If you want your brand (company, educational institution or charity) to smell like roses, when times are good or bad, you need to have an ongoing digital reputation management campaign.
Each year that Google maintains its dominance in our quest to know and understand things, the need for having a stellar online reputation is more paramount. I put together this quick article to supplement our main Reputation Management Services page.
Attract and Retain Employees
When people go online to look for a job they will research your company and check out what people (employees and clients) say about your company. They will look at anonymous reviews on websites like Glassdoor, reviews on Yelp and Google and then just see what pops up on Google search results. If used properly, reputation management tactics can influence consumers, and employees (current and prospective) opinions (and decisions) about your company. If you have a bad online reputation, you may be losing business or keeping the best talent from applying for a job and you may not even know it.
You can leverage the power of a loyal customer base by transforming each person into a personal brand ambassador to his or her own social following. Your everyday customers are often more credible than artificial endorsers like social media influencers or media advertisements. Just think of how pervasive Yelp listings are inside Google’s own search result. A Yelp review can make or break a company’s business.
Here are the steps to drive up the volume and impact of social testimonials:
• Make it easy for customers to share their experience
• Give them a link to a Yelp or Google review page to leave a review
• Respond to their comments – quickly.
• Most importantly is the corporate culture of going above and beyond so you can deliver more than they expected.
Integrity, Transparency and Trust
In the Internet economy, businesses can accelerate growth through online reviews and recommendations that come just from word of mouth. People have so many social channels available where they can open up discussions and share positive or negative experiences with your brand. Each social sphere of influence can include friends (I say this loosely because people have thousands of friends online that they have never actually met), co-workers, or family members.
People can literally mention your brand in connection with nasty gossip and unfounded opinions, and readers of these comments are easily swayed and influenced in real-time (whether it’s accurate or not). Managing your reputation is about being authentic and honest (or at least open and transparent).
If you are open to listening to what your employees and customers say about you, there is a lot that you can learn. Opening up the kimono and inviting customers into your corporate story will give you the opportunity to get to know them better which will give you the valuable insights into their expectations and needs. You can take this feedback and make better selling products and services because you’ll be giving them what they asked for. It’s no joke that the oldest sales mantra is to go fishing where the fish are biting. Your customers will tell you often what they want from your brand and if you manage your online reputation and online review collection process, you can beat your lazier competitors.
The last element of interacting with customer feedback is to avoid or at least be ready to deal with negative situations like bad reviews or bad news. By replying to unhappy or frustrated customers you’re proving that your brand cares and is willing to take the time and address customers’ issues and needs.
Sometimes a company gets into a crisis because an employee gets into legal trouble or a business owner has a problem with a former business partner or spouse. And this bad news featured on another website or newspaper has the potential to show up high in Google listings UNLESS you are engaged in a reliable negative reputation management protocol.