conversations as any feedback is helpful in understanding perceptions and building your reputation.

You can do this check based on your customer reviews, on review sites, on social media, and simply by searching for your business name on Google and various search engines. You can also search for business-relevant keywords or even feeds from your competitors. Consumers talk; You just have to meet them where they already are.

Since there are many different platforms and websites that you can conduct your research on, using a good quality reputation management tool will make the process easier. Some of these are recommended below.

2. Establish a management strategy.

Once you know how your brand is overall perceived, you will know where to focus in order to improve it. For example, suppose your exam shows that the conversation about your brand is unfavorable. If so, you want to use practices that can help improve employees’ experience of your company.

So the next step is to create a consistent management strategy. Regardless of your current position, your plans should consider the following:

  • Who will consistently monitor online conversations?

Designate specific people in your company who are responsible for continuously researching and monitoring online conversations about your company. Those who are already on customer-facing teams are likely best equipped to deal with customers, like those on marketing or customer service teams.

In any case, those who monitor online conversations and respond to comments should be experienced with and understand how to talk to customers.

  • How do you decide which comments, ratings, or mentions need to be answered?

Some people’s only intent is to troll instead of talking about legitimate experiences. These comments and conversations are fake and intentionally created to damage your reputation. However, most of the comments are based on real-world interactions, experiences, and thoughts about your brand, both positive and negative.

You should never reply to fake reviews (here is a guide on how to spot and remove reviews from Google). However, you should respond to comments from real consumers. Therefore, it is important to understand which ones warrant an answer.

It is not possible to answer all of them. Perhaps you’re prioritizing answering customer questions or creating specific requirements that determine when a response is needed, for both positive and negative comments.

  • A sound guide for answering comments.

It’s not worth replying to comments and conversations about your brand if you don’t have a consistent tone to follow. For example, reacting harshly to criticism but positive comments with positivity returned can do more harm than good.

Develop a standard audio guide to use when answering and try to stick to it. It can also be helpful to have a crisis management plan in your reputation plan to take action in situations that escalate quickly, are difficult to control, and can make those in charge hectic and not follow standard guidelines.

3. Take action based on comments, feedback, and ratings.

Understanding how consumers see your brand is the most valuable tool for improvement and innovation. Their criticisms and weaknesses direct you to areas of your business that require more attention, and their positive comments let you know what you are doing right and what you should continue to do.

If you hope to manage your reputation, taking action based on comments, feedback, and ratings will help you manage your reputation while making changes that customers want to see.

4. Practice steps one, two, and three continuously.

As mentioned above, managing your online reputation is an ongoing effort. While it might be nice, fixing a situation doesn’t mean everything will go smoothly from now to forever.

Always research and monitor conversations about your business to get a sense of where your reputation is, follow the steps in your plan, and respond to the feedback you receive.

Let’s take a look at some high quality tools that you can use to complement your reputation management process.

Reputation Management Software

Using reputation management software can be helpful, especially if you work for a small to medium-sized business with limited PR resources. Some options are explained below.

1. Yext reviews

Since inconsistent information can negatively affect your local search engine optimization, it is important that you make sure that your company’s data is consistently listed on every website. Fortunately, Yext lets you troubleshoot inconsistent business information in one place.

Additionally, the software allows you to manage your social media accounts and respond to authentic customer reviews to ensure you have a good understanding of your brand’s true online reputation. Yext is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses as well as large companies. Its impressive clients include Marriott Hotels and T-Mobile.

price: Starts at $ 199 / year

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2. ReviewTrackers

ReviewTrackers collects online reviews from over 100 third-party review sites including Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook. One important feature is that you can receive notifications when a customer leaves a review to make sure you are up to date with feedback.

The cloud-based reputation and review management software also allows you to keep track of trending issues and topics to give you an overview of customer issues, and provides competitive tracking and performance analysis.

The tool, used by clients such as Sears and Triple A, is available for businesses and small to medium-sized businesses.

price: Customized based on size and business needs (request a demo here).

Example of an average company rating screen from review trackers

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3rd podium

Most likely, the idea of ​​managing your reputation on various websites from Facebook to Google to Yelp is stressful and overwhelming. Fortunately, software like Podium allows you to see all customer interactions and online reviews in a single dashboard. Your reps can use Podium to request reviews, respond to reviews in real time, and even exchange text messages with prospects.

