Brand reputation management consists of many things. But in a world where 4.62 billion people use social media, maintaining a positive image of your business online is one of the top priorities.
However, staying on top of your communications strategy might be a bit daunting, especially if you offer an omnichannel experience. That’s why we’ve prepared a marketing strategy with tips you can follow to improve and maintain your brand reputation online.
What is online brand reputation?
Online reputation is the image of your brand among internet customers. It is based on the content they see about your company on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, forums, articles, Amazon reviews, reactions, comments, etc.
Social media is one of the best digital spaces to build a brand reputation—as well as to lose it.
An army of professionals test new strategies and tools daily to form a positive brand image. For example:
- Support agents who assist consumers 24/7. To provide the fastest possible answers, they also launch FAQ chatbots with tools like HelpCrunch, Intercom, etc.
- Marketers/PR pros who post content, answer comments, and monitor what people and competitors are saying about a brand using platforms like Agility PR Solutions, Buffer, etc.
And for good reason: Having an excellent online reputation influences your company’s visibility and credibility.
Simply put, every piece of content you or other people publish online about your brand helps to find and attract potential clients and impacts your revenue. After all, customers will pay 22% more for certain products if the company has a good reputation.
Do you want proof? Continue reading 👇
How does social media management contribute to brand reputation?
For many people, social media is their go-to source of information. In addition to consuming content, they also produce it. Everything from professional publications, life experiences, or personal opinions mentioning your brand can occur.
The critical point here is in what manner they do it. Below is a positive example of audience feedback.
A customer of Chewy, the pet food shop, published a post on Facebook. The customer asked the store if he could return purchased dog food because his dog had passed away. On top of the immediate refund, Chewy sent the customer a card and an oil painting of his dog.
Such a gift touched the customer, so he posted about his experience on Facebook. As of today, this post has found a spot in 350,000 people’s hearts, received 25,000 comments, and been shared 207,000 times.
However, feedback from satisfied customers is not the only thing you’ll find on social media. Take a look at the JetBlue case below. Their customer posted a tweet about his awful experience:
It appeared in the Twitter feed of @JetBlue, where their over 1.8 million followers could see it.
But agitated customers aren’t the only source of the negative impact on your brand’s reputation on social networks. In addition, there are fake accounts that can cause companies a vast amount of embarrassment. Take the example of the Pepsi and Nestle cases on Twitter. After Elon Musk’s update of the criteria for acquiring a verified account, they were falsely represented by fake accounts.
These posts weren’t helpful for a positive brand image. But the audience loved this dark humor more than genuine corporate account posts. These fake accounts have been taken down, but before then, the original @PEPICO post received 14.8k (plus 88.9k likes for its screenshot) and @NestleDeathCult received over 44.9k likes.
It could be the most significant PR failure on social media in this article… if not for Burger King’s creativity on International Women’s Day:
There were attempts to explain the post by announcing their new scholarship program for women. But the scandal was unstoppable.
Usually, brand managers would be happy to see over 140,000 brand mentions. But not that day.
The scandal came eventually to naught when brand managers admitted the mistake and deleted that post.
Want to avoid getting into such situations? We have solutions for your content marketing strategy that protects your reputation. Continue reading 👇
How to protect your reputation on social media?
As you can see, even big businesses have brand reputation cases and these examples all serve as a good lesson for businesses to be more proactive in protecting brand reputation.
We analyzed the mistakes of other companies and collected this list of the best practices on how not to get into similar trouble.
#1 Create a brand social media policy. These rules will help your marketers publish content that meets your brand image and aligns with your audience’s values. Ideally, it should include the following:
- Brand’s tone of voice and word choice guidelines.
- Topics that should never be discussed on social or in public.
- Business data your teammates should keep confidential.
- Rules of engaging with third-party content that meets copyright laws.
- Management of unauthorized and personal team accounts.
#2 Safeguard your passwords and other sensitive data. Some companies manually provide team members with passwords and logins to brand social media accounts with the help of project management tools. But it is tough to change that data each time somebody quits.
Others use specialized platforms for this task. Plus, it allows you to control teammates’ posting permission, so there is no chance just anyone can post content that affects your brand’s reputation. Anyway, it’s a good idea to check out a security guide before changing your password.
#3 Check your digital footprint (and clean it up.) Audit old profiles and change privacy settings or deactivate those that don’t meet your current image. If you still notice undesired content after this, check Google Help Center solutions.
#4 Have an account with a “verified” label on all major social media platforms. Link them between each other and your website.
#5 Keep an eye on what people say about your brand. There are specialized solutions to monitor brand mentions, fake profiles, and counterfeits on social media platforms. Take advantage of tools and services like Agility PR Solutions.
These tips help. But, unfortunately, life happens, and there is no 100% security guarantee. So it is vital to have a plan to respond a reputation failure.
4 steps to improve your reputation on social media
Imagine that your reputation is compromised, and you must save the situation as soon as possible. What to do?
- Stop and realize the core reason for the problem. In addition to your marketing team, consult your PR and legal managers on how to respond.
- Admit your mistake and acknowledge how you’ve impacted people. Explain the next steps you will take to resolve the issue.
- Provide a means of communication for audience members who would like to continue the conversation offline.
- Analyze the mistakes to find out how to prevent such an issue in the future. Then, update your proactive brand reputation-policy guidelines.
When the dust settles, you may consider investing in a new marketing campaign showcasing your product’s value and benefits (so long as it appropriate). It will help you to push down the not-so-pleasant content regarding your brand.
Social media engagement is more than just responding to queries. It would be best if you created a feeling that a brand cares about customers and their opinions.
By adopting the tips above, you can take control of the conversation and steer the negative experience into a positive one. The critic will focus less on the negative and more on the positive, turning them into your most vigorous brand champion.