Reputation Marketing Tips For Small & Local Businesses, Professionals, Big Brands

Reputation Marketing Tips For Small & Local Businesses, Professionals, Big Brands

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Although good online reviews and reputation are equally valuable for all businesses and individuals of the modern age yet how online reputation impacts their businesses and professional/personal lives are completely different.

Likewise, the practices to brand reputation management and strategies to deal with negative reviews too differ considerably in different cases. This post throws light on the fact that everything that has a presence in the online world has to maintain an online reputation.

The strategies how every niche can maintain good reviews and control the damage of a bad review are different in many ways, like:

  • The level of risk is different
  • The ways of damage control are different
  • After effects of good or bad review are different
  • Strategies to maintain or handle review are different

Due to this diversity, it is important that we segment our article on how each one of them (individuals, small/local businesses and big brands) can handle and maintain a good online reputation. But before moving into that, let’s get a clearer definition of reputation marketing.

What is Reputation Marketing?

Reputation marketing refers to altering and controlling an individual, brand or corporation’s reputation. With the escalation of internet and social media usage, search results have become an integral part of reputation.

Reputation marketing is a perfect amalgam of reputation management and brand marketing. It basically involves scrutinizing and monitoring the reputation of an individual or a brand on the internet by addressing issues, content that could cause potential damage. However it is not just a means of handling negative reviews, it involves seeking positive reviews in order to attract new customers.

Building a good reputation is critically important as 3 out of 4 people prefer positively reviewed business than a negative one. Online reputation marketing should be aligned with other marketing tactics to deliver maximum results. This practice should be inculcated as the effectiveness of the efforts is increased by a good reputation and credit.

Know why Online Reputation Marketing is Important

Every industry from restaurant to computer software or any working individual or professional cannot afford to ignore online reviews about them. Online reviews or the user-generated content (UGC) have become the biggest factor for prospects to evaluate a business, product, service or even individuals they wish to partner with. The reviews have become a critical factor influencing the purchase decision.

Here are some facts highlighting why online reputation marketing is important:

  1. According to a report (Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report), 64% of consumers trust search engine results when searching for news or information.
  2. A research study by BrightLocal, 97% of consumers read online reviews to locate a local business.
  3. In another study, Wikipedia has been found to rank more than 50% on the first page results. Wikipedia has a high ranking dominance, be it commercial queries or informational queries. Hence, greater consumer acceptance of Wikipedia’s information can distort the business’s image if there are any wrong or negative results.

For Individuals / Professionals

No matter who you are, a celebrity or a certified professional or a student, all are entitled to face one or the other criticism in day-to-day life if they are online.

For celebrities, they do not have to do much to build their brand image, as it’s created easily by fans, followers or haters. They just have to hire a good public relations (PR) firm to leverage the publicity they get online.

But for lawyers, doctors, and other such professionals, who won’t hire any PR firm to manage their public image, creating their online presence and keeping it safe is their own responsibility. And, avoiding it is not an option in this day and age, as people nowadays check places on Google before reaching there.

People check places to get directions, read user reviews online or just try to find social media profile, and Google names before going to a new doctor or a gym coach. When they Google you, they get to know pretty much everything said by anyone about you. Five things you ought to remember being a professional are as follows:

  • Try and proactively place yourself on every business listing page or places where people would be searching related to your profession like LinkedIn, Healthgrades, etc. It is very important that you appear on select platforms when they make a query similar to your work.
  • Even though you must be promoting yourself on different websites, business listing platforms or forums. It is immensely important that all the content distributed on varied platforms is available for the viewer at one place too (can be your own website or a social media page).
  • Everything that you write on the internet matters, hence be very careful while commenting or writing about anything online.
  • Assess search engine results for your name. Consider and take action against the negative reviews or any unwanted search results.
  • In case you have already got a negative review, first reply to the review positively and afterwards put all your efforts to create more of positive online resources to push down the negative result in SERPs.

Online negative reviews are unavoidable but it is important that the customer hears back from the professional as soon as a complaint goes live. Handling wisely may suppress the negative after effects of that review and save you from an unfavorable situation (potentially). Look below the example of an aptly handled comment.

Customer reviews

Suppress Unfavourable Events that may Harm your Online Presence

Small Businesses

For small businesses, creating an online presence is fairly a new concept, as they’ve been ignoring it for a long time. Till date, there are two types of small businesses,

  • One, who have created a website for themselves, but they do not bother much to update it.
  • And the other ones that haven’t yet managed to take out the time and money to create a website.

First of all, online reputation is more than creating a website. Secondly, reputation management is important for all small businesses, whether they have a website or not.

The level of management, the number of cautionary steps a small business has to take and the level of risk involved in it, will depend on the scale of operations. If you are a small business catering to local audience, a one page website is enough for brand building as local customers mostly like to visit their favorite sellers personally and in-store service matters more to them. But, it doesn’t end at creating a website, you must update it regularly too. Few more reputation marketing tips for small businesses to manage their online reputation are following.

