Power to the people!
In the age of digital marketing this statement speaks volumes to the level of control individual consumers have over the success of particular businesses and brands.
Research shows consumers continue to heavily rely on peer reviews when researching local businesses to engage with. In a world saturated with marketing material from traditional TV ads to mobile applications, consumers depend more upon the words their peers use when describing their specific experiences with a particular company, then how a particular company describes itself.
So what are companies and brands supposed to do when consumers have a poor experience with their products and services, and voice their negative opinions to the masses over the World Wide Web?
Why Should Anyone Care About The Bad Reviews?
Its well known that bad news travels fast! It is amazing that all the great work a company might have done over the years, might just be shadowed by one or two bad reviews embedded within search results or popular consumer directories like Yelp.
Online reviews act as word-of-mouth recommendations that either entice or push consumers away from certain products or services. Understanding that word-of-mouth is the most credible form of advertising means that companies need to respect the power of individuals online responses, as they have the ability to influence potentially thousands of other consumers over whether or not they spend their money with brand X, opposed to brand Y.
Negative Reviews: Initial Steps
The simplest way to address negative comments is to respond directly to the accusations being made by explaining what happened, and how the company is willing to fix the problem.
Brands should not try and cover it up by rebranding their messaging nor attempt to bury negative comments. At the end of the day, consumers do understand no company can satisfy the expectations of every individual they encounter. A sense of transparency and forwardness is key for coming off as more than a corporate entity that doesnt care about the individual. It also allows like-minded consumers to understand both sides of the story.
How Brands Can Monitor Their Online Reputation
Alerts and social mentions: There are different social tools like Google alerts, Yahoo alerts, and Twitter search that alert companies to any mention made of them online. You can take advantage of such tools by immediately responding to timely comments, whether they are good or bad. This type of response time puts companies more in control of the message broadcast and allows more egregious situations to be resolved sooner rather than later.
Organic Searches: Since there are a variety of social media platforms that allow reviews, it is important companies search for their own brand often to make sure that their ranking for content that supports their credibility, opposed to ranking for something more dedicate to a Ripoff Report.
Maintain Positive Online Reputation
As for particular tactics companies can use to maintain a positive online reputation, the following serve as excellent resources that allow brands to understand when consumers are speaking about them, as well as how they can respond to such experiences.
Social Media Marketing: Social media enables companies to be close to their audiences and can help build relationships with consumers that are beyond a brands immediate reach. Social platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook all provide brands with opportunities to host dialogue in controlled environments, reply to questions and reviews, and explain or apologize for any particular poor experience consumers may have.
Reviews and Testimonials: Brands can ask for reviews from their current customers on relevant sites that have highly trusted by consumers including: Google, Yahoo, and other social platforms.
Getting reviews is not as simple as it sounds when people dont get anything in return. In order to get reviews and testimonials from current clients, it is wise to offer something in return, whether it is coupons, discounts, or gifts in exchange for individual testimonials.
Join directories: Joining relevant and authoritative directories are one of the most effective ways of building brand awareness and authority online. Apart from that, directories are also another way of getting meaningful reviews for a certain brand, while helping improve local searches for a given brand.
Content Marketing: Build great content that explains the expertise of a particular company in order to win over new and lost audiences.
In addition to creating unique and in depth content for the landing pages, blogging is another important tactic to consider. Being able to publish brief articles on a regular basis that speak to the internal and external processes and views of a brand creates the opportunity for consumers to feel more compelled toward a particular message, which in turn supports conversions/transactions.
Reputation Proceeds Everything In Modern Digital Marketing
Apart from SEO, there are some offline marketing strategies that can assist the ongoing SEO campaigns including brand involvements with the local communities in different things like event sponsorships, radio talk on hot topics in your industry, business promotions and giveaways to let people experience brand products and services.
Even though SEO can help with reputation management, those bad reviews wont simply disappear from the searches. Negative reviews will only get pushed down to the bottom of the same page or to the next page. It is important to know that some bad reviews are hard to manage, simply because they come from very credible sources or authoritative sites. Companies will have to work hard in order to overshadow the negative reviews, and win back the trust from their customers.
My advice to business is that anyone can dedicate time to do all these, but if the company decides to get some assistance, it is important to get it from someone who knows what they are doing.
- Online Reputation Management Strategy: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it". Guide on how to control your online reputation, including a section of next steps with valuable links.