Online reputation management is not easy. It is one of those tasks that we consider invisible: when it is done well, it is hardly noticeable, but if something goes wrong… we know it goes wrong.
It is such a particular area, that is why you should pay special attention to how to take care of it correctly and, above all, to understand its evolution over time and create it in a conscious way.
If, like us, you believe in the importance of a good online reputation, read on because this is of interest to you.
We will give you the keys to understand it in detail and improve it.
What is online reputation?
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As the world becomes increasingly digital, the perception of a brand or individual online is becoming increasingly important.
Online reputation refers to the general opinion or perception that customers and the public hold of a brand or individual on the Internet. It is not just based on personal opinions, but also on the association of the brand with certain values, characteristics, and personality.
A good online reputation is crucial to building a strong digital presence, and it should be an essential aspect of any digital strategy.
Factors that contribute to online reputation
The factors that contribute to a brand’s online reputation are numerous and complex.
A brand’s online reputation is based on various factors, including its website’s design and functionality, its social media presence and engagement, its reviews and ratings, and its content marketing strategy.
Other factors that can influence a brand’s online reputation include its association with certain groups, its customer service, and its responses to negative feedback.
Building a positive online reputation
A strong online reputation can significantly impact a brand’s success, which is why building a positive online reputation should be a priority for any business or individual. A positive online reputation can lead to increased trust, credibility, and authority, which can ultimately lead to more sales and revenue.
To build a positive online reputation, it is crucial to monitor and manage online reviews, ratings, and feedback. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and addressing negative feedback can help improve a brand’s reputation.
Additionally, creating valuable and engaging content, developing a strong social media presence, and showcasing positive news and achievements can also contribute to building a positive online reputation.
Why online reputation management is essential?
Online reputation management is the process of monitoring and managing a brand’s online reputation. It involves actively monitoring online reviews and feedback, responding to customer inquiries and complaints, and developing a strategy to build a positive online reputation.
In today’s digital age, where consumers have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips, a negative online reputation can quickly damage a brand’s credibility and reputation. Therefore, investing in online reputation management is essential to protect a brand’s reputation and ensure its success.
In conclusion, building and maintaining a positive online reputation is essential for any business or individual with a digital presence. With the increasing importance of digital media, it is crucial to invest in online reputation management to build trust, credibility, and authority. By actively monitoring and managing a brand’s online reputation, businesses and individuals can ensure long-term success and growth.
How do I improve my online reputation management?
Reputation is the ultimate goal that a brand aims to achieve over time.
It determines to a large extent its identity, and the way it is regarded by society and has a direct impact on the company’s income statement.
If we stop for a second to consider well-known brands such as Apple, Amazon, Louis Vuitton or Coca-Cola, they base their strategy on brand positioning but, above all, on their reputation.
You don’t get to be that big without a good reputation and brand concept, and it is becoming increasingly relevant in the digital environment.
In line with what we discussed in this article, it is also interesting to know how to manage online reputation step by step.
What to do to take care of your online reputation?
One thing must be clear: On the Internet, if we manage a company, a business or directly our personal identity, there is what is called digital identity and it will exist, whether we want it to or not.
That is why we must control and build our online reputation from a conscious and proactive perspective.
We must be able to design a plan and execute it so that this reputation matches the perception we want the network to have of us.
This is why we must take into account a series of aspects. We are going to list what we consider to be the top 5 and which can be extrapolated to all brands, whether online or offline:
- Coherence: This is something we overlook, but it has a great impact on people’s perception of our brand. Being consistent with our values when communicating them is key. Feeling that a company acts as a single entity gives more credibility and trust, as it is perceived as a symbol of unity and professionalism.
This involves using your corporate image correctly, the tone of communications should always be the same and the level of media exposure should always be the same, whether things go well or badly.
- Transparency: We always insist on this, but we do not usually put it into practice. Behind brands and companies, we know there are real people. Conveying this is paramount to building a solid and reliable brand.
By this we do not mean that processes cannot be automated or that we use artificial bits of intelligence.
Being a transparent company means being a company that is present to its customers in a clear and straightforward manner when necessary.
- Empathy: We must have our business idiosyncrasies, but we must also be malleable and adaptable to the demands of the moment. There is no greater pleasure for a customer or user than to feel that we put ourselves in their shoes and really understand them.
- Research: We must always remain attentive to what is being said about us and especially to what is being said within our sector about the rest of the competitors. As we have said, a reputation on the Internet must be built proactively and, if it is with data, all the better.
