Beyond SEO – New Brand Management Strategies for 2016

In the constantly evolving world of the internet, it’s not enough to find one brand management strategy that works. Anyone who wants to stay at the cutting edge of online marketing will find they have to update their strategy on a yearly basis. A fresh approach will give your company the oomph it needs to outrank competitors and create brands that resonates with consumers.

In the past, improving search rankings through SEO tactics has been one of the most important elements of online reputation and brand management. It still is one of the major elements we stress at ReputationDefender. Nothing is worse for a brand than having a customer search your name and see a page full of negative reviews or a defamatory articles. However, in order to create a really positive image you’ll need to do more than have a professional-looking search page for your brand. Customers are increasingly finding more sophisticated ways to conduct research on the internet. They’ll want to get to know you on a personal level as well as find out exactly what past clients think of their experience with your company.

4 Ways to bring your brand management ORM up-to-date

  • Social Media – long seen as a way for friends to interact online, in the past few years social media sites have also become an important platform for clients to learn more about the business and services they use. To make the most of this opportunity, you’ll need to maintain an active profile on major sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others. Regularly posting updates and reactions can help to create positive group energy and make your clients feel connected, with you and with other customers. A large following on these sites will help to reduce the impact of any negative comments that may appear.
  • Mentions – smaller businesses sometimes struggle to get a detailed article in a major publication. A two-line tweet from a well-known brand can accomplish the same goal with a lot less work. It will help define your brand as an authority in the field.
  • Reviews – research shows that 67 percent of consumers choose goods and services based on online reviews. This can sometimes be problematic for businesses since most people don’t think to leave a review until they’ve had a negative experience. Fake reviews are easy to spot and often do more damage than good. On the other hand, it’s OK to ask your customers to write genuine reviews as long as it’s done tactfully. Add a one line tag on the end of a blog post or send out a direct request linked to a form that’s easy to fill out in a few minutes. People who are really happy with your services will be eager to promote you.
  • User generated contact – once you’ve created a good profile, you can go beyond reviews to find even more fun and interesting ways to create user generated content. Use your social media pages to encourage users to post pictures and testimonials about how they use your product. Choose a winner and send out prizes to make it more interesting. The more positive content you have that is really user generated, the more credible and trustworthy your brand will appear to new clients and potential customers.

Want to learn more? Contact us today to find out how our ReputationDefender Kickstarter package can get your new business off to the right start:

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609

6 Ways to Reduce Negative Comments About Your Business

Public relations crises happen. It’s not possible to please everyone all the time and every business will eventually face someone who is unhappy. Unfortunately many disgruntled customers voice their feelings in a manner that can threaten to damage the company’s reputation permanently, including publishing negative comments online.

There are ways to reduce the number of dissatisfied clients and negative comments in any business. Basically, providing good service will make your customers happy and keep negative publicity from becoming an endemic problem. Additionally, how you respond to criticism can decide whether it turns into a major or a minor issue. This isn’t a substitute for the kind of online reputation management we do at ReputationDefender ®, but it will make it much easier to get your online publicity back on track with minimal effort.

Here are six specific ways to increase client satisfaction.

  • Respond in a timely manner

    The majority of customer complaints are due to slow response times. If a client sends an email and three days later they haven’t heard from you, they’re likely to take to the internet in frustration. You can avoid this by setting clear guidelines for response times. 24-48 hours is appropriate depending on your email volume, but make sure this is clearly indicated next to your contact information. A simple response indicating the email is being processed can help let customers know they are a priority. On social media, customers expect an even quicker answer. 1 hour to be exact.

  • Practice good communication

    Responding to your customer’s needs will facilitate every type of interaction. This includes effective communication, whether it’s online or in person. Good listening is a skill that is typically thought of in terms or personal relationships, but it’s just as necessary in a business setting. Active listening will help to build trust by making the client feel you care. You’ll also be able to tailor your services more specifically to their needs. Building a strong communication platform at the beginning of the relationship will make it easier to handle difficult issues as the work progresses.

