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The Dos and Don’ts of Reputation Management

Managing your brand online doesn’t have to take hours a day or cost tons of money.  For many businesses, effective online reputation management can be achieved by following a few simple guidelines.  Here are our top tips for effectively managing your brand’s reputation:

 

  • Do: Consider your audience. Know who you’re marketing to, and use the appropriate voice to speak with them.  Consider the tone, verbiage, subject matter, and content you are sharing with your audience in order to get the maximum benefit from online channels.
  • Don’t: Market to the wrong people. Make sure you know who you’re engaging with before you solidify your strategy for managing your brand online.  Keep in mind that you may be  communicating with a different group of customers on Facebook than on your blog.

 

  • Do: Listen. Relying on push marketing can be a fatal mistake online, especially within the realm of Social Media.  Make sure you’re taking the time to hear what your customers have to say.  Know what they like about your brand, what changes they’d like to see, and ideas or suggestions they have for improvement.  Sometimes the best business ideas come from unlikely places!
  • Don’t: Ignore. People are talking about your business because they care about you.  Show them that you are listening by taking the time to respond to what they have to say.  Even if you can’t change something, just knowing that you are listening is often a large part in turning a critic into a raving fan.

 

  • Do: Engage. Utilize online mediums to your advantage by engaging with your customers, peers, and even your competition.  Get feedback, suggestions, and let others help spread the word about your brand.  People are much more likely to trust the opinions of their peers about your business over what they hear via advertising or directly from you.  Let your customers and fans become your evangelists!
  • Don’t:  Push. Marketing messages are pushed at people everywhere they go; they are seen on television, print media, online, even on billboards at the side of the road.  Don’t be more noise that gets tuned out.  Be part of the conversation!

 

  • Do: Take it offline. In the event you have an angry customer, publically let them know that you want to do what it takes to resolve their issue, and give them the name and contact information of a decision maker within your company to contact.  However, don’t hash things out in a public forum.  This will help prevent the airing of dirty laundry that often happens when brands try to settle disputes online.
  • Don’t: Argue. No matter whom is right or wrong in a conflict, customers often come away from a public conflict with the sympathy of their peers while the big brand is vilified.  Do whatever it takes to avoid back and forth arguing in a public forum in order to remain professional.

 

  • Do: Say thank you. The life of your business depends on its customers, so let them know that they are appreciated!  Commenting on the positive feedback out there is just as important as addressing the negative –don’t let your fans be ignored, or they will stop talking about you.
  • Don’t: Take valuable brand evangelists for granted. Brand evangelists are your unpaid sales and marketing team.  They take the time to tell anyone who will listen that they love you.  Make sure you take the time to tell them that you appreciate their enthusiasm, and they’ll continue to spread the word.

 

The bottom line always goes back to the Golden Rule -treat people as you would like to be treated.  Imagine the impact if you made a comment online about someone you do business with and they took the time to acknowledge your feedback and do something about your comment or suggestion!  When brands listen to their customers and acknowledge their feedback, those clients stay loyal, happy, and of course, vocal.