What is reputation management? Essentially, it’s making sure that your brand is squeaky clean (or as much as possible) in the eyes of your prospective customers. This doesn’t only involve your Google and Facebook reviews though; in fact, a major component to your brand’s online reputation is your website.
Reputation management has been around for years, yet it is somehow usually on the bottom of the totem pole in terms of importance for a lot of businesses. Many businesses only care about leads and conversions but it’s important to focus on the steps leading up to that new sale – which is where reputation management comes into play.
Through Efferent Media’s reputation management services, we tackle this topic for our clients… but what if you are a small business owner who handles their own marketing? If you are a little fuzzy on the subject, we’re here to explain our tips on how to ensure your website’s reputation stays golden to benefit your business.
Why is reputation management important?
- Gives you an opportunity to counter negative feedback – Manage your reputation in a confident way. Instead of running away from a “fire”, attack it head on and put it out.
- Provides an opportunity to share and capitalize on your business’s positive elements – If you’re on an upward trend, take advantage of that. Capitalize on Twitter hashtags, place Facebook ads, and use Google Trends or Keyword planner to get you #1 on the SERPs.
- A successful strategy can bring in great opportunities to increase brand awareness – Whether good or bad, hone in on the opportunities you find within all your online experiences.
How is your website a form of reputation management?
If there is a crisis surrounding your brand (or even an influx of new found love), the first pitstop for people to send their concerns – or praise – is directly to you. Your website is their first impression.
Lay out your mission and vision statement
Update your contact page
Display your social handles loud and proud
Your home page is the most important page on your website. Be sure to feature your most important elements here so people can immediately get a comfortable feel for your business without a million questions.
Make this page interactive, easy to understand, and fun. You’ll be getting a lot of direct traffic here so take advantage by offering a coupon in exchange for an email address, a spinning discount wheel, or a quiz to keep customers engaged and on your page.
What is a mission and vision statement? This lets people get inside your brand’s mind to get a sense of what you are all about.
Be serious or even playful in conveying your brands personality and goals. Whatever you choose, be particular about how you want your message to come across and so people choose you over the other guys. In the wise words of Bonnie Raitt… “let’s give them something to talk about” – something good, of course.
If someone is trying to contact you, it can be extremely frustrating to find out that the contact information they submitted is, well, contactless. Make sure your email address, phone number, and mailing address are up to date so customers can reach you in an instant for a quick reply.
Whether for good or for bad, Social Media drives the world. Let current and prospective customers scope out your social pages to see what others are saying. Most users will head directly to reviews or comments, and what they find here is important.
You might have some bad reviews, sure… but everyone does. It’s how you handle them that will leave an important impact. If you ignored the situation, they’ll swipe over to your competitors without thinking. However, if you addressed the problem and tried to make amends, you might have just won yourself a new customer.
What’s your plan of attack during a reputation crisis?
Don’t hide. Fight your cause.
Write a blog post about it
Create a Crisis FAQ
Everyone makes mistakes and no brand is perfect. Hiccups will happen as your business grows and they should be expected. However, if you try to shy away from your mistakes, the public will be quick to destroy you. Address the issue, explain where you stand, stress why you have the stance you do, and describe why you should be supported through the worst.
We’ve all seen the PR posts coming from the world’s elite brands and celebs trying to make a terrible situation right. Too often the public rolls their eyes. These apologies are always too vague, impersonal, and insincere.
This is why a blog post could be a good choice. Blogs live on your website and can be shared to social media, which in turn reaches a ton of people. Blog posts are a lot more personal and less formal, which gives you the opportunity to be real with your audience. This usually results in more forgiveness and understanding.
People love FAQs. It takes all the work out of trying to find the answers. Do this for your brand’s dilemma as well. Skim through the comments of what people are saying about your business online and create well-rounded answers for the most popular concerns. Not only is this helpful, but it is admirable as well.
Let Efferent Media Take Your Reputation to the Next Level
Successful businesses prepare for bumpy times in advance. Efferent Media’s reputation management team can handle complaints, monitor your social media, manage your reviews and more. When you’re ready for the next step in your business’s growth and protection, call Efferent Media at (631) 867-0900.