Managing the reputation of a brand has increasing challenges thanks to the widespread use of the internet. This “free speech” tool allows anyone to write anything they want about a business. Years ago, you may have secretly hoped that if something was written negatively about your business, it wouldn ‘t be seen by others. But now with social media outlets like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, it only takes a second to start an entire thread on why your company is less than spectacular.
This is where online reputation management comes into the picture. This type of management includes a set of actions that are done both before and after communication to protect the image of a company.
Consider this example. Company XYZ sells payment processing equipment to small merchants. They are hit with a host of negative comments and reviews from customers who felt the equipment was poor, the service was worse and the prices were unfair. Any new customers that read about Company XYZ are turned off, and the reputation for the company is damaged.
Company XYZ addresses the issues immediately by implementing reputation management tools. First, a manager from the company responds to negative threads and addresses the issues, offering effective solutions and sincere apologies. Company XYZ also needs to bring all the positive aspects of their service to the surface by posting business news, client interactions and press releases on social media sites, the company website and the company blog.
The goal is to highlight the positive aspects to Company XYZ while trying to bury the negative complaints. When doing this regularly, the company can keep on top of customer complaints while continually offering positive information about their service.
Of course, you can ‘t just make negative comments disappear, as once something is posted online, it stays online forever. As you tread through the murky waters of defending your brand – which may be harder for some companies than others – always remember these four golden rules:
- The customer is always right.
- Don ‘t argue online; it’s like yelling at a customer.
- Don ‘t take sides, especially when it comes to sensitive issues such as religion or politics.
- Everything you post online will remain online forever.
Defending your brand can feel like a full-time job, but trust us, it ‘s well worth the effort.