How to maintain a good digital reputation
- 27 January 2017
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According to Chain Store Age, 81% of shoppers research a brand or product online before buying. Your business’ digital reputation is, therefore, not something to be underestimated.
Your company can dedicate large budgets to marketing and advertising, but if the content online about your brand is negative, you risk damaging your reputation. This will result in a detrimental impact on sales and a waste of your marketing spend.
Daren Bach, founder of multi-disciplined brand communications agency, Provoke, shares his thoughts on how brands can maintain a good digital reputation.
1. Have an established social media presence
Considering there are 2.3 billion active social media users, you’d be missing a huge au-dience of potential customers if your brand was to ignore social media, not to mention some powerful platforms on which to manage your digital reputation.
Firstly, you need to determine which platforms are appropriate for your company, and which ones your target audiences are using. Then, you need to create a thorough and robust social media strategy to guide how you are going to use social media channels to help build and maintain a positive digital reputation.
Being consistent and creating interesting, relevant content that is useful for your potential customers, rather than posting a stream of promotional messages, is a great way to create a favourable digital reputation. This will help position you as a credible source of infor-mation. Making this content engaging and shareable will also help to extend the reach of your brand, and generate more positive awareness to a wider audience.
With so many websites out there on the internet, your social media is something you can actually control, meaning it’s a fantastic way to tailor messages and content to promote exactly how you want to be viewed by others.
2. Stay true to who you are…
…or ‘who’ your business is. Being clear about your values and brand personality within every piece of content and communication you post online helps audiences to identify with, understand and build a connection with your brand. If you are inconsistent, contradictory or offensive, this could damage your reputation, as consumers will question your business and what it stands for, resulting in a lack of trust.
3. Encourage reviews and word of mouth recommendations
People trust people, not brands. 61% of shoppers use online reviews to inform purchase decisions. You should, therefore, encourage people to review your products or services, whether this is an endorsement on LinkedIn, a review on your website or a rating on your business’ Facebook page. Allowing people to review products on your own website demonstrates transparency and helps to build trust.
Although this means that you don’t have full control over the message, if you’re providing a good service or selling great products, then online reviews are likely to boost your credibility and digital reputation.
4. Ensure fast and responsive customer service
It’s not always possible to keep everyone happy. Often, unhappy customers take to social media to ‘out’ a brand and vent their frustrations. It’s how you deal with these customers that shapes how your potential customers perceive you, and affects repeat purchase.
Make sure that you engage in social listening so that you can see what people are saying about your brand across relevant platforms. By responding to and engaging in conversations with all of those posting negative feedback, and helping to resolve their issue efficiently, you are ensuring damage limitation.
Remember to also acknowledge positive feedback too, in order to create brand advocates and celebrate great reviews in a way that is visible to others.
5. Google your business
Perhaps the most common way for consumers to research your brand is from a simple Google search, so you should probably do the same now and then.
Negative search results can jeopardise your brand’s reputation, so you if you can control how your brand is perceived on Google through a well-thought-out content marketing strategy, which is relevant to your customer and true to your brand, you can help to shape public perception.
Manage results by applying reputation SEO steps to your published articles on your website. Including your brand name, whether it’s within the article, the title tag or within particular sections of the html code, helps Google to recognise authorship.
If negative content is prevalent on your business’ search engine results page through link building, then you can do the same with favourable links. These steps, with a robust social and communications strategy that appropriately links back to the published content, can help you control your image.
Your reputation is important. Don’t underestimate it.
Creating and managing a positive digital reputation is an ongoing process. What is out there about your brand today might completely change by tomorrow, so continuing to manage online content is imperative to ensure you are perceived positively by current customers who are considering a repeat purchase, or potential customers who are still at the exploratory stage.
Specialising in brand communication strategies and digital marketing, Daren Bach has a proven track record over the past 12 years of delivering successful campaigns across many different sectors, including food and hospitality, luxury brands, legal, and technology.
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