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The Power of Reputation Management

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When you are searching for a new restaurant to try or a new product to buy, what influences your decision? Is it the pictures on the website and the product descriptions? Or is it the reviews left by other customers who’ve tried the product?

Most people would say the latter. Customer reviews are extremely impactful in the buying decisions of consumers. People are more apt to trust the words of other people in their position, than what they are hearing directly from a business.

This is why putting and upholding a reputation management plan is extremely important.  Reputation Management is not only a way to improve your company’s public opinion, but it’s also a way to showcase that you care about your customers and their insight.

In this blog, RSA will dive into the importance of Reputation Management and share some easy ways you can maintain a comprehensive Reputation Management plan.

What is Reputation Management?

Reputation Management is the effort to influence what and how people think of a brand or person. You cannot control the way a person thinks, but you can control what they see online, and often times what we see has a great influence on our thoughts and opinions. Reputation Management goes hand-in-hand with your sales and marketing efforts because it is difficult to sell a product that people don’t trust or believe in.

For example, remember in 2017 when officers forcefully removed a passenger from a United Airlines flight? Video of the incident went viral and the internet was flooded with comments from people sharing similar, negative experiences involving United Airlines. With a permanently damaged reputation, United Airlines lost nearly a billion dollars in market value following the incident.

United Airlines didn’t have much to say for themselves in the wake of this incident, which swayed negative public opinion even more. Although United Airlines couldn’t stop the situation from happening, if they had a strategic Reputation Management plan in place they could have found a way to minimize the damage to their brand.

Why is Reputation Management important?

No matter what products or services you offer, your brand is only as good as your reputation. Maintaining a comprehensive Reputation Management plan is a way to create a professional business image and build trust with new and existing customers.  One of the most effective ways to build trust with customers is through online reviews and word-of-mouth. Reputation Management is one of the easiest ways to garner a healthy image online and gain trust and credibility with customers. When people buy your products it’s because they trust you and customers who trust you are more likely to become returning customers.

Reputation Management is also a great tool to evaluate how your company is performing. For example, if you are constantly getting negative reviews about a certain product you sell, maybe it is time to look into getting rid of it or replacing it with something else. On the other hand, if one of your employees is constantly receiving poor reviews from customers, maybe it is time to reevaluate their customer service and work ethic. Not only is Reputation Management important for improving your brand image, but it is also a great way to identify areas within your company that need to be fixed or changed.

How does Reputation Management Work?

There is a wide variety of tasks that go into creating a comprehensive Reputation Management plan. If your company has recently suffered a scandal or some negative press, improving your reputation may be more difficult. However, we are going to discuss some of the more common and easy ways you can begin to rebuild your online reputation and gain back trust with your customers.

One of the most effective and easy ways to maintain and improve your online reputation is through online reviews. Leaving reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and more, are some of the most common ways people leave their opinions about a business, and in turn, is one of the most common ways customers decide which brand to support or purchase from.

One of the best things a business can do is to make sure to react to all reviews left about your business. If you receive a nice review, that’s great! Comment back letting them know how much you appreciate their kind words, and encourage them to visit again soon. If you receive a negative review, now is the time to show others that you listen and care about the needs of your customers. Commenting back to apologize, provide help, and be transparent about how you are fixing the issue can go a long way. Not only does it show you care about your customers’ opinions, but also that you are dedicated to providing them with the best service and products.

A social media campaign is another great way to improve your public opinion. Sharing posts about your team, your company culture, staff training, and more, are a great way to show that you work hard to provide great service. In addition, reach out to your followers and ask them to leave you a review. Getting a few positive reviews will bring up your overall ranking and help improve public opinion.

To be totally honest, we could go on forever about the importance of Reputation Management and ways you can improve public opinion and build trust, but there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. The most important thing to remember is that even if you make mistakes, the most important thing is you acknowledge them and show you are working to be better in the future. People love honesty and transparency and a company willing to recognize their faults and move on from them shows authenticity and respect for their customers. 

If your company is struggling to build a positive public opinion, give Robert Sharp & Associates a call at (605)341-5226. As a full-service marketing agency, our team can come up with a comprehensive strategy to improve your rankings online and build back trust with your customers.

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