Why Brand Reputation Management Is Crucial For Companies And Individuals
In a world where businesses, recruiters and potential contacts are frequently using the internet to validate the people they are looking to do business with, it is vital that you know what appears in your Google results.
Ultimately, your Google results have become your calling card and are what people will use to base their first impressions on – you therefore need to make sure this is a positive one as whatever they say is what people will believe – whether it is the truth or not!
For individuals and companies your reputation is based largely on your personal brand, which is ultimately how you market yourself to the world and how you differentiate yourself from other people and businesses doing the same thing in your industry.
Dan Schawbel, Personal Branding Guru said “Branding is how you define yourself with the goal of being distinct from other people or companies”.
If you have a strong personal brand on the internet then the likelihood is that if your brand or company was to take a hit then having a positive online presence beforehand will help to diffuse the situation and it will be easier to come out from with your reputation still intact.
Reputation management is becoming a vital necessity for all people in business nowadays, whether you are an entrepreneur or director of a huge corporation – either way your customers will be online and it is your responsibility to make sure you are proactive in your online approach to avoid any situations that could have a serious effect on your reputation.
Whatever business you are in and however good at your job you are, it is inevitable that sooner or later you will have to deal with someone who has not been satisfied with your product or service and may decide to vent out their frustration on the internet – instantly sharing their thoughts with millions of people around the world. If situations like this are not dealt with correctly then the damage to your reputation could be catastrophic!
“A good online reputation, of course, is worth its weight in gold. What’s more, the status of your company’s online reputation is really make or break for your business” Rich Gorman, Online Direct Response Marketer.
Online reputation management is something most people and businesses only think of when they need it, and this is usually when the storm has already hit and the damage has already been done. Individuals and businesses therefore need to keep in mind that ORM is much more effective if you implement it before you actually need it.
The first thing individuals therefore need to do in order to protect themselves online is to set up a media monitoring service which monitors what people are saying about you on the internet. We recommend two free tools that allow you to do this:
Google Alerts – This is great for getting a real time view of what’s being said and with the worlds largest search giant behind it, you know it’s going to be fast. But beware, set up an alert for your name ‘Joe Bloggs’ you’ll receive alerts for everything on the web that contains that name.
Profiled.com – This site is pretty intelligent so you’ll get a well filtered list of what’s being said about you, but at the moment these digests are only available weekly.
Having an online reputation management service in place can help you keep track of negative mentions online and allows you to nip them in the bud before they have a chance to get out of hand. ORM is a necessity for any business, as people will be talking about your brand on the internet and it is therefore crucial that you are proactive in making sure you are aware of these conversations and you are around to deal with them in order to protect your business image.
The internet has just become your biggest ally…so use it to your advantage!
Sooner or later you will come across unhappy customers on the internet and it is your responsibility to make sure you deal with these customers effectively as this is what will either make or break your business. So before you take the matter into your own hands, follow these 4 simple tips which will help you to turn negative comments into positives:
- Never react impulsively – Any negative comment posted on the internet, whether you agree with it or not should be dealt with calmly and irrationally. Reacting in the heat of the moment will not do you any favours and will definitely put people off coming to you in the future, which could have a serious effect on your sales.
- Be personal – Make sure each response to every individual is personal. Sending out a blanket response to unhappy customers will give off the impression you are lazy and do not value your customer’s opinions or problems. Sending personalised responses will show customers you are willing to go the extra mile and that you value their custom - encouraging brand loyalty and turning a negative response into a positive.
- Be Consistent – Having a consistent approach to negative comments is key to building trust with your customers so make sure your approach is the same with each individual. Whether it be a discount on a future product, a simple apology or a replacement – keep it consistent!
- Acknowledge every issue – Always make sure you acknowledge and resolve every issue that is posted online and make sure you do this on a public platform so people know you are dealing with the problem. If people can see you are reasonable and are working hard to solve every issue then it proves you value every customer and go the extra mile to resolve customer issues.