  1. First of all, be proactive.
  2. Focus on local SEO strategies to improve search engine presence of your business.
  3. Make sure you blog regularly ( if you own a website).
  4. Not a big problem if you don’t have a site at all or you can’t invest time in both, a website and a social media page for reputation building. But, at least be available on other platforms (although a social media page is the best and least to do). The only condition is- you have to be active on your page (web/social) and share the right updates for your target audience on a regular basis.
  5. You can build your online presence in many ways, like listing your business on business listing websites, creating groups and pages on social media, etc.  In short, create a presence on relevant and niche related websites.
  6. Stay focused while sharing content on your profile or website. It’s going to create an impression for good so define a consistent approach.
  7. The best form of marketing is word of mouth marketing so these businesses must ensure that the customer service is good. If you own a local business, you can directly communicate with customers and handle complaints, that may save you from a future comment, which could go live if not entertained.
  8. Social media platforms are the best way to connect with your potential customers. Do not neglect them. If creating content frequently seems difficult to you, use creative ways to repurpose social media content.
  9. Respond to every online review especially the negative ones quickly and try to offer a solution rather than justifying your part.

The main reason why local businesses ignore online reputation is because the market size is small and the target audience is specific to a certain area. But the notions have changed, as the size of the target audience is small but everyone nowadays is tech-savvy. Even if they don’t check you online before visiting you, they know sites like Yelp and Foursquare where negative reviews can be shared if they didn’t like your product/service.

One thing you must know about reputation marketing is that to have online reputation management strategy in place is an advantage that helps at the time of reputation repair. For instance, you can also make good use of generic and impartial reviews to gain more popularity. The engagement you raise and the mentions, likes, shares, clicks you raise this way can’t be omitted from web and may help in reputation repair in future (when a new negative review is submitted by any user). How a local restaurant “The Spice Cave” used a neutral review of past is an apt illustration of it. The restaurant seized the opportunity and utilized it to build a loyal customer. The customer in her review complained regarding a specific dish, the management on personal level ensured that they have noted the preference and gave an additional 10% discount for dine in order.

Reputation marketing tips for small business not only change customer’s perspective but also convert a complainant into a loyal customer. There is an example below.

Customer Perspective

Big brands

Needless to say, every big brand has enough online presence, thanks to their marketing teams. They have a well-designed website and updates social media accounts on every platform. Every brand has a unique strategy, as per which their reputation marketing is handled. These brand’s reputation management strategies are laid out very carefully as one wrong move can rupture the customer base the brand has been creating for so long.

Let’s refresh a few facts about established brands before jumping on to the story of their reputation.

  • The market size of big brands is huge, which is why addressing each and every review of customer is a difficult task.
  • Big brands have all the resource for repairing if any damage is done.
  • Every negative review or comment has the potential to get a lot of attention as the number of followers in their network is huge.

A well-laid strategy is needed to control the damage and protect the online reputation of corporates, big brands. Or else there are chances to lose a big chunk of customer base in the blink of an eye.

As the big brands have created a name and the status in the market, customers do not expect bad services or product from them. The customer trusts a big brand name blindly and can be upset on the slightest thing given their stature in the market. They can forgive a local seller for poor customer service but may never forget or forgive brands for the same reason. Expectations are as huge as one’s business stature and when something goes wrong, they are usually upset beyond compare.

Big brands also need to understand that there are many competitors in the market, customers can easily shift from your brand to the next brand seeking better service. This is why big brands need to be very careful what they offer, how they offer.

Following are few brand reputation management strategies a large scale business that must be followed in order to proactively build, monitor and maintain their online reputation.

  1. Use monitoring tools like Google alerts, Social mention, Trackur etc.
  2. Ask your happy customers to leave a feedback or review on your social media platforms / sites. Try various ways to collect user reviews as it can get you the maximum attention  of relevant audience.
  3. Create an incredibly easy path for your customer to write a review for your business.
  4. Be active on your website and social media profiles.
  5. For big brands responding to negative reviews immediately is more important than that for smaller businesses. Slightest delay can cause measurable harm in terms of brand trust, popularity and loss of customers.
  6. A dedicated department for grievance redressal as this is one of the best ways to interact with complaining customers.

There are three ways big brands handle customer review on social media: – Best, Good and Bad.

Best

The best way to engage customers and maintain an online reputation is by going out of the way for the happiness of the customer- JetBlue Airways recently proved it. A customer jokingly asked for a parade to greet her, when she arrives home. JetBlue Airways Social media team sent the information to the airport where she was about to reach and they arranged a little welcome home parade

JetBlue Airways Welcome Home Parade

Good

The whole food market has nearly 4.86 million followers but they do not only post promotional updates but also engage with complaints for better customer service. See the image below

Engage with Complaints

Bad

British Airways has 1.09 million followers, and handling this big community of followers is no game. You can be flooded with complaints for the slightest matters. Following is an example of such complaints and how British Airways handled it, is the most apt way of handling such grievances.

British Airways Twitter post

This tweet was seen by nearly 76,000 users on Twitter.

Repair, Monitor and Build your Brand’s Online Reputation

Conclusion

As the count of internet users grows day by day, online reputation management becomes crucial for one and all, including professionals, local business and big brands. Having an ORM wing in place is somehow a necessity, no matter how established or new you are on the web.

With more and more customers actively sharing and looking out for doctors, meal delivery, salon and various such services/sellers online, it has undeniable for everyone from brand to individual, to have a successful ORM strategy.

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Comments (2)
Carney Technologies Services

Hello Kavya,

I like to thank you for such a nice article. Your article is full of information. You pointed all the aspects about reputation marketing.