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Online Reputation Management Tips that can Save Your Brand Image

The bigger the brand, the more seriously it takes its reputation. Managing reputation in the offline world is easier than on the web. Brands that talk in billions can cover an entire city in billboard ads, compelling everyone to take notice of their products. Even a shady product can get sold if backed by aggressive marketing. 

But such blatant manipulation is likely to be ineffective on the internet.

In fact, it may backfire. Internet, and more specifically social media is open. Users can interact freely and openly with each other. Some brands fear this openness as they encourage product promotions using dubious means, which are never transparent.

Reputation damage

Damaged reputation spells disaster for a brand. A case in hand is the ongoing smearing campaign against KFC on social media. The company was accused of serving fried rat to a customer. The newest lab reports, however, suggests there was no truth in the accusation as the DNA test has revealed the food served was chicken, not a rat.

Despite KFC’s best efforts to wipe its slate clean, its sale over the last couple of weeks has plummeted. Such is the importance of managing reputation online. If it’s damaged, a brand will have a really hard time earning it back.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

The idiom rings a bell. A clean image can give a brand an edge, and an unclean image can tarnish its prospect. The brand may boast about following business ethics and allocating a sizable amount to its CSR fund. But someone pointing his accusing finger at the brand can smudge its clean image overnight.

The moral; keeping your intention clean is not enough, you need to keep your approach clean too.

Search and find

The internet is vast, and you never know what its cracks and crevices have in store for your campaign. Since the negative comments are detrimental to your brand image, you need to steer your campaign totally clear of them.

To handle the negative comments online, first you need to search and find them. The search engines can come to your rescue. You can put derogatory words after your brand name in the search box and then press “Enter.” For example, if your brand’s name is “ABC Enterprise”, your search query could be “ABC+Enterprise+bad+service.”

Consumer review sites

Another convenient way to search negative comments is visit sites where users post brand and product reviews. Upon finding any negative review, the marketer can post in reply to it describing the positive aspects of a product.

By using consumer review sites, a marketer can paint a positive picture of a brand. He can also create and deepen a connection with the consumers. The majority, who frequent the review sites are pissed consumers. If the marketer can cool them down, he can restrict the flow of animosity towards a brand.

Online monitoring tools

There are tools galore that enable you monitor your brand’s online reputation. Google’s Me on the Web is one such tool. It tracks the mentions about a particular company and the employees, who work in that company. The tool has a very simple interface, which allows online marketers to use it with ease. They just need a Google account to sign up.

IceRocket is among the best free tools that help you pinpoint negative comments or feedback against you. The tool has been endorsed by social marketers for its smooth interface and a broad range of filter options. Just type the search term(s) in the search box and select a channel such as Facebook, Twitter or a blog, and you are good to go.

There are plenty other tools and they help to facilitate monitoring online reputation.  Get familiar with them to bring your campaign the best results.

Build a vlog

Video blogs, known as vlogs can function as a leverage for online reputation management. A brand can patch up to its consumers and explain why the product/service wasn’t up to the snuff. Since presented in audio-visual format, users will be more receptive to a vlog, than a mere blog or an apology statement.

A robust approach

In a nutshell, managing online reputation of a brand requires marketers to be proactive. They need to search and find the negative feedback themselves and come up with ways to lessen their impact on prospective consumers. Unless they adopt a robust and an inclusive approach, they won’t be successful in this endeavor.

Image Courtesy:

Adam Frankel

Adam Frankel is President and CEO of Frankel Interactive, a leading South Florida digital agency specializing in custom websites development, ecommerce development and digital marketing. For over 15 years he's been working with businesses and government agencies to bring their organizations online in order to build brand awareness, communicate with stakeholders, generate leads and drive sales. His belief is that all businesses need to keep up with technological trends including the continual transition from desktop to mobile, search engine algorithms changes, and social media engagement. His goal is to help them implement strategies to successfully compete in an ever crowding digital marketplace. When he isn't touting the benefits of web-based marketing, he enjoys fishing and spending time on the waters surrounding Miami with family and friends.

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