Online reputation management is a relatively new field. But it has become absolutely crucial to most businesses since the advent of social media and online review websites such as Yelp.
There are a wide variety of customer-brand interactions going on in the world today. The ability of brands and businesses to influence customer perception is critical at many business stages. And the sad truth is that not many businesses are even aware of where their current client dialogue stands. How many business leaders can confidently say how customers are discussing their companies?
Reputation matters for sales. It’s a time-honored fact that dissatisfied customers will share their opinions with others. But the growth and popularity of business review websites have given dissatisfied consumers significant power. They can now influence hundreds of people outside their natural spheres of influence. In some industries, even one influential negative review can decimate sales and profits.
So how can companies that lack online reputations set up an online reputation strategy? We’ve got some great tips and tricks to help guide you depending on your business type!
International Reputation Management
Reputation for large, international businesses can be a tricky subject because consumer culture can vary widely in different international regions. Apart from contracting with an international reputation management services company, there are a few important items to consider.
- Always have a reputation management leader who is knowledgeable about cultural differences and expectations. Some of the biggest international reputation disasters happen when businesses ignore cultural sensitivities. Simply having someone at the helm who is aware of what local clients value can be a lifesaver.
- Establish brand presence on locale-specific social media. For example, having a WhatsApp presence is important in many parts of South America. And many consumers in Asia use wildly different social media platforms than Americans do. Have different international divisions engage in positive conversations on the social platforms your clientbase likes.
- Solicit reviews in a positive way. Often this task can be as simple as sending customers free product samples or other strong value propositions!
Retail Reputation Management
The retail sector is renowned for having a difficult time managing reputation. The reason why is partly because reviews (especially positive ones) can be notoriously difficult to solicit. Here are some great suggestions for creating a retail-oriented reputation management strategy.
- Have a plan for responding to negative reviews. Ideally, this plan should always involve concessions to the consumer, whether you give away a free product or a refund. Negative reviews on products can tank retail sales. It’s therefore important that other customers reading negative reviews perceive that your brand came through. If the customer was dissatisfied, they need to see you fulfilled your value proposition. No-questions-asked return policies can dramatically reduce the occurrence of bad reviews.
- Build on your positive reviews. You can do so by ensuring your most highly-reviewed products are the first ones you recommend to consumers both online and in-person. Highlight your strengths, not your weaknesses.
- Build brand loyalty! Routinely request reviews or feedback from users, and feature them prominently on your website. Positive reviews will establish trust with new consumers.
Startup Reputation Management
How can you build a positive public image when you have no reputation, per se? Startup reputation management, like building good publicity, is a powerful way to ensure your brand develops a supportive following. Then a few negative reviews won’t crush you right after you launch.
- Always beta-test your product with potential clients first. Never, ever, ever launch a product without testing it on your prospective client base. Ideally, you will give it away for free, only requesting your recipients to give their feedback so you can collate it. If you get any negative responses at this stage, address the root of the product’s problem ASAP.
- Aggressively pursue good customer relations. Try to build personal interactions with every initial customer. Reach out to your clients often regarding their experiences and thoughts. Outreach is especially important on social media so that potential clients can see your efforts to engage.
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