Reviews have always been a powerful tool and today, 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business. In fact, for restaurants, a half-star improvement on Yelp can mean the difference between a full-house and crickets.
For years, businesses have focused on reputation management. This means jumping into action when a crisis occurs and tempering the spread of news to avoid having that crisis go viral. But what about when businesses see their reputation as something that benefits rather than harms their company. This is where reputation marketing comes in.
Read on to learn more about how your reputation can be a tool that supports your business and the areas where your marketing team can enhance your company’s reputation.
What is Reputation Marketing?
Reputation marketing simply means building a positive reputation for your brand. Think about the fact that 96% of social media users talk about brands online without actually following that brand’s profile. This means that your social media content calendar does not reach the majority of people who are talking about your brand on social media.
With this type of marketing, the marketing and public relations teams focus on building the company’s reputation across multiple platforms. This way, when a consumer reads reviews prior to making a purchase, the company benefits from already having a good reputation.
Key Platforms for Building Your Business’s Reputation
Now that you understand how your reputation can be used as an asset as opposed to a liability, let’s take a look at some of the components that marketers should be using to monitor and enhance their company’s reputation. If you’re not sure where to start, Digital Beanstalk can help you design a website or suitable content calendar.
Online Business Directories
Marketers need to check that the information in online business directories is correct. At the same time, the marketing team needs to claim the company’s Google My Business and Facebook Business pages.
Besides ensuring that all the information in the business listings is correct, it’s also important that these pages are optimized based on the company’s core product or service. Keep in mind that consumers are likely to be searching a generic business category as opposed to your company’s name.
The frustrating truth is that you can’t please everyone. Fair or not, all businesses get their share of bad reviews. It’s important that someone on your team replies to every review in a positive manner. While it can be frustrating when bad reviews are outside your control, it is better for your business when other consumers see that you still reply in a professional manner.
With the proliferation of branded content, consumers are becoming distrustful of produced online content. The flipside of that is that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend.
This also means that you need to embrace the delicate conversation of asking clients to post a review of your product or service. While we suggest caution when it comes to offering an incentive, it is true that your best bet is to ask in person.
We’ve seen restaurants and hotels embrace a trend of giving customers business cards with QR codes. Customers simply scan the QR code and then they are brought to the review page on TripAdvisor or Yelp.
Firstly, if your social media team spends more time posting content than interacting with customers, they’re not doing enough to boost the company’s reputation. It’s rare that a company gets recognized for the quality of content they’re posting. In fact, it’s more common for companies to get bad press based on their posts as opposed to good press.
Instead, we see companies building a reputation for customer service excellence through their social media channels. Just look at Wendy’s. The fast-food chain made headlines in 2017 thanks to some help from a teenager who was after free nuggets for a year. Nearly 4 million retweets later and that teen is enjoying his nuggets while Wendy’s enjoys a level of publicity that money can’t buy.
Local businesses need to get on social media as well. Many consumers turn to social media to form an opinion about a business. As a local business, forget about battling the giant corporations. Focus on competing against other companies in your area through social media.
Just as you need to respond to reviews, you need to respond to customers on social media as well. Even without a social listening tool, you can search on platforms like Twitter and Instagram for mentions of your brand name. Take the time to respond to both good and bad posts about your company. Additionally, your posts on your social media platforms should be a mix of sales and non-sales posts.
Your Company’s Website
When a prospective client visits your website, they’re as close to making a purchase as they will ever be. Now is not the time to drop the ball, people. We know that websites serve different purposes, but regardless of your industry, it’s your final chance to make an impression.
In this day and age, websites must be mobile friendly. Consumers will take their business elsewhere if they’ve had a bad experience with your mobile website. Just being mobile friendly isn’t enough, though. Your website needs to be fast as well. If your website is taking more than three seconds to load, you’re losing customers.
Besides the technical aspects, your website needs to be updated constantly. A website that hasn’t been updated in a year sends just as bad of a message as one that’s been poorly designed. Both point to a company that doesn’t care about how it looks.
Build a Reputation You Can Be Proud Of
Successful marketers will embrace reputation marketing because it gives them a platform to build up the company that they’re proud of. When you spend time improving your company’s reputation, it shows prospective clients that the company is dedicated to its image and purpose.
Looking for more branding strategies for your business? Here is a complete guide on how to grow your online presence.