We all know what a reputation is for us personally. Knowing someone’s reputation can influence your opinion before you even meet them. This is the same for businesses and brands. Every business has a reputation and every business needs reputation management.
First of all, what is reputation management?
Reputation management is the effort to influence what and how people think of a business, brand, or person. While you cannot control what people think, you can control (to a certain degree) what they see about your business.
We’ve talked a lot in previous blogs about how consumers are turning to social media and influencers more and more when making purchasing decisions. A business’s reputation is another important factor that consumers take into account when buying something. It is easier than ever to find out information about a brand online: the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is why it is crucial to monitor your reputation no matter how big or small your business.
How can you manage your online reputation?
If you haven’t already, start by Googling your business and see what comes up. It’s a good idea to do this regularly. If you find any negative reviews or blog posts, you may want to respond to them or address it internally to fix a problem. Your response will depend on the situation.
Now it’s time to focus on the things you can control: websites, blogs, social media, etc. Create positive content that reflects your brand and business. If you are unsure what your brand is trying to convey, this is an important area you should be working on!
It’s also important to make sure you are responding to reviews, comments, and messages. If someone had a poor experience with your business, respond to their comment or message them privately to get more information. If someone is outright lying about your business in a review, there are steps you can take to have it removed.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet
Examples of good (and bad) reputation management
No matter what you do, sometimes customers are having a bad day and looking for something to complain about. Or maybe one of your employees was having an off day. There are companies that do a really good job of handling complaints. Nike has a dedicated Twitter account called Team Nike that responds to customers in near-real time.
One really fun example of a company taking a negative and turning it into a positive is Snowbird, a ski resort. They took negative reviews and used them as a marketing campaign to target experienced skiers.
We have all seen examples play out of a company tanking its reputation with a single social media post. Some recent examples include Burger King’s misfired attempt on International Women’s Day. While they were trying to bring attention to their new program encouraging women to become chefs, it missed the mark.
Southwest Airlines had to endure a lot of negative press when one of its engines blew up on a flight. Obviously, large companies like Burger King and Southwest Airlines can withstand hits to their reputation easier than smaller companies, but really negative press can take down any company if they are not prepared to deal with it.
Something to keep in mind: There is a phenomenon dubbed “the Streisand effect” where attempting to suppress something causes it to become an even bigger deal. This is why it’s important to evaluate the situation before responding. One very famous recent example of this is the Beyonce photos that were shared on Buzzfeed. Her PR team attempted to have the photos removed which caused them to go viral on the Internet.
How can we help?
Our team at Alyssa Gay Consulting provides reputation management services to all of our clients. We monitor Google search results and respond to reviews and comments. We will also come up with a crisis plan to deal with negative situations.
If you are still figuring out what exactly your brand is trying to convey, we can also help you with that. In fact, branding is something we love doing! Contact us to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation call.