Reputation is something extremely fragile. You work hard to gain it, and with one single mistake you can lose it. It was hard enough for business owners to build a solid reputation for their brands before the digital era. Now disgruntled customers have a powerful and dangerous loudspeaker to voice their complaints: the social media.
The evolution of people’s faith in social media and online reviews before buying from a company is staggering. Even way back in 2014 88% of consumers said they would search on the internet to establish a company’s reputation, while 77% of them would read up to 10 reviews before they made up their mind to trust a business or not.
To counteract this trend, companies have devised a system to help consumers find the truth about the reputation of their brands: reputation marketing. Reputation marketing means taking all the testimonials, 5-star reviews and positive brand mentions, and using them in marketing messages.
How Reputation Marketing Works
When people search for your brand name, they will get local listings maintained by Google and social media pages among the first results. This is where they get the gist about your business: how many stars, how many positive reviews and how many complaints.
Whenever they see unsolved complaints, or fuming reviews about refund refusals and poor customer service, they will no longer bother going to your website. Their mind is made up – they won’t do business with you.
On the other hand, if they see that you take every complaint seriously, you reply to negative reviews and try to make good any potential dissatisfaction, they are willing to hear more about your business.
Managing Your Reputation Is the Only Way
Being great at reputation marketing requires a little effort of imagination: put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. Whatever they read about you from other customers will form their opinion. And this is why you must do your best to collect all those positive product reviews and social media comments and promote them. Thus, when your brand name is put in the Google search bar, they appear among the top results.
How to Effectively Run a Reputation Marketing Campaign
It is not an easy job, but it is not optional – you have to work every day and maintain the reputation of your business in the online medium. Here is how you do it:
- Monitor Brand Mentions
Your customers leave reviews on various websites and forums, not only your website and social media page. They may go to Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare or other places where people leave product and service reviews.
This is why you need to use specialized tools for online brand mentions, such as Social Mention and Hootsuite, to keep track of all instances when your brand name is mentioned.
- Create a System for Dealing with Complaints
When you were a child, your mother would always warn you not to discuss embarrassing family matters in public. And this wise advice is also valid for your business. You need to create a system in which you deal with online complaints away from public forums and the social media.
For instance, you can send a public message to a disgruntled customer asking them to send you a detailed presentation of their complaint in an email.
- Collect and Use All Positive Reviews
Collecting positive reviews is easy – the tricky part is obtaining the author’s consent to use them in your marketing materials and on your website. The best practice in this sense is simple: always obtain the author’s written consent before using their review in any way.
Thus, reputation marketing is the most effective way in which you can make the most of your good reputation and customers’ reviews to attract new customers and make them trust your company.