If your business has a bad reputation online, your potential customers will be hesitant to buy from you.
A strong online reputation helps in driving sales to a large extent that even the smaller brands are investing in online reputation.
If you want to start monitoring your online reputation, but are in a fix as to how to get started, here are the ways to help you do so.
Ways to monitor & improve your Online Reputation
1. Be active on all social media sites
The fundamental step to start with when you are trying to build an online reputation is to have an active presence on social media sites.
Now, you only need be active on social media sites which are relevant to your business.
Find out the sites where your customers are most active on so that you can benefit from engaging with them. If you are a hotel, Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, and Yelp are the most important sites to be active on.
If you are a financial and insurance services firm, LinkedIn is a site you should focus on.
It is because of online reputation and social media, the term ‘social listening’ has gained prominence in the recent past, it helps you listen actively to what your customers are talking about you online.
“Care to explain what social listening is?”
Social listening is the process of keeping track of conversations online and on social media to find out what your customers perceive about you. It is helpful in knowing things that would have otherwise been impossible to know.
2. Monitor review sites
If you are a retailer and e-commerce is your focus, Amazon is a site that you must be listed on.
The product ratings, detailed information, and online reviews help in customers making informed decisions. And who doesn’t use Amazon? A large majority does.
Amazon is the largest review site in the US with 42% of the customers writing at least one review. Google and Facebook though are not review sites are important avenues for online reviews because of its large user base and popularity.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise because Google is the largest search engine (and the most popular one) while Facebook is the numero uno social media site with 2.2 billion users worldwide.
And yes, there are sites for businesses in the hospitality industry to focus on as well. Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are powerful high authority sites which customers frequent. Since its inception, it has become two of the most important review sites that hotels, restaurants, and QSRs must be listed on.
3. Pay attention to customer issues
Since online reviews either appreciate or criticize the business, brands must take care to resolve customer issues.
Human nature is such that customers are likely to convey a bad experience than a good one. Despite having positive reviews, one or two negative reviews is enough to make customers uncertain and put them in a spot of bother.
Your brand might state that customers are a priority but if you don’t pay heed to customer complaints and solve them, negative reviews and bad online reputation is inevitable.
If keeping customers happy and winning them over is your ultimate goal, then profits will invariably be the outcome. So, start working on resolving customer issues and do it on time.
4. Set up Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free tool that could help brands easily monitor your mentions online. You can set alerts for keywords, misspellings of your brand. Adding on, you can use it to keep track of competitors’ activities such as PR or news mentions.
5. Update your blog regularly
Back in 1996, Bill Gates remarked, ‘Content is the new king’ and it holds true even decades later. Crafting relevant content that is engaging helps in keeping your customers glued to you.
Blog comments are another way that you can make it easy for your customers. It is a place where they are going to post their opinions. Whatever their reception might be whether positive or negative, it is critical to your success.
Another key reason you should keep a tab on your blog is to weed out spam comments which deteriorate your brand’s online reputation.
6. Watch and learn from your competitors
Have you ever wondered why your competitors are successful in having an enviable online reputation? What are they doing different that makes them succeed?
If only there was a way to find out!
Don’t worry while there are some things that are privy only to your competitors, there are equally a great number of things that can be easily known. Hashtags used, influencers partnered with, and the publications that they are featured in can be easily known.
Learn from what worked and what didn’t. If there was a faux pas or a goof up from their side, understand that it certainly won’t work for you as well. Take a look at their websites, paid ad campaigns, blog, and other content so you can accordingly plan your own online reputation strategy as well.
You can use tools like Buzzsumo and Ghostery to find the content and the marketing tools that are used by your competitors.
7. Leverage Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing has taken the business world by storm. With mutual benefits to both the parties involved i.e. the brand and the influencer, brands are looking to work with people who enjoy a massive social media fan following.
It not only gives your brand the much-needed boost but also an online outreach that is paramount for online reputation success.
But, before you pitch in or reach out to influencers, make sure you have a good online reputation in terms of reviews and resolving customer issues.
Think about it, no influencer would like to work with brands or businesses that are not liked by customers. Their own reputation is at stake as well.
Here are a few examples of how retail brands and hotels are using influencer marketing to build a striking online brand reputation.
Retail brands that are using influencer marketing to build strong online reputation
The Swedish multi-national retail brand roped in two influencers, Julie Sarinana and Ella Velden. The brand is known to onboard influencers who reflect and endorse its fashion sense and thinking.
Sarinana and Vega endorsed H&M’s Fall 2017 collection. Having loved the collection, Sarinana promoted it from her personal Instagram account.
GAP is a retail clothing brand that only a negligible few might have unheard of. As a part of its influencer marketing campaign, it came up with Styld.by campaign.
The campaign included an ensemble of social media personalities from Refinery29 and WhoWhatWhere both of whom are well known blogging sites.
The objective of the campaign was to demonstrate customers how GAP’s wardrobe collection could be worn as daily wear.
In a unique campaign strategy, users were shown the option ‘Shop this look’ in the caption which directed them to the site when clicked. This was done to make it convenient for them to buy the same style as that of the influencers.
This effort paid off big time as GAP achieved considerable success.
Hotel brands that are using influencer marketing
1. Ritz Carlton
Ritz Carlton has really set an example for brands to emulate. In one of its kind strategy, it invited influencers who were active and had followers in thousands to promote its properties.
What’s so great about it?
The hotelier sponsored a week’s stay with all the airfare expenses borne by them. This was done to induce authenticity and personalization instead of relying on stock photos.
2. Starwood Resorts
Starwood Resorts owned by Mariott has been acing the Instagram game ever since it first started out in 2014. In one of its influencer outreach campaigns, it tied up with five travel influencers or wanderlusts as they are called.
The influencers were tasked with promoting two of its properties in Paris namely, Le Metropolitan and Le Dokhan. They would post photos and their experiences on their Instagram account to woo customers and increase bookings.
Since online reviews drive hotel bookings, a link to LiketoKnow.it which is a European fashion e-commerce website was included in the description.
To fill you in, LiketoKnow.it is an mobile app where you get to buy the clothes that your favourite fashion influencer is wearing.
In order to drive the hotel room bookings for Le Metropolitan and Le Dokhan, it devised a novel strategy, where users had to register on its Tribute Portfolio website.
Once they had registered, they had to like the photos tagged '@tributeportfolio' and '#independentmoments'. After this was done, they had to click on the LiketoKnow.it link in the description.
On doing so, they would receive an email which contained direct links to book rooms in the new properties.
Starwood built a follower base of more than 5,00,000 and counting with the help of its campaign.
Online reputation is something that can’t be risked by brands today. It can cost you a lot more than you can ever imagine.
The internet is where your customers hang out and it only makes sense for you to pay heed to their opinions and collect feedback from them.
You should also digest this fact that online reputation takes time to build and is not instantaneous. Also, it takes only a second to destroy it.