Podium’s support team is available by phone, online chat, or email to ensure you have the help you need to properly implement the tool. The software is best for small to medium-sized local businesses that have the time and resources to manually send texts to customers or leads.

price: Customized based on size and business needs. (Request a quote here).

1: 1 customer chat sample screen from the podium

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4. BirdEye

BirdEye, a SaaS tool used by more than 50,000 companies, gathers feedback from over 150 online review sources to ensure you have a complete picture of your brand’s online reputation.

You can monitor, promote, and act on reviews in a dashboard. In addition, you can use BirdEye to request reviews from customers on both desktop and mobile devices or in BirdEye’s messenger tool.

In addition to review monitoring, BirdEye has features to help you manage your social accounts, get insights into your competitors ‘customers, and create surveys and tickets to further improve your customers’ overall experience with your brand.

price: Customized based on size and business needs. (Request a quote here).

Example of a summary of birdeye's annual reports

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5. Decision

With Cision Communications Cloud, you can keep track of your brand names in millions of online stores as well as all social media mentions. Best of all, with Cision you can reach audiences across traditional, digital and social platforms to ensure your brand is thriving across all marketing channels.

While Cision provides tools to make sure you can monitor and protect your online brand, the features are especially impressive for strategic, proactive public relations. For example, Cision will help you find media and specific contacts within the industry to get in touch with pitches, or find out which industry influencers can best help spread your message and positively influence your brand’s image.

Cision also offers automated analytics that you can use to turn your campaigns into valuable global insights. The tool is used by companies such as Comcast and Bayer.

price: Customized based on size and business needs. (Request a quote here).

Example of a graph measuring business impact software

Reputation management for companies

To understand how a company can implement a reputation management strategy, I spoke to Ellie Flanagan, Senior Corporate Communications Manager at HubSpot.

She told me, “The first step in building your brand’s online presence is to make sure that all of your own channels reflect your current images, news, and values. Look for outdated logos, company descriptions, or mission statements. This is also helpful. ” Conduct regular audits in other places where your logo or brand might be used, such as partner or customer websites. “

To conduct regular audits, you can use one of the software tools listed above. You can also use reputation management software to check for inconsistencies, such as: B. According to Yext. Alternatively, there are tools like Express Update or My Business Listing Manager that you can use to check for outdated information (see A Comprehensive Guide to Local Search Engine Optimization in 2021 for more information).

Flanagan also says, “Make sure your website has clear language that outlines your company’s brands and sets guidelines for how others use your brand values. This is a helpful reference when you need to reach out to someone of yours.” Trademark used incorrectly or without permission. “

I also spoke to Alice Sol, a PR specialist at HubSpot. She said to me, “Protecting your brand has never been more important and that goes hand in hand with customer trust. We live in a world where information is disseminated quickly and we get a response within seconds at the touch of a button . ” Technology has enabled us as consumers to connect with brands quickly. At the same time, brands have the ability to create deeper connections and solve problems faster. “

Sol also advises companies to do their best to meet customer needs and ensure a seamless experience from start to finish. She says: “The stakes [on delivering a good experience] get higher. 80% of consumers say they have stopped doing business with a company due to bad experiences. When a customer has a bad experience, technology enables information about that experience to be transmitted quickly. When a customer has a very positive experience, it creates a strong reputation as a brand and builds trust at the same time. “

“Your customers are your greatest asset and it is important to take these needs very seriously by responding in a timely manner and communicating effectively.”

In conclusion, when it comes to protecting your online reputation, you should focus on the following tactics:

  • Make sure all of your own channels reflect your current pictures, news and values.
  • Make sure that all online information about your company is up-to-date and consistent.
  • Use concise language on your website to outline your company’s brands and set guidelines.
  • Maintain a positive user experience, from start to finish,
  • Listen to customer feedback and respond to negative feedback with helpful, actionable solutions when possible.

For more information on maintaining a comprehensive, cohesive customer experience, see How to Define a CX (Customer Experience) Strategy That Gives You the Six Areas of Successful Digital Customer Strategy.

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