Why Have An Online Reputation Strategy?
An online reputation strategy is a must have for the survival of any brand with a digital footprint. Over the last 15 years Social media has changed the way consumers purchase goods, and engage with businesses online.
Audiences are more engaged and vocal than they have ever been with how brands act Politically, ethically, and environmentally.
The last few years have seen well publicised events that have eroded trust between platform owners, businesses, and their stakeholders. According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, audiences grant trust to businesses and individuals on two core areas – competence, and ethics.
Audiences want humanised social media profiles, they want to know a business inside out, and most importantly they want to know what you stand for. Building your reputation online shouldn’t be hard if you stick to your values and audience promises.
Having an online reputation strategy will help your business prepare for any abnormal events that could cause long term damage to your brand.
Post High Quality Content
Now this doesn’t mean you have to set aside an entire budget for content production. This just isn’t possible for many start-ups and small businesses.
What you can definitely do is produce content showcasing your business expertise, in a way that your audience finds useful and engaging.
Depending on the type of industry you work within, it can sometimes be difficult to come up with relatable content, and knowing your audience will very much drive the direction of your content creation.
Whether it is video content, a link to your latest blog, or a share to a third party. Keep the content interesting and within the boundaries of your audiences needs, wants, and desires. Your audience follows your business for a purpose, you are a solution to a problem they face.
Remind them of that through content showcasing your expertise, that you are approachable, and that you understand the problems they require solutions for.
Include Review Platforms in Your Online Reputation Strategy
It is a known fact that buyers influence other buyers and review platforms are the perfect place to take advantage of this.
Review platforms generally come in two flavours, the ones within Social Media Platforms, and standalone platforms such as TrustPilot. Both are highly visible on Google and your activity within review platforms can affect search result placements.
However, TrustPilot is one of the most reputable review platforms enabling businesses to have more control for both managing and challenging unfair or fake reviews.
Responding to reviews however negative is a highly visible way to show potential customers that your business does care about customer feedback and is willing to rectify any grievances.
Therefore you must be able to spend time responding to any feedback with a high level of customer service and empathy. Every word you say is now public and visible to the world to see. Expect some very unfair reviews, and others perusing compensation for relatively minor issues.
Users are beginning to become well versed in spotting fake reviews and calling out companies on this, so however tempting it is, do not purchase fake reviews or give away goods on the basis positive feedback is left.
Acquire and Share User Generated Content
Social media users that have sentiment with a brand will often share content that associates them being satisfied with a product or event.
This is an incredibly powerful piece of content that should be repurposed and used to encourage the rest of your audience that your product or service will fit their needs and expectations.
How better to do that than present someone like them who is using the product?
If you supply a product or service that your audience can showcase on social media platforms you should first think about creating a #hashtag that your audience can engage with. It is suggested to use a #Hashtag that is easy to remember, short number of characters, and that your audience can relate to. Think about also allowing users to tag you using your social media username.
Now you need a method of acquiring the content and telling your audience how they can become involved.
A giveaway, competition, or prize draw are relatively easy ways of giving your audience a prize of monetary value, in return your audience delivers user generated content of them using your product, or enjoying your service.
If giving away prizes is not within your budget you could always ask your audience for their content in return for some kudos.
Simply asking for some content in return for a share on your platform is often enough for social media users to participate. If your user generated content strategy is successful in the long term, users will continue to deliver content without regular prompts.
Behind The Scenes Material
Audiences want to know about the business they are buying from, social media has enabled brands to build an online identity that can relate to their audiences through the content they place through their profiles.
While larger organisations have the budgets to produce polished videos highlighting how their Corporate Social Responsibilities are being satisfied, smaller businesses have to think differently about how to humanise their business personality to current and prospective audiences.
Have A Social Media Crisis Plan
Now you have some action happening on your social media profiles. Having a Social Media Crisis Management Plan in place will really help with mitigating any risks you might encounter.