If you are a business leader, owner, or manager, then you are by default a reputation manager. The responsibility of ensuring your business has the best foot forward falls squarely on your shoulders, and the choices you make about engagement or non-engagement will have short- and long-term repercussions in the shaping of your business organization.
While it is true that every enterprise must tailor its approach to its specific needs, and in response to the nuances of its business process, there are aspects of reputation management that are non-negotiable and unquestionably serve as the foundation for sustainability as you work towards developing a brand identity that adds value and fosters desirability across your pre-determined target segments.
We believe that it is always a good move to go back to the basics and review what truly matters. Join us as we review 5 secrets of every successful reputation manager.
Reputation Management Is a Journey, Not a Destination
Any corporation or enterprise that decides to embark on reputation management must understand and embrace the idea that sustainable reputation management is an ongoing process that will always require hands-on involvement.
Many businesses make the mistake of starting strong, taking over their profiles, assessing the state of affairs, and quickly moving to new and “better” things. Failure to have proactive engagement with customers and potential customers on popular customer review sites will eventually catch up to you and result in decreased potential for message amplification and overall growth.
If you happen to be in a place where you have virtually abandoned your two-way engagement on third-party sites, then we want to encourage you to get back on board. Reputation-based marketing is here to stay, and it will be far more relevant as more and more people become dependent on unsolicited peer feedback to make their purchasing decisions.
To best tackle a long-term reputation management strategy, you need to create short, mid, and long-term goals that provide perspective and a sense of achievement as well as forward mobility. Make reputation management a core element of your online marketing strategy, revising time and budget allocations based on industry trends and growth in terms of lead-generation credited to third-party review sites. No business, regardless of size, stands to succeed without a clear reputation management strategy.
Reputation Management Is Rooted in Truth
We cannot stress enough that reputation management distanced from ethics and truthfulness is no reputation management at all. Faking reviews, astroturfing, paying for reviews, or posting responses that are not based on the whole truth is a recipe for disaster.
Not only is this type of engagement illegal and unethical but it is also unsustainable. The moment you post a fake five-star review, you are inviting potential customers to a five-star experience that you will most likely be unable to deliver.
Misaligned expectations can throw your business into a downward spiral from which you are unlikely to recover for a long time. Your reviews, good and bad, will follow you for years to come. Make it your business to have a foundation based on truth and integrity, and seek to fix problems at an operational level instead of attempting to put lipstick on a bulldog and having your same mistakes come back and bite you and your new customers again and again. Many ill-reputed agencies will offer quick fixes for your online image. The consequences of these so-called fixes will only make it more painful to bring about change that is truly sustainable.
The Federal Trade Commission and many general attorneys have established laws to protect consumers from deceitful advertising. Your fake reviews are just that. Avoid it if you want to avoid trouble with the law and the repercussions of your actions going viral and creating the least desirable form of PR.
Reputation Management Must Always Put the Customer First
It is not uncommon for novice reputation managers, particularly those who happen to also be the business owners, to become defensive in light of a negative review.
While you have been tasked with the stewardship and growth of your business organization, it is essential that you learn to put your customers first. By prioritizing your customers, particularly those that have taken the time to provide feedback, you are broadcasting a message of commitment to your current and future customers.
There is no question that on occasion the cost of remedy and compensation will be painful to your budget, but you must be able to see beyond that and understand how a few dollars directed into righting a wrong will become part of your online identity. Seek to expose potential customers to a first impression that speaks to your dedication to go the extra mile for those that trust you with their business.
Reputation Management Is Metrics-Based and Goal-Oriented
When it comes to trying to get somewhere, namely having an improved lead-generating, business-conducive online reputation, there is nothing worse than not having a compass.
Corporations that succeed at online and offline reputation management always implement metrics to track progress and objectives to draw a clear plan of action. Set time aside to identify the Key Performance Indicators that will shape your approach to reputation management. Learn about your segment, adopt best practices, and sift through what others have tried and only go for the most effective approaches to excellence in review generation, improved cumulative scores, review-site penetration, and across-the-board representation.
Reputation Management Is Holistic and Centralized
The pick-and-choose approach to reputation management seldom works and is never sustainable long-term. Businesses that dominate in the customer-generated feedback landscape are more often than not highly intentional and organized about when and how to interact with current and future customers.
Using a review management and monitoring dashboard is the key to the success of any online reputation management strategy. By having access to the big picture, your business will be empowered to make better, more educated decisions, and able to quickly revise your operational and marketing strategy to best meet the perceived needs of your customers.