Reputation Management: 5 Failproof Tactics for Your Business

04 Jul 2023


Brand reputation is vital in today’s hypercompetitive online business world. The consequences of having a poor online reputation can be devastating, but with proper management you can improve how people see your company. The result is improved sales, brand visibility, and credibility.

With that in mind, here are the top five reputation management tactics and how to implement them.

1. Conduct a Reputation Audit

A reputation audit is like a financial audit, but instead of analyzing money, you’ll look closely at how consumers relate to your brand. This data will provide information concerning:

  • Effectiveness of your customer service
  • How well you relate to customers and prospects
  • The relevancy of your content
  • How well your current reputation strategy is working

There are several approaches you can use to collect information. Some are qualitative, meaning they rely on subjective reviews and opinions. Others offer data you can use to set concrete goals.

Here are some examples of methods you can start with:

Read your customer reviews.

Reading online customer reviews about your company, product, or service can provide valuable information for your reputation management campaign. It gives you an overall picture of public perception of your brand and how well your product or service fills consumers’ needs, highlighting specific instances where customers feel confident doing business with you.

Reading your online customer reviews provides feedback where you can gather and analyze customer conversations in one place.

To utilize this strategy, look for patterns collectively throughout all discussions and identify where potential problems and frustrations may arise in the future.

Of course, it’s vital to address any negative feedback immediately.

Utilize customer surveys.

Customer satisfaction surveys provide valuable feedback and offer a way to predict future customer loyalty. In addition, they provide data that is difficult to get through other channels.

When creating the customer survey template, include open-ended and closed-ended questions. When finished, send them to your customers using the appropriate channels. For example:

  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Web pages
  • Product packaging
  • Product receipts

Emails and text messages offer a way to solicit survey participation directly and should only be sent out a maximum of twice per year. In contrast, surveys posted on product packaging, company websites, and product receipts are passive, so you can use them more frequently.

Monitor social media conversations (Social Listening).

Social listening is the process of analyzing conversations around your brand on social media channels. You can also think of it as customer sentiment analysis built around these ideas and concerns:

  • Customers’ needs, challenges, and goals
  • Preferred channels for connecting with your brand
  • Overall sentiment concerning your competitors
  • How people view your company
  • Satisfaction with your products or services

Monitoring your social media conversations gives you the opportunity to understand your target customer and how they interact with your product or service.  This data can alert you to a potential crisis. It also allows you to make good marketing decisions, helps you strategize your reputation management program, and offers opportunities to seek potential brand influencers.

Start with setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), such as public sentiment, popularity, and brand engagement. Things to look out for include:

  • Your company or brand name
  • Brand hashtags
  • Product or service names
  • Industry category
  • Trademarks or slogans

Next, enlist the help of social listening apps and tools like Brandwatch and HubSpot to help you quantify the data and give you a starting point for your reputation analysis.

2. Take Immediate Action

Effective communication builds brand trust, and there’s no better way to do that than by responding to customer reviews. It tells the audience you are interested in what they say.

Review responses also build brand loyalty by letting others know there’s a human side to your company.

Negative Review Response

Responding to angry customers in writing is a familiar idea. But unfortunately, too few companies engage in this practice.

A common problem when faced with a negative review is knowing what to say in response. It’s mostly a matter of acknowledging the reviewer, taking responsibility for the problem, and figuring out how to make things right.

Still, while most people can communicate verbally, apologizing to an irate person in writing can be daunting.

For this reason, it’s best to seek the help of those who communicate effectively. Enlisting the services of an experienced writing agency will go a long way to gaining back the trust of an angry customer.

Social Media Management

Online shoppers are increasingly turning to social media to research products and services. For this reason, it’s vital to show that your company is working hard to continually improve customer service. While this may sound simple enough, there are many moving parts to social media management, including:

  • Frequently posting relevant content
  • Increasing customer reviews
  • Sharing positive reviews
  • Resolving negative reviews quickly

Your copywriting and marketing teams must continually create positive posts that resonate with your followers on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. However, it’s not enough to tout your company’s accolades. Instead, it’s best to let satisfied customers do that for you.

Press Releases

Sometimes, unforeseen events can evolve into huge PR disasters. In these instances, getting the news media to tell your company’s side of the story fosters trust within your community.

A well-crafted crisis communication press release offers a clear, concise response to any events that could damage your company’s reputation. It’s best to have someone with a journalism background write the release for you, and it should contain the “5 W’s” of news reporting, including:

  • Who was involved in the incident.
  • What the crisis is and what’s being done about it.
  • When the incident occurred.
  • Where it all happened.
  • Why the company has taken action in response.

Positive Review Response

Be sure to thank reviewers who praise your company.

While a simple thank you will often suffice, it’s best to go into more detail about your customer service commitment.

You can also engage with participants to encourage more reviews, ask customers for continued support, and invite them to contact your company if they need further assistance.

3. Be Proactive

Once you have your company’s reputation under control, the next step is to create a plan to manage it going forward. The best approach is to create written standards and procedures. Focus on:

  • Monitoring across media platforms and channels
  • Assigning responsibilities, tasks, and sign-off 
  • Conducting audits and KPI tracking
  