Think about your own buyer’s journey. Do you research the reputation and authenticity of a brand before you purchase? Do you ask your peers for their opinions? Do you get turned off by branded ads? You’re likely vetting brands just like your target consumers are vetting your brand so it should be able to put yourself in their shoes.
Combining digital PR strategies with digital marketing efforts will land you the sweet spot when it comes to your online reputation.
Your online reputation is the first impression consumers get of your brand. No pressure, but your online reputation is crucial to landing new sales.
In this post, I am going to dive into actionable strategies that you can implement easily so that your brand’s reputation is up to par.
Why Should I Care About My Brand’s Online Reputation?
In the age of the internet, consumers are doing thorough research on the brands that they will purchase from.
With so much information at their fingertips, consumers are basing brands that they align with on their online reputation and what other consumers like them think about your brand. If they don’t find positive sentiments about your brand, you’ll lose to a competitor even if your products or services are more affordable or even better than that of your competitors.
Consumers no longer rely on brands to give them the information they need to make a purchase decision. They are looking for word-of-mouth recommendations, and it’s your job to make these recommendations easy to find.
Sure it makes sense that your online reputation is important but for the data-driven marketers out there like me, let’s look at some data.
79% of consumers trust an online review about a brand as much as they trust a recommendation from their friends or family. This shows how valuable online reviews are.
And then consider the fact that 63% of consumers check out a business’s Google reviews before purchasing showing that your brand needs reviews on multiple platforms to reach a wider audience.
Lastly, 85% of consumers research a brand online before making a purchase decision showing that if your online reputation isn’t that good, your brand will quickly sink.
Audit Your Reputation Thus Far
Before making efforts to improve your online reputation, dig a bit and find what people are saying about your brand.
You can get a brand monitoring tool like Brand24 or you can go through Google and the different social media platforms manually to discover the reviews and mentions of your brand.
Once you have a feel for your current status, you can make the steps needed to power your online reputation.
Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
Some brands think that online reputation management primarily entails reacting to what people say about your brand. But in my experience, it’s better to be proactively strong and spread good mentions about your brand.
This doesn’t mean you don’t respond to negative comments. You still want to engage because other potential consumers can see a negative review and if your brand responds to it, you’ll come across more positively than an unanswered review.
How can you be proactive with your online reputation? Hop to the next section!
10 Actionable Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation
The following tips are a compilation of strategies that we implement here at Overit for our clients’ online reputation efforts.
- Write a blog. Blog content is great for establishing your brand as a thought leader in your industry. You can take it a step further and partner with like-minded publications to contribute guest posts to expand your reach.
- Be active on social media. A lot of the conversation about your brand is happening on social. Implement social listening so you don’t miss a brand mention. Engage with your audience on your channels by answering questions quickly and sharing great information with them. A lot of consumers expect customer service to happen via social media so make sure you are checking your platforms throughout the day.
- Leverage social proof. Consumers want to see how other consumers like them have benefitted from your brand. Work with happy clients to gain case studies and testimonials. Publish these pieces of social proof on your website, promote them on social and utilize them in email marketing to convey positive brand sentiment to gain new consumers.
- Share your awards. If you get an award in your industry be sure to write a blog post about your award to really leverage it. You can also put the award logo up on your website so that when consumers are doing their research, they’ll see that your brand is award-worthy.
- Constantly check in on specialized review sites in your industry. These are different for each business but, for example, if you’re a healthcare brand, you need to monitor Healthgrades. If you’re a home services brand, you need to monitor HomeAdvisor.
- Implement an incentive program to earn online reviews. Start by identifying your happiest customers and offer them things like Starbucks gift cards if they leave a review of you online. A little bit can go a long way, especially when you think about just how important these online reviews are.
- Join HARO. HARO is an online community where journalists put out PR queries. They usually ask for a quote from experts in your industry and publish them with your choice of link back. This is a great way to establish thought leadership and get in front of new audiences as a trusted brand.
- Be transparent and authentic in all online communications. If you mess up, call yourself out on it. Authenticity and transparency should shine through on your website, your social content, your blog, your email efforts, etc. Humanize your brand by sharing things like your success story and/or aligning with a greater cause.
- Partner with influencers. Influencers have an already engaged audience who actually wants to hear about your brand, they just don’t want to hear about it from you. Be sure to equip your influencers with information you want them to share about your brand but also ensure that the influencers post about their organic experience with your brand for that authenticity factor that I just talked about.
- Get help when you needed. With how important your online reputation is, you may want to consider hiring help. Brands usually hire help if their reputation is already bad and they need help with the cleanup. Other brands don’t have the internal resources to dedicate to online reputation management and find that it’s more cost-effective to hire an agency like Overit.
Final Thoughts: Next Steps to a Positive Online Reputation
If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be that online reputation management isn’t optional now that we’ve looked at consumer behavior.
Be proactive more than reactive and follow the 10 tips I just outlined and your online reputation will be positive in no time.
Want to explore working with Overit to improve your online reputation? Contact us today for a free consultation!