It analyzes what we are doing well, what needs to be improved, how our rivals are performing and, from that, what we can take to our field.
- Brand alliances and partnerships: There is no faster way to advance trust than partnerships. Surrounding yourself with the best in your industry will make your reputation grow by leaps and bounds. On the other hand, you should try to position yourself on the Internet within your market niche.
Google is an excellent place to create a positioning strategy that lasts over time and where users can find you when they need something related to what you offer.
Step-by-step online reputation management
One of the points to keep in mind in your digital strategy is online reputation management. We always insist that reputation is something that will be created, whether you want it to be or not, so it is better to create it in an active, positive and conscious way.
Let’s take a look at 3 key steps in managing a brand’s online reputation and how to actively work to build it.
If you are interested in growing your business you can’t miss it.
1. Monitor online reputation
Creating a solid monitoring system is essential to start actively working on your online reputation.
But before you start taking actions, choosing tools or publishing content, you must analyze one thing well:
What is your business like?
This is key before starting to work on this aspect, since it is obviously not the same to work on the reputation of a company such as Boeing, as it is to work on Ahrefs or a Mexican restaurant in Madrid.
They all have characteristics specific to their form of business and reputations are built differently.
For example, if you have a restaurant, a physical business or you are a freelancer, you should monitor review sites such as Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, G2, TrustPilot, Houzz or Habitissimo.
If you have an e-commerce you should keep an eye on your own brand, but also places like Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress and retailers, as your items will most likely be sold there.
Finally, third-party sites such as forums, blogs and, above all, social networks, are places to keep a close eye on, as they pose a major challenge and are completely beyond your control.
Now, let’s see how to proceed with this section:
Be efficient and concrete with keywords
Once you are clear about the type of business you have and where you can or want to be present, you must specify specifically how to identify those mentions of your brand in order to identify when they are talking about you.
The easiest way to do this is to use specific tools and both free and paid accounts.
You can start by setting up Google Alerts or using a specific one such as Mention or Brandwatch. It all depends on your resources and the depth of analysis your business needs.
Check the first page of Google
This should be one of the first things you do when it comes to understanding what the perception of your brand may be.
Start by entering your business name and analyze what comes up.
Normally you will see your website, your social networks, links to App Stores, your brand advertising (or not…) and even your Knwoledge Panel and some enriched results. Information over which, a priori, you have control.
If you don’t see anything unusual, it’s a good sign. We can then move on to more specific research, entering the name of your brand plus keywords such as opinion, review, news, etc.
With these searches, things can start to get ugly because believe us if we tell you that people do these types of searches. If you stop and think about it for a moment, you’ll realize that you make them yourself.
If there are problems here, the best thing to do is to start taking action and remove or move that content from there.
So far it is more or less clear to you that you should actively work and “listen to the Internet” to know everything that is happening around your brand.
Once we have this contemplated we will move on to the next scenario.
2. Value and analyze what they say about you.
Once you are collecting and listening to what is being said about you on the Internet, we will move on to what we do with that information.
Shall we act? We do not act? To illustrate this, we are going to give you two points to reinforce the idea that online reputation monitoring is important:
Opinions impact purchasing decisions, always.
Put yourself in this assumption:
You’re in a new city and you want to eat at that restaurant you think is so cool. What are you likely to do before you enter? Right, you go to Google and see what they say and how it eats.
You’ve watched hundreds of comparison videos on YouTube and you’ve finally decided to buy that phone. You search and you find it at an incredible price on a website that you have never visited in your life. What are you likely to do before you buy? Again, you got it right. You’ll be looking for reviews from other people to make sure you can buy with confidence.
The Internet has become a kind of passive word-of-mouth where if you need an opinion on something, you’ll find it.
On the Internet there is (almost never) a delete button.
Keep this in mind: a bad review will stay on the Internet until the end of time.
You can cover them up with others or hide them in some way, but they will still be there, so minimizing and addressing them is important in the long run. Take care of them to minimize their impact in case someone finds them.
Now that we have reinforced your appreciation of online reputation, let’s look at the 2 most important aspects when it comes to analyzing what is said about us and how to analyze it:
Okay, we all know how to distinguish when they are talking bad about us and when they are talking good.
But are we able to understand the sentiment behind that opinion or what they express? In the end, it is important to properly understand what is behind the mention of our brand.
Identifying what is a genuine experience of our product or service from a simple opinion is key.
A person may say they do not like the design; this is an opinion. However, another may complain directly that the cell phone battery does not last as long as she would like; this is an experience.
