Calling it “online reputation” really is redundant. Your online reputation simply is your reputation online. In the digital era, nothing is protecting you from criticism anymore. You need reputation management. This is good from a freedom of speech perspective; bad if your company has been defamed and attacked.
To conclude, ten practical tips that sum up what we have covered in this guide. The world of brand reputation will change in the coming years, but following these simple “commandments” definitely will benefit you and your brand:
- Become well respected
According to several business experts, trust is a perishable asset and it is hard to gain. Making people respect you and your work is more important than any other online reputation management commandment.
- Be radically transparent
After years of hiding critics, Mc Donald’s publicly forced egg suppliers to raise hens’ living standards according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals request.
Dear whoever runs Apple now, how about inventing an iPhone with a battery that lasts longer than half an hour?! You’re absolute morons.
Apart from the aforementioned reasons to monitor your online reputation, social media monitoring also can bring business! These days, lots of people ask questions via Twitter and Facebook because they are evaluating whether or not they should buy from you.
- React quickly and politely
In case of a customer complaint via Twitter, for example, a prompt and simple “We are aware of the problem. We are working on it and will get back to you as soon as possible.” is better than a late reply with more information.
- Address criticism
In 2009, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s WSJ op-ed on Obama healthcare reform caused a controversy among WF customers. Two days later, the company provided a response statement recognizing there were “many opinions on this issue, including inside our own company” and invited people to share their opinion on the matter.
- Treat your Google page 1 as your business card
First impressions count, and we do judge many books by their cover. If the words “scam” and “rip off” are associated with your brand, then that is something you should worry about.
- Understand your detractors
Criticism can be the chance to learn more about your audience and craft a better message in the future. Motrin’s controversial “baby wearing moms” commercials parked a lot of criticism. It did not come from competitors or illegitimate attackers, but from people in Motrin’s target audience who felt offended by their promotional content.
- Attack your illegitimate attackers
Sometimes we simply have to fight illegal behavior. In 2009, Domino’s Pizza employees who posted disgusting videos of themselves playing with food were fired and arrested. Another example is people who post false information on the internet. Sometimes, if you don’t sue them, they might do it again.
- Learn from your mistakes
Sony certainly learned a reputation management lesson back in 2005. The company placed copy protection (XCD) on its CDs which created computer vulnerabilities that malware could exploit. Instead of being upfront about their mistake, Sony stonewalled criticism and lost millions in class-action lawsuits.
If your online reputation management efforts are not enough to protect or restore your brand image, you have the choice to request help from a professional.