Online reputation management: A guide for social media marketers

7 minute read

Online reputation management: A guide for social media marketers

If you think it's only celebrities, politicians, and big brands that need to manage their online reputation, then you're wrong. Nowadays, all brands and companies should focus their efforts on online reputation management strategies to minimize negative feedback and refine their online presence.

It's incredibly convenient for people to actively voice their opinions about products and services on social media in today's digital age. If you ignore online feedback, you may not know what your audience is saying about your brand.

It's a PR nightmare to be painted as an unreliable and problematic company. Thus, social media marketers should create an online reputation management (ORM) strategy that can save them from major issues and risks in the future.

We're going to walk you through a guide of four sure-fire tactics that can help you manage the challenges of online reputation management.

Audit your online reputation

Reputation monitoring

Before implementing a strategy, you need to carry out a thorough online reputation audit. Monitoring your brand can help you to discover how people perceive your brand and whether they face any issues when using your products.

Here are some quick tips to help you conduct your brand audit:

  • Open an incognito window and run a Google search of your brand's name. Look at all the sites that are displayed on the first page of the results.
  • Identify whether any Google My Business-related aspects are shown on the page. You can check ratings, testimonials, comments, mentions, etc. to see what people are saying about your brand.
  • Look for any social media mentions and shout-outs, whether negative or positive. If you find any exceedingly negative reviews, reach out to the authors and ask them about their experience. Once you do, address their concerns, perhaps offer compensation, and subtly convince them to change their views about your brand or product.

Ultimately, going through reviews and customer testimonials will help you grasp the general sentiment people share about your brand. This is critical for narrowing down your focus on specific platforms that require immediate attention.

Be transparent

ORM transparency

When managing your online presence, it's essential to practice transparency to build trust and understanding with your audience. This also means opening up your business to negative feedback and criticism, which can be a lot harder than it looks.

Your efforts are left incomplete if you don't prioritize honest communication with your customers. When we talk about being transparent, this is what we mean:

  • Requesting feedback from customers
  • Encouraging employees to promote and discuss your products publicly
  • Addressing criticism or negative comments respectfully and politely
  • Developing open communication channels

Transparency allows customers to openly and honestly share their opinions and suggestions about your product. This establishes a level of comfort and trust and shows customers that you value their opinions, which encourages them to support your brand.

Moreover, it builds the impression that your brand is authentic. Younger generations, such as Gen Z, are more skeptical of brands than ever before. They only respond to genuine brand communications, and therefore, they will appreciate honest  negative reviews.

However, being open does come at a price. If you start to notice a flood of negative feedback pouring in, you must act swiftly and carefully to not only respond to the reviews, but to also make lasting changes to improve your brand.

This leads us to the next section, which is...

Address negative comments

As we all know, bad reviews and comments can hurt your business. They can cause existing and potential customers to turn away from using your products, which hurts sales.

In fact, 94% of customers claimed to turn away from a business after reading a negative review.

So it's important to have an overall positive picture of what's being said about your brand on online forums in order to respond appropriately. Don't ignore negative feedback as it may paint your business as unprofessional and inattentive. 

Remember, you don't always need to respond publicly at length. For example, restaurants often ask a negative reviewer to contact them privately to work out the issue rather than producing hundreds of words publicly that may or may not benefit the restaurant. 

Here are some tips for dealing with negative reviews

  • Analyze where most of the negative comments are coming from. Is it on Google My Business (Google Reviews)? Is it on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or other sites?
  • Focus your attention on addressing negative reviews to start. Sometimes the problem isn't with your products, but your customer service, which turns away potential customers or causes them to lose respect for your brand.
  • Reach out to those people who had a bad experience with their services or products. It is essential to express your sincere apologies and resolve their issues.
  • Stay composed and respectful. When you respond to an angry customer's comments respectfully, it helps to calm the situation and resolve the issue quickly.

When responding to negative reviews, always remember to acknowledge the consumer's complaint. This tells them that you recognize their problem and are serious about solving it.

Next, describe how you're going to solve the problem, whether it's by offering a refund, exchanging the product, or sending them a compensation gift as a peace offering. Don't offer compensation to change the review, instead offer to make things right. Then, once that's happened and the customer is happy you can suggest they update their review. 

Marketers must bear in mind that reacting the wrong way during these situations can inflict a great deal of damage on their reputation, so tread lightly and don't agitate the customer.

Respond quickly and politely

When a customer reaches out to you on social media with queries or concerns, you should respond to them immediately.  83% of millennials expect brands to respond within a day or two on social media. Prompt replies reveal that your brand cares about its customers and what they have to say.

When crafting a response, always be courteous and polite as it makes your brand appear more professional and humble. This is especially important when responding to harsh criticism or a bad review.

Thanking the customer for their feedback or reaching out to them directly in private chat is a good way to show your gratitude to a customer, whether existing or new.

Automate online reputation management

Searching for criticism and feedback through a variety of social media platforms is a labor-intensive and time-consuming task. Especially as your business grows. This is when automation comes in handy.

There are plenty of tools to monitor and track your brand mentions. Google Alerts is a free monitoring tool that allows brands to keep track of what the media is saying about their company.

Other online reputation monitoring tools include:

  • SEMRush
  • Mention 
  • Review Push
  • TalkWalker
  • ReviewTrackers
  • Birdeye

Build authority

Another way to manage online reputation is to build authority for your brand. If your consumers consider you an authority on the subject, they will sing your praises and share your brand with their peers.

Apple is great at doing this. Apple is considered an authority in innovation and technology. Similarly, Amazon is an authority in logistics and automation, and the New York Times in authentic journalism.

We can all learn from these titans of brand authority to make your brand an authority site in your niche to improve brand reputation.

A few ways of doing this include:

  • Manage content
  • Invest in long-form content from experts
  • Use topic clusters
  • Optimize your content according to your audience

Start your ORM journey today

People will judge your company by what is being said about your brand online. Depending on which way that conversation goes, it will encourage or discourage people from purchasing your products or services. Implementing an ORM strategy will help you improve and polish your brand's online image.

Take negativity in stride and positivity as a badge of honor, but don't let it get to your head. If people have complaints or suggestions about how you can improve your products, take those pointers kindly. This is not an overnight fix but a gradual process. But the results are everlasting if you follow the right approach.