When you’re making a big purchase or business deal, the first thing you probably do is research it online. Whether you’re seeking information about different products on the market, or researching a particular brand, business or person you plan on doing business with, the process of researching online is now a ubiquitous part of making big purchases for most consumers.
What will customers discover about your brand when they take part in this process?
Try it now! When you search for your brand or your name, what do you find on Google? Is it your website? Your social media pages? PRs you’ve released? Do you find reviews or articles that mention your business? Are they positive or negative? All of these are elements of your brand presence. It’s up to you to manage your online reputation and ensure that customers find the brand image you want them to experience.
What Should People Find When They Search For Your Brand?
The most crucial part of managing your brand reputation is ensuring you have online marketing fundamentals in place. Make information about your brand readily available. It should be easy for customers to find and interact with your brand when they do a search!
Here are a few things that you want to show up when people search for your brand:
First and foremost, your website is an invaluable resource for building and managing your brand reputation online. Your website is entirely within your control. You can design the image you wish to portray and manage the content to reflect your business, products and services. Since it has many pages with relevant content, it can also help you dominate search results and block out competitors from showing up for searches of your brand.
Extra Tip! If your website URL is different than your brand name, make sure your website is well optimized for your brand name, and for what people will be researching about your business.
Social media is one of the best ways for your brand to interact with customers who have questions or want to leave feedback on your brand. You have an opportunity to respond to customers and help them with any questions they may have about your products or services.
Make sure you set up and actively manage social media accounts for your business. Not only will your profiles rank organically, they will also allow you to manage interactions with your brand – you’re able to respond to questions, comments, reviews and anything else people post on your feeds.
Reputable Industry Sites
Consumers want to see your brand from an third party perspective. There’s an assumption that outside sources are more neutral, and therefore, more trustworthy. Develop a relationship with popular blogs or directories in your industry, in order to offer another resource for customers to find you. For example, Homestars.com and EiEiHome.com are well-recognized and trusted industry sites for home contractors. If you’re a plumber, having your Homestars and EiEiHome listings pop up on search results is a great way to manage how your brand ranks on search engines.
Third Party Reviews
Google Reviews and Yelp are the most popular review aggregators; they have listings for businesses in every industry under the sun. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on these sites. Why? Consumers are more likely to trust feedback that isn’t directly generated by your company (such as the testimonials on your website).
Reviews on social media (such as Facebook) are also viewed as more trustworthy, because they are attached to user profiles, which are not easily faked. It also allows you an added measure of control in responding to comments – you’re alerted when customers post, so you can respond swiftly, and remove untrue or offensive comments.
What Should You Do to Maintain a Positive Brand Reputation?
In some cases, you may do a search where you find unhappy or disgruntled customer reviews or negative articles about your brand. What should you do to repair this and improve your brand image online?
Respond to Reviews
We can’t stress enough how important it is to respond to reviews, both good and bad! Address reviews quickly, ask for feedback, and most importantly listen to the customer! The best thing you can do is solve their problems – good customer service is worth its weight in gold! Not only will you transform a negative review into a positive experience, but other potential customers will see your response, and know that your customer response team will be there for them, too!
Tell the truth about your brand and what you do – customers will appreciate that you’re upfront and respect your honesty. If you have a rating or review system on your website that only shows 5-star reviews and hides lower reviews, it might actually hurt your brand’s integrity. Hiding customer feedback only leads to disappointed customers and distrust of your brand. Studies show that consumers think more highly of businesses that include both positive and negative ratings, and are more likely to become customers.
Create and Curate Fresh Content
Updating your company website frequently will push any negative search results down in search rankings. Post relevant content, such as blog posts, how-to videos, inside-my-business videos, and infographics to keep your brand fresh, and drive up your results. Regularly posted content also offers visitors a reason to come back if they aren’t quite ready to purchase yet!
Create and Distribute PRs
Announce news that you’re proud of with press releases. PRs are a great way to disseminate important news about your business, while also creating content that will rank your brand on search engines, and link back to your website.
In the digital age, consumers are savvy about making connections with brands and using the Internet as a research tool to find out more about them. As a business, take time to build an online brand presence that reflects the image you want your target market to find, and engage with customers online in a productive and transparent way. Doing so will lead to a positive atmosphere for both your brand and your customers.
Remember, there is no quick fix for reputation management! It’s a long-term process that takes effort as well as good, consistent customer service on your part. If you happen to come across a solution that promises an immediate fix, it’s probably too good to be true!
Learn more about how Eden can help your brand flourish online. Contact us or call 1-800-844-0106 today to set up a consultation.