  • Use every day language

    The client enlisted your services in a specialist area because they lack this expertise themselves. If you use jargon and acronyms specific to your field, they’ll likely feel confused about what you really mean. Speaking plain English whenever possible will help the client understand what you are doing. It’s important to sound knowledgeable, but avoid talking down to a client. Remember they are also an expert in their own field.

  • Meet deadlines

    There’s really no good reason for missing a deadline after the fact. If the timeline for resolving an issue becomes impossible, this should be communicated to a client well beforehand. Describe what happened that made the work take longer and set a more reasonable deadline.

  • Take responsibility

    Blaming a specific employee or team won’t clear your company’s reputation since you hired and trained these people. It’s better to present a united front and let the company as a whole take responsibility for the issue. A general statement indicating that internal changes are being made to address the issue is appropriate, but clients don’t need to know the specifics of who’s at fault.

  • Don’t get angry at negative comments

    Your business is personal but keeping a cool head is essential. If a customer is posting negative comments to simply antagonise you, it is better to not take the bait. Social media fails and wins have massive potential to go viral so proceed carefully. If you have done all you can and feel that you aren’t getting anywhere in your attempts to make amends, avoid escalation by disengaging from the argument.

    You can now read Reputation Defender’s new blog post on the importance of online reviews and learn how positive online feedback can help to promote your business.

In the middle of a reputation crisis? Call us:

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609

5 Easy Steps to Handling Any PR Crisis

A PR Crisis can take all different forms, whether it’s a glitch in your service, an ill-timed comment or another type of scandal. In the current internet climate, it only takes a small misstep to create a big online storm of negative comments. A drop in online reputation quickly turns into a drop in profits and may even start the company on a downward spiral.

How you react to a PR Crisis will make a difference

But this doesn’t have to happen. As we know at Reputation Defender, there is an art to handling online criticism which can minimize the damage and make a large controversy forgettable. Here are five steps to easing your way through any type of PR Crisis.

  • Take time to process what has happened – a knee-jerk reaction will only make the situation worse and can even create negative publicity that will be remembered for a long time. It is best to post a neutral response which clearly states you are aware of the problem and are investigating the situation. This will show you are taking the time to find the root of the issue.
  • Put a clear message and style into your reaction – responding to negative comments on the internet needs the perfect touch of honesty, humor and sympathy. If comments are defamatory or offensive, it’s generally advisable to avoid responding, but there have been a few exceptions to this rule. In 2012, O2 handled a PR crisis after a service cut and actually increased their favorability rating with personal tweets that showed they understood their customer’s frustration. Making light of the situation can be helpful, but an ill-timed joke is worse than none, so if you’re not sure it’s better to refrain. Stick with a sincere apology and a promise that you are doing everything you can to address the situation.
  • Share the result of your investigation – after establishing a clear PR strategy update your clients with the details of what caused the problem. Apologize for any wrong-doing, even if it was minor. Keep the message as sincere as possible and don’t assign blame to someone else.
  • Fix what went wrong – along with the explanation your customers will want to hear about what you plan on doing to fix the problem. Make sure this plan is more than just a PR stunt. If you don’t follow through with what you say or if the same problem occurs a few weeks later, the issue will only become larger. PR is about what your customers think of you, but it’s impossible to maintain a positive reputation without some level of truth. Look at the PR crisis as a chance to improve so this particular issue doesn’t happen again.
  • Make a plan – don’t wait until there is a PR crisis to decide on your strategy. Even among small to midsize businesses, fifteen percent have already experienced an online reputation crisis of some kind. It’s safe to assume you will do so over the course of your business. Our experts at Reputation Defender can help you be proactive about managing your online reputation before it becomes an issue. Contact us today to find out how:

    E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com               Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

    Image courtesy of ProtoplasmaKid / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0