Think of it this way; what would make a total stranger want to trust your business? Better put, why would a customer choose yours when given a choice between two products or services? When it comes to business, brand reputation plays a vital role in determining success. For an online business, this is even more true.
Having an online business or a business with an online presence is one thing; effectively managing and promoting it to achieve success is an entirely different matter. Decades ago, one of the major difficulties companies faced was trying to convince customers to pay for products online. In today’s online business sphere, you have many other businesses offering similar products or services. Now, more than ever, you have to position your business to not only attract new customers but also to compete favourably with your competitors.
This article examines seven important strategies to help you manage your brand reputation online. However, before we get started with these strategies, let’s begin with understanding the basic concepts of brand reputation.
What Is Brand Reputation?
In its simplest terms, brand reputation is how people perceive your brand or business. By people, this includes customers (prospective and loyal), employees, partners, and anyone with a connection to your business. Brand reputation directly measures the amount of trust you have for a business. It’s basic human nature to be more trusting of a brand we deem reputable.
For instance, time and again, hundreds of paying customers wait hours and days under the sun and rain for the launch of the newest Apple iPhone model. As far-reaching as this may seem for a new startup, the same principle applies. Apple’s loyal customers put their trust and faith in the brand’s reputation to deliver quality smartphones and are willing to be the first to purchase them. Apple’s marketing budget may be enough to buy out several start-ups, but at the heart of every successful marketing strategy and campaign is the same thing: brand reputation.
As much as some business owners try to ignore it, brand reputation can be fleeting. As such, there has to be an intentional approach to managing and monitoring a brand’s reputation.
Strategies For Managing Your Brand Reputation Online
With that out of the way, you can use these seven strategies to manage your brand’s online reputation.
Build Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity is what makes your business or brand stand out. Before thinking about improving your brand’s reputation, you have to create an identity that’s easily identifiable or sets you apart from your competitors. Your brand identity includes your brand’s logo, imagery, and colours. Think of any notable brand and examine its chosen logo, imagery, and colour. For instance, when you see the KFC logo, image, or colour anywhere in the world, you can confidently walk in and trust that you will get its famous tasty fried chicken.
Your brand identity should also have a consistent brand voice. You want to be known for one thing. The idea is to have customers think of you when they want certain products or services. Still using KFC as an example, when people think they need some crispy chicken, KFC is the one brand that comes to mind. However, as a brand with a consistent brand voice, you wouldn’t think of KFC if you’re looking for a clothing store.
Promote Your Brand Identity With Excellent Content Marketing
Business marketing helps put your brand out there. No matter how good a product or service you offer, if it doesn’t get in front of the customers, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be out of business. When it comes to consolidating your brand’s online presence and boosting its reputation, a lot has to do with quality content marketing.
At the centre of good online content marketing is the use of social media to your advantage. Social media is a powerful online marketing tool that can no longer be ignored or allowed to play second fiddle. Instead, consistently create organic posts that can engage your followers and gain you more following across the different platforms.
This would work in tandem with the brand’s website, which should be kept up-to-date with the latest prices for the brand’s products and services. Content marketing helps you put what you offer in front of your targeted audience. Because of that, all content marketing should focus on promoting the brand to a desired audience.
For instance, if you are offering quality meat products at an affordable price, whatever content marketing tool you employ will have no effect on a vegan audience. The idea behind every content marketing campaign is to achieve increased sales conversions and attract potential customers to trust your brand.
Engage With Your Audience
As an online brand or one with a strong online presence, your audience is either already your customers/loyal fans or potential customers. Either of these is needed to improve and promote your brand’s reputation. Therefore, when people want to do business with a brand, one of the first things they do is to conduct research about how you operate and the reputation you have.
An excellent way to get started is through reviews and customer engagement. It’s normal for people to ask questions to address possible concerns they may face about buying a particular product. It’s your job to put them at ease by being respectful and open, with accurate answers provided for them. The truth is, it may seem tiring sometimes trying to answer similar questions repeatedly. However, realising that each potential customer has a right to clarity makes things easier.
You can either include an FAQ section or hire a social media manager to help reply and engage your audience. Whatever you do, ensure your brand is responsive and reliable in addressing customers’ concerns.
Here are some ideas on how to engage your audience using different online platforms:
- Do giveaways
- Ask targeted questions for engagement
- Reply to comments
- Create a Facebook or Twitter poll
- Start a hashtag
- Share your follower’s posts
- Seek random advice
- Create a forum and start engaging in discussions
Listen To And Implement Feedback
Brand reputation can create a cult-like following among fans and customers. To elevate your brand to such a status starts by making your audience and customers feel like they’re part of a family. Audience engagement is only effective when the audience feels their opinions matter and are heard.
As a business, be open to corrections and admit mistakes when necessary. This makes it easy for your audience to connect with you on a human level. Undoubtedly, there would be feedback and opinions you’ll receive that may not reflect your brand’s culture. However, rather than openly rebuke whoever offers the view, consider it an opportunity to educate them on your brand culture. You do not necessarily have to divulge every secret of your business, but it’s okay to provide specific reasons why your brand functions the way it does.
Improve Your Customer Experience
Finding a new customer base is, of course, a great way to achieve business growth and expansion. However, it is brand loyalty that will keep you in the game longer. Repeat customers not only add revenue to the business but can also actively or passively help promote your brand. When customers are not satisfied with the experience they received doing business with you, there’s every tendency you won’t see them again.
While you may think it’s easy to replace them, unsatisfied customers can leave poor and negative reviews that can influence a potential customer’s decision to buy from you. For example, a recent survey from ReviewTrackers found that 35% of consumers only consider doing business with brands with an average star rating of 4 or higher, while 10% go straight for 5-star companies.
Ever notice that unsatisfied customers are more likely to leave a review than satisfied customers? If you don’t focus on improving customer experience, it’s only a matter of time before the negative reviews ultimately affect your brand’s reputation.
Improve Your Website Design And User Experience
The last decades have seen significant improvement in website design and user experience. As a result, more businesses are creating budgets to ensure their main website pages look professional, responsive, and easy for customers to navigate. In addition, with the average attention span of humans decreasing daily, customers are more likely to visit websites that they feel look presentable and have a great user experience.
Create a website that makes it easy for customers to find what they want. As much as possible, you want customers visiting your brand’s website to quickly and easily make a purchase before they begin to second-guess themselves. Incorporate security protocols to help solidify the trust of your customers in the website being legitimate and not looking to steal their information. When a sale is complete, use e-mails or text messages to quickly confirm receipt of purchase. The last thing you want is to have customers feel like they’re being ripped off, especially when it takes hours before the sale is confirmed.
When All Else Fails, Hire Expert Firms
Improving and managing your brand’s online reputation takes time and effort. It requires persistence and consistency to pull off a success. If you feel overwhelmed when looking to apply these strategies, there’s always the option of outsourcing it to the experts. With the proper budget and determination, you can consult and hire a good digital marketing firm or brand manager to help manage your brand.
As businesses move to create and improve their online presence, it’s become more important to build a reputation that can ensure customer conversions. Therefore, you need to have strategies in place to help you manage your brand reputation and ensure it commands respect and trust of your customers. This article has given you an in-depth look at seven crucial strategies that can be implemented to manage a brand’s online reputation, all of which you can consider adopting.