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Definitions

Put simply, reputation management is managing the reputation of a company, meaning understanding or influencing the public’s views and opinions of a company. Reputation management is for small or large companies, as well as well-established companies wanting to promote themselves and for new companies trying to build their brand. The full impact of what reputation management is, however, can be broken into three parts: building, maintaining, and recovery.

A reputation management services agency can build your new companies reputation from scratch, or maintain an already established company’s good reputation, or hide a bad reputation with positive marketing and self-promotion strategies.

Effective Online Branding

Because online review sites, social networking, blogging, and simple online publicity are so prevalent, businesses today have the unique opportunity to build a brand and a reputation quickly. Reputation management ensures that the brand and reputation you build are positive for your business.

Online reputation management can be very labor intensive, particularly for individuals and business owners who are not well-versed in online media. Good news, though. There are people who are experts and can help you and your business succeed. Below is a list of ways to get your name out there and build up your good reputation online:

Blogging – Maintaining a relevant blog that is updated every day
Directory listings – Listing a website in directories using optimized keywords
Solicit reviews – Encourage your customers to leave positive, online feedback whenever possible (we have a great system for this!)
Online publicity – Syndicated article writing, links, and banners
Social networking – Building pages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. and keeping them updated

Keeping up with each of these online areas drives traffic to your company, building up your brand by online word-of-mouth and search engine results. But, keeping up with all of this also takes time. To keep a good reputation online, be proactive. Social media is the new and ever-increasing way to communicate, get information, and effectively grow business. It is imperative to keep up with the available online mediums and changing trends, in turn better communicating with your customers, building your customer base, and managing your reputation to build a strong brand.

The Importance of a Response

In a recent study, results showed that 71% of large brands do not answer customer tweets, Facebook posts, or comments. This effectively breaks down any positive results from social media and reflects poor customer service. If a customer called in to complain, you would of course listen and respond. You may even have an entire department to do nothing but that. Responding to social media complaints, suggestions, or praise is just as important as having customer service representatives in your company. And it is becoming even more important. An increasing number of consumers are engaging with social media to determine where they shop, what they buy, who they work with. By not engaging with them where they are comfortable, you as a business owner can lose customers and begin to degrade your reputation. Social media exists to communicate with and engage clients, both current and future, on a large scale that is nearly impossible any other way.

Not responding to customers’ comments online is bad reputation management. It lessens your brand value and can harm your business success. Having a business presence on several social media forums is a marketing advantage. And by “presence” we mean actually involving your brand into multiple conversations. Posting about your company, responding to customer posts, self-promoting, and keeping current. By involving yourself in the branding and marketing, you can monitor and control your reputation online, giving you the opportunity to confront the negative feedback, build more positive feedback, and be involved in the conversation.

As you know, social media has grown quickly as a popular forum for many reasons, and most recently it has become a popular forum for product/service reviews and communication. Reputation management is more important now than ever. In a recent study, over half of the respondents said they trust a company’s Facebook page over their official website.

Customer feedback and user reviews are a popular and trusted source for service/product information, and the trend keeps growing. Make sure your reputation management is enough to keep your business “liked” within social media. If you can’t keep up with it, and most people can’t, choose a trusted reputation management services company to help you succeed.

Benefits of Proactive Reputation Management: A Case Study

In a study conducted with a sampling of hotels by TripAdvisor, hotels that reorganized their marketing strategies to include proactive reputation management saw huge growth within the year. Here is a look at the tactics and the results from two different hotels.

In the fourth quarter 2011, The Milford in New York City received 561 reviews. Over the next year, the hotel solicited reviews from happy customers at check-out. In the same quarter 2012, the hotel received 1315 new reviews. Getting the staff involved built the hotel’s online presence, and strengthened their brand.

One of the best ways to beat competition online or anywhere for that matter is to clearly outrank competition in popularity ratings. This can be elusive online without proper reputation management because there is so much information available.

But, The Surfcomber Miami went from #149 in the fourth quarter of 2011 on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index to #5, where it stood in the fourth quarter 2012. 144 points in one year. That’s unheard of, right? Not with proactive reputation management. Build your brand, build business. It’s that simple.
When we see a pattern of improvement such as the one experienced by the Surfcomber, it is clear that they proactively managed their reputation by improving quality, soliciting reviews from customers, actively responding to reviews and engaging in extensive social media marketing.

Contact us today and see how we can help your business with our proactive reputation management services!