And we must also understand if it is a user’s appreciation or if it is really a problem.
The battery life of a cell phone is an assessment that is given by the use made by that person or the expectations according to the specifications. That the cell phone stops working within a week of purchase is a real problem.
Assessing these things will help us understand how to act, whether we should respond and the priority.
Where is it published?
Along with understanding sentiment, it is also important to see where our brand has been named and by whom.
It is not the same for a person on Twitter to say something bad as for an influencer to make a video on YouTube talking about our product. And an opinion on a review site that activates a Google search of our brand is not the same as an opinion on a forum lost on the Internet.
The analysis of what is said is key and keep in mind that, in many cases, both negative and positive, it is advisable to act. We will see this in the next point.
3. To act or not to act
To begin with, it starts from the idea that sometimes there is little you can do in terms of correcting a reputation problem.
Sometimes your product will be flawed, you will have made a mistake in your service or what you offer will be bad.
There will be things you have to be honest about and to some extent count on. In these cases always think about minimizing.
The Internet talks, you listen… and you respond. It’s as simple as that.
Let’s look at a few ideas that will help you work on this last part.
Apologize if you are wrong…
If you have made a mistake, apologize as much as possible, but also actively ask for ideas for improvement.
Avoid being condescending like “we’ll consider it next time” or “we’re getting better”. There is nothing worse than seeing a bad review that has been responded to condescendingly. Instead, try to offer something, and let your customer express himself again.
A person who reads a review with some dialogue feels more confident because, even if there are problems, he or she will feel heard.
On the other hand, it will also help you avoid penalties or major problems. People, if they hurt our pride (and/or our pocketbook), we can do a lot of damage.
… and be thankful when you are praised
If someone speaks positively about you, thank them whenever you can.
Believe it or not, you will be creating a closer bond with that person just by showing your sincere appreciation.
To reach people’s Top of Mind in a deep way you need many impacts and in this case the ball is in your court. Take advantage of it.
In this case you don’t have to look for great arguments and a sincere thank you is enough to secure more potential future customers.
The transition from the public to the private sphere
When you receive a bad review, you must understand that there are times when you must move from the public to the private sphere as quickly as possible, and if it is in a direct way, all the better.
We know that it can be lazy and sometimes it is impossible to reach everything, but in specific cases it can prevent a greater evil and prevent losing a quality customer or prescriber of your brand.
A phone call or a formal personal email can go a long way and turn a potential crisis into a happy and satisfied customer.
Have a contingency plan
When you start to grow it is possible that almost every day you have problems or your brand is named. Hence the importance of having a contingency or action plan.
Either because you have an ORM team and need to create a unified action protocol, or because you want to have quick and unified action processes in case of serious problems. Whatever it is, you must document several important aspects such as:
- Using the right tone: Your brand has a way of expressing itself and it is important that everyone acting on its behalf knows how to do it correctly.
- Response template: This is key if you have a large or new team or if you have a lot of requests to handle. Having resources accessible to your team allows responsible people to act more quickly and safely.
- Name those responsible: As in everything else, within your company there must be people responsible for reputation management and name their responsibilities and scope of action.
- Mark response times: This point should also be fine-tuned if you want to be fast or become as efficient as possible. It is directly related to the following section.
- Prioritize tasks by impact: As we said, a review from a person with 100 followers is not the same as a review from a person with 1,000 followers. It is therefore important to deal first with those that have the greatest potential, both positive and negative.
Delete content if necessary
Occasionally you will receive criticism or infringement of your brand that is illegitimate or not a genuine experience.
In these cases, you will be able to remove content from sites such as Google and social networks.
Find out here how to remove a URL from Google where your brand is violated.
Pushing negative reviews down in google results
It’s a process that can take quite a bit of time and money when a reputation problem occurs on Google.
This is an excellent solution if, for example, you cannot contact the person who made the review or you cannot delete it, as more than 90% of users do not go to the second page.
For this point, different strategies can be used, but the most obvious one is to increase the positive result positions over the negative ones using strategies such as linkbuilding, publication in specialized media or review sites, or on websites with a higher domain power than the one above.
In these cases, it is sometimes better to have a specialized ORM team at Google to help you.
Finally, having outstanding people within your sector or related to your target, will help you minimize problems and even quell reputation crises very quickly.
Two vital pieces of advice:
Build your online reputation and avoid a crisis
Don’t stand still and actively work on building your company and its reputation on the Internet.
Don’t expect that being reactive is going to bring about a big change in the perception of your brand. You can minimize problems, but the key to success is to create a plan to build a solid and reliable reputation.
