Branding is a powerful thing. It’s not just about advertisements or your company’s look; it’s all about people’s perceptions. You could spend years curating your brand image, only for your reputation to fall apart in seconds from one incident or social media post.
The best way to practice good reputational risk management is by taking preventative measures. Don’t wait to take action until your company is in a reputation crisis. Follow these brand reputation protection tips and learn how to mitigate reputation risk.
Building trust between you and the people interacting with your brand is essential for maintaining your reputation. Consumers care a lot about trust, and a lack of it can lead to reputation damage.
Brands can build trust with consumers by being authentic and transparent. People want to see the human side of your brand. Listen to, communicate with, and understand your customers. Even if someone gives negative feedback, it is best to respond professionally and own up to mistakes.
Boost Likeability Online
Utilizing social media is a fantastic way to interact with your brand’s audience. People want to feel like they are part of your brand, and they place a lot of value on online interaction. Here are some tips for boosting your online reputation through social media:
Provide value by giving people information that is relevant to your industry
Share stories about your brand. This can include details about how and why your brand was created, customer success stories, etc. Stories help to build an emotional attachment between a brand and customers.
Respond to positive and negative comments and feedback in a positive and professional manner.
Ask your audience and customers engaging questions. Create a conversation around your brand and provide space for people to share their thoughts.
Show people what goes on behind the scenes at your brand.
Cultivate genuine connections with others in your industry.
Share your company values, and share how you live up to those values.
Keep Things Positive
Negative content about your brand can come up from time to time. You can’t control what other people say, but you can help to mitigate potential risks to your reputation. Get ahead of negative content before it comes up by putting more positive content out there. The more good content there is, the less negative content will affect you.
Create new websites and public online profiles for you and your brand.
If you don’t already have one, create a blog, so you can publish your own content.
Identify positive, neutral, and negative keywords associated with you or your brand.
Optimize your positive content for Google search results. Most people do not look past the first page of Google. If you can push negative content to the second page, people are much less likely to even see it.
Strategically link all of your different sites and profiles to boost authority.
Respond to Comments and Reviews
Not only should you encourage customers to leave an online review, but you should also respond to them! If a customer takes the time to leave you a good review, reach out and tell them how much you appreciate it. Even with bad reviews, take the time to respond to the customer and see how you can amend the situation.
If other customers see those negative reviews with no response from you, they will think you don’t care about the customer experience.
Keep Employees and External Stakeholders Happy
Employees are everything for your business. Each team member is vital to ensuring the success of your brand, so treat them like the valuable member they are. Many employees will leave reviews on websites such as Glassdoor or Indeed about what it was like to work for your company. Reviews from these websites will greatly improve the online reputation of your brand and recruitment capabilities.
Stakeholders are also a major part of the success of your company, so you want to make sure that they are confident in their decision to support you. You can meet stakeholder expectations through open communication, anticipating their needs, and continually searching for new business opportunities. Stakeholders will also be happy if you can maintain a positive brand reputation.
Monitor Your Brand Online
Keeping an eye on what people say about you online can give you great insight into your brand’s reputation. Here are a few ways you can monitor your brand’s reputation online:
Set up a Google Alert. Simply enter a search term, such as you or your business’s name. Every time Google finds a matching search result, you will be notified through email.
Google you and your brand every so often to see what comes up on the first page.
Regularly check social media. Review comments, check posts that mention your brand, and monitor your advertisements.
Set aside time each week to see what people are saying about your brand on review websites, such as Google Reviews and Yelp.
Review and reply to comments on your blog.
Follow industry-relevant hashtags on social media to keep up to date with what people discuss in your field.
Generate Good Press
Good press is important to set up your brand image. As a trusted source, new outlets can help establish your credibility, as well as show your content to a wider audience, including potential customers. Follow these tips to generate good press:
Form relationships with publicists, journalists, and bloggers before you need press coverage.
Write your own in-house press releases that you can send to journalists.
Leverage social media to keep people up-to-date with news about your brand.
Update the privacy settings on personal social media accounts so that only friends and family can see your posts.
Be wary about what kind of personal information you share online.
Report and block any suspicious spam messages as these could lead to you getting hacked.
Disable location tracking on your phone.
Think about what you share, even if only friends and family can see it. You never know when someone is going to take a screenshot.
Do not wait until your brand is in a reputation crisis to act. It is much easier to build a positive image and take preventative measures than to clean up a mess. Following these steps in the risk management process will go a long way toward building a positive online reputation.