We’ve all heard the famous saying “all publicity is good publicity.” But most businesses would disagree with that, especially since the internet has changed the way—not to mention, the frequency—customers interact with companies.
These days, reviews of your brand are everywhere: With the good, the bad, and even the mediocre, your online mentions aren’t all the same. And that’s why managing your brand’s online reviews is vital and a little bit tricky.
Sure, getting your brand’s name out there is the goal, but not if it’s because a sea of negative reviews have flooded the market.
While you can’t control how the public feels about your product or service, you can manage your brand’s reputation and your customer support.
Digital marketing cultivates a brand’s reputation
A brand’s reputation is everything, especially with so much competition in the market. And there’s always competition in the market, no matter what product or service you’re providing.
Brand mentions are any references to your brand and its product or services. Sure, mentions can happen via the traditional word of mouth, but in the age of technology, it’s more likely that brands will receive mentions via online reviews, news articles or blogs, and social media mentions.
Let’s face it: Consumers trust their peers far more than they trust a company’s own marketing department.
In fact, when it comes down to it, 78% of consumers stated that they believe online reviews are “somewhat reliable,” and 59% of consumers see online reviews to be as trustworthy as a word of mouth recommendation from a trusted friend.
So where online are consumers looking for these reviews?
One report shows that around 33% of consumers went to search engines such as Google or Bing first. From there, 25% of consumers stated that they went to review websites, 22% went to a brand’s website, and around 18% went to accredited sources such as Consumer Reports.
With this kind of power, businesses can’t afford to ignore reviews.
3 vital steps to managing your brand’s online reviews and mentions
The internet is always changing, meaning that brands and their digital marketing teams need to stay on the ball and adapt along with it. One of the top ways this has become evident recently is through the ubiquity of online reviews.
Managing your brand’s reputation online may seem a tad daunting, but there are simple, yet vital steps to get your mentions under control.
1. Be transparent
When it comes to brands and their online reputation, being transparent is essential.
So, what is “transparency” exactly? For most brands, transparency means opening and honoring a line of direct communication between them and the consumer, such as through social media and email marketing.
Social media and email marketing have been excellent tools for brands when it comes to establishing 1:1 communication. These channels allow consumers to directly message, tag, or ping brands when they have a question, comment, or concern.
This dialogue also allows brands to get to know their consumers on a deeper level than other mass marketing channels, such as television, radio, or direct mail.
Finally, being transparent allows brands to become more relatable. This will enable consumers to feel less intimidated when it comes to reaching out to brands and allow your brand to solve potential problems before they become large problems.
Addressing consumer issues one-on-one will show your audience you not only care about your reputation but the consumer as well.
Treat your customers like humans. It’ll go a long way.
2. Be proactive and request feedback
When it comes to building your brand reputation, get out ahead of the negativity by reaching out to your following and asking for reviews.
Now, this doesn’t mean go out and ask people to leave your product or service a positive review in exchange for a promo code or other monetary reward. This method is prohibited on most sites and for good reason: It’s dishonest. A site such as Amazon will go out of their way to remove reviews should they find someone breaking this code of conduct.
Instead, show your public that you genuinely care what they think by offering them the option to share their feedback with you. That way, when someone’s had a bad experience with your brand, you’ll know about it first and you’ll be able to—hopefully—find a solution and learn from your mistakes.
A great way to ask for feedback is through email campaigns. You can reach out to them and ask them to reply to your email, leave a review on your site, or fill out a survey. You could even implement a star rating request right there in your email, making it as simple as possible to know how your customer feels about your brand. You can also direct them to the site where their reviews will help you and your current prospects the most.
Take an example from Campaign Monitor. The simplistic design directly addresses the customer and makes use of a bold call to action that directs recipients to a survey.
Image Source: Campaign Monitor
If you prefer that consumers leave feedback and honest reviews on your social media sites, then make sure to include links or a call to action that will guide them to where the information will be seen and answered quickly by your team.
3. Respond to your reviews: The good and the bad
But it’s not enough to simply see reviews or feedback. You need to respond to show your customers you hear them and you care about them.
No one likes doing business with a company that only cares about their money, and responding to reviews proves that you want customers to have a great experience.
Additionally, engaging with customers gives brands a chance to head off potential problems before they spiral out of control. Engaging with your customers through reviews and even in social media mentions shows customers you care by addressing their concerns and making recommendations.
Consumers know social media is being monitored and that brands care about their online reputation, so when you go above and beyond—by responding to mentions, especially when offering product recommendations or solutions to your followers’ problems—you’ll ensure customers go out of their way to buy from you.
Take Nike for example. When “Old Man Flat Foot” reached out for a recommendation, not only did Nike respond with a possible solution, they also went out of their way to protect themselves and the consumer by recommending that they consult with their doctor first.
This shows that Nike not only has a possible solution to the problem but that they care enough to have the consumer get a second opinion before they purchase from them.
Image Source: Nike/Twitter
What about negative comments and reviews? To effectively manage online reviews, it’s essential that brands respond to both the good and the bad.
Chobani does an excellent job of responding to a disgruntled mother after they pulled a favorite product:
Image Source: Chobani/Facebook
Not only does the brand reach out to the upset consumer, but they also apologize for upsetting them and provide another option for their customer’s picky eater.
One problem that many brands run into is that they either ignore upset consumers or worst yet, they respond unpleasantly.
Remember, the whole point of these open lines of communication is to help manage negative reviews and bring in positive ones, talking to your customers like real human beings and not just dollar signs. If a brand responds to a consumer in a snarky, disapproving manner, then they only add fuel to the negative fire.
For example, if a disgruntled consumer mentions you in a Tweet, consider making a recommendation that solves a problem, like suggesting that a person who wants more electrical outlets at your restaurant should bring a reliable form of backup power with them, such as a portable battery backup.
Or you can respond with a general comment such as “We are sorry to hear that! We’d love to further feedback from you if you’d be willing to DM us.” This will allow you to have a private conversation instead of publicly starting a feud with a customer.
Even if you want to defend the choice your customer disagrees with—and we all know you’ll sometimes disagree with your customers—you can do so with compassion and understanding to make sure others maintain a positive association with your brand.
When it comes time to manage your online reviews and brand mentions, there are many ways to go about it. But the most important takeaway is to keep the 1:1 communication between you and your customers open and positive.
Remember that you’re dealing with people and not faceless consumers and you’ll start off on the right foot.
Sure, social media is an excellent way to communicate with your general audience. However, moving tough conversations to private channels such as email, Facebook messages, and other direct messages will allow your brand to better manage the good and bad reviews before they get seen by the masses.
Take these three steps to manage your brand’s online reviews:
- Cultivate transparency
- Request feedback
There’s no need to be intimidated by connecting with your consumers. Show them you care in every stage of your interactions, and they will, in turn, appreciate the human touch.
Need help with creating a more personalized email campaign for your brand? Campaign Monitor can help you deliver the right message at the right time! Talk to an expert and find out how.