Here you will find more information on how to improve your online reputation.
This is perhaps the most complex part of measuring online reputation.
There are tools that offer you what is known as Reputation Score. You can rely on it, but the best thing to do in these cases is to analyze in detail everything you can.
To do this you must initially have built an active listening system for your brand, as well as a system to build your online reputation.
Having control over what appears in Google SERPs, how we are positioned in a specific directory or how reviews evolve, is important.
And since everything on the Internet can be measured, try to measure any gesture you make to grow your reputation.
How to improve your online reputation?
This is the part we must work on proactively. There is no single method to apply and each brand is different or reaches its audience through different channels.
These are some of the paths we recommend you to follow or take into account:
Position yourself in Google for your key terms
If you are clear about what you offer, Google is a great place to position yourself when it comes to associating your brand with a service or product.
People constantly turn to search engines for information and being present at that key moment, where we clear the doubts of a potential customer, will make that person have a positive impact on our brand.
The road takes time, but as you get there you will make great profits and you will see it clearly.
Partner with larger brands or influencers
Alliances and partnerships are a quick way to position yourself and create synergies.
Get close to a big fish in the market or use cooperation with your rivals. Anything can be used to grow and improve the growth of your brand.
Be consistent in your communication
Reputation is built in the long run and that is why you have to be moderate and clear when talking to your customers and users. Having a left hand in many cases and even giving in will help you avoid major problems in the long run.
It acts from the heart, but uses the brain to judge.
Uses social proof
People want to see real people talking or communicating facts. That’s why, us as a brand saying how good we are does absolutely no good. Let others do it for you.
And remember, people know how to search better and more accurately on the Internet and nothing would be worse for your brand than to discover a totally false or fabricated testimonial.
Sites such as forums, social networks, Google, TripAdvisor, G2 or Trustpilot are places outside of you that will help build that digital trust and demonstrate it.
Performs actions that help society or the environment.
A company that demonstrates social or environmental awareness generates more affection and a more positive perception than one that does not.
Donating money or participating in volunteering is good for your reputation and costs us nothing in terms of operational or financial expenditure. Companies such as Patagonia, HolaLuz or Apple with (PRODUCT)RED are good examples of this.
Tools to measure and control online reputation
Like everything else on the Internet, reputation can also be measured and controlled.
We are going to see a few digital tools that will help you in this task from different approaches:
These tools are capable of monitoring your brand from all points of contact with it on the Internet and are specific for this purpose.
You can start with something simple and free like setting up Google Alerts to alert you when your brand is mentioned to more sophisticated tools like Brandwatch, Awario or Mention.
Social media reputation analysis
Controlling well what happens in social networks is a factor that we must keep in mind because they are among the most visited sites on the Internet and where everything can take a huge dimension in a very short time.
Tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite will help us in both publishing and measuring.
Brand improvement and monitoring on Google
It is key to know what is happening in the search engines and that is why tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, rankingCoach and even SimilarWeb will help us to better understand what can work in those places and how we should move in our sector through keyword studies or analysis of our competition.
Real social proof
Here we can attack from different points.
On the one hand, we have tools such as Trustpilot, Reviews.io, Yotpo or OpinionesVerificadas that will help us to get reviews of our products and services and, on the other hand, specific software tools such as G2 or Capterra.
And not forgetting Google My Business, Tripadvisor, Foursquare or Yelp for local businesses.
Finally, we also have platforms such as Cision HARO, where journalists of all kinds are waiting for answers from specialists to complete their content in large media and at the same time give visibility to those brands that help them.
Online reputation management is a path that must be approached comprehensively and from the different departments that may be exposed to the public or customers.
There is no clear strategy, but we can assure you that there is a clear path to disaster: leave your online reputation in the hands of fate.
Managing the online reputation of your brand is not limited to eliminating the bad things that are said about it. You must be honest with what is said, especially when it is an objective opinion. Analyze why you have been badmouthed and improve in those cases where the criticism is justified.
You should also be constantly on the lookout for your brand because in the long run it can make the difference between earning more and your business being well regarded.
Many times you may wonder why one brand sells more than another with worse products or sells much more expensive. This happens and it is usually because the reputation of the one that sells the most is above the rest.
Finally, if you need help in executing processes related to online reputation management, you can always call on specialized personnel. If you have any doubts or want to tell us about your case, leave us your comment and we will answer you as soon as possible.
And you, how do you take care of your online reputation management? Tell us about it in the comments.