Over 60 percent of customers decide not to avail the services of a given company if it has a plethora of negative reviews. Eighty-five percent of the customers hold such reviews to be as important as personal recommendations.
Social media is a powerful tool. What people are saying about your brand on the platform can govern what your brand image is and how well your product will sell in the market. This is because, now, compared to conventional advertising, influencer and word-of-mouth are much more crucial in driving sales.
This is why you must conduct reputation management on social media.
What is reputation management?
Online reputation management is all the effort your company makes to alter and influence consumer perception about your brand on social media and other online platforms. In other words, you control what people think of your brand when they see it online. This image is a part of your overall brand image.
While there was a time when the reputation of a brand was dependent on the brand image you relayed through indirect and direct marketing, those days are long gone. Now, it is based on what artificial intelligence, in the form of social media and search engines, say about you.
The role of social media
Out of the 4.2 billion global internet users, 3.397 billion people are present on social media. This allows businesses to address the masses cost-effectively. However, this is not the only thing that social media is used for, as far as businesses are concerned.
Social media is also a platform which allows customers to communicate their feelings about a brand, engage with it and form their perceptions about the said brand’s image. This makes social media one of the most powerful tools in building brand reputation. Managing reputation online doesn’t just have to be about addressing negative reviews or acknowledging positive ones. Instead, you must also build your reputation from the ground using the platform.
How can you do so? Simple! All you need to do is create an online presence on all the leading social media platforms. To do so, you must post engaging content that is relevant and relatable to your target audience. You must portray your brand to be credible, expert and transparent. This helps in building the right image. Dealing with feedback and customer reviews then helps in maintaining and strengthening the image. Remember, the stronger your reputation is, the easier it would be to mitigate undesirable experiences of customers.
Critical elements of online reputation management
Social media plays a role in delivering various elements of reputation management. The elements include the following:
You can’t expect social media to drive your reputation unless your brand already has substance. For instance, let’s say your product is subpar. You can’t then expect to have a positive presence online to make up for your low-quality product. Therefore, before you begin relying on your online presence to improve the reputation of the company, make sure you are providing a quality product to your customers.
This is the foundation that you need before you begin shaping your online image. Be transparent about your product on the forum. Don’t try to exaggerate.
- Emotional Appeal
When dealing with negative feedback online, you might be tempted to use facts and figures to put forth your side of the story. However, you are forgetting one key element, i.e. the significance of emotional appeal.
You can find brands online that offer a similar type of services. However, some have a better reputation. A more in-depth look into them will reveal that such brands tend to have an emotional connect with their audience. This leads to high brand resonance, that instills loyalty. Therefore, rather than taking the rational approach to marketing, make sure to use emotional appeal to appear “human.” Your brand needs a pleasant personality, and emotional elements can help deliver it.
- Workplace environment
Employer branding is just as much a part of reputation management as external branding. You must highlight your workplace environment using your social media. Why? Well, customers of today are not just concerned about the products they use. They want to invest in a company that is socially responsible and ethical. Showing how well your care for your employees and what a great workplace you provide them with is an excellent way to build a positive reputation.
Some measures you can take to incorporate your work environment in your social media is by:
- Highlighting any improvements, you make to your policies
- Post about fun and memorable events you sponsor for your employees
- Show volunteer efforts your employees do as part of the organization
- Illustrate the accomplishments of your employees outside of work
- Financial Performance
This is quite a tricky element to promote on your social media. This is because most people perceive anything related to finance to be boring. However, financial performance is a great way to showcase your success in good times. For instance, if you have had a profitable year, you can boast about it subtly on your social media.
This will work wonders for your brand. This is because of people like being associated with successful companies. While it may not be connected, but customers do perceive strong financial performance to be indicators of the quality of the product.
- Social responsibility
A lot of customers now prefer socially responsible brands. We live in a world where masses are aware of how their acts and consumption patterns are wreaking havoc for the environment. In a bid to be sustainable, they might choose companies that make social responsibility their priority.
This is another element of reputation that can be easily managed via social media. Post about your CSR activities. Show your potential and current customers about the efforts you are taking to be sustainable. All of this will help build the reputation you need to thrive.
Understand the importance of social media. Use it to shape a positive image of your brand and watch how it positively affects your sales.
About the Author:
Alma Causey is a Freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. She writes about tech education and health related issues. Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover.