The rise of content creation has brought on new challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes, especially when it comes to managing one’s reputation. Reputation isn’t a single stationary object, but an equation that includes many pieces, such as being known for delivering quality products or services, showing likeability, actively engaging with customers, and the ability to offer valuable and relevant content. So where should a brand manager begin?
Do Your Research
Start out by generating a list of terms that your customers search for when finding information and reviews on your company. Accurately compiling these terms is best done by surveying multiple users of your products or services and cross-referencing the terms through analytics platforms such as Google Adwords.
After compiling your list of terms, begin using keyword searches on the major search engines to see what is being said about your brand. Focus primarily on the first two pages of results. A recent study by Optify, Inc. revealed that the top three organic search results yielded 58.4 per cent of clicks, while the whole second page of results averaged only 1.5 per cent of clicks and the third page was rarely visited.
Take note of any negative press and be prepared to use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to bump up positive reviews and push out the negative ones. I know you may feel that pushing bad results out of the SERPs is wrong, but in fact, Google recommends it. A statement from the official Google blog stated:
“Instead, you can try to reduce its visibility in the search results by proactively publishing useful, positive information about yourself or your business. If you can get stuff that you want people to see to outperform the stuff you don’t want them to see, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of harm that that negative or embarrassing content can do to your reputation.”
Get on the Review Boards
After taking note of any bad press falling on the results pages, immediately begin repairing your image. Customers want to know they are being heard, so be sure to respond to any negative comments and focus on producing a resolution; however, there are always customers that cannot be pleased, and in this case, it is best to handle the situation respectfully and show other potential customers you are willing to work to resolve complaints. Keep in mind that not only negative comments merit a response. A simple “Thank you for your business” on a positive comment is a great way to build a brand advocate and loyal customer.
Manage Your Social Status
If you haven’t already, establish accounts with the major social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Social media not only draws a direct line of communication with your customer, but is now being indexed in major search engines like Google and Bing. Keep in mind, if you do not have the time or resources to keep a clear consistent message across all the social media platforms, only choose the ones that will offer you the highest ROI.
Be sure to keep your social media sites frequently updated with relevant content; a neglected account is worse than no account at all and can lead to negative PR. However, it is important not to overcrowd your customer’s newsfeeds as well. Posting too much can anger customers and lead them to stop following your business. It is also a good idea to vary your posts with light and uplifting content that shows your human side. Customers respond better to a face and the main goal of your social media campaign should be to build engagement with your customers.
Establishing a strong brand can take much time and work. Customers want to be an integral part of the future of your brand and respond better when they know they are dealing with an untarnished company and are being heard by the decision makers of that company.
Matt Polsky is the Senior Content and Reputation Manager for Veterans United, providing insights learned from the nation’s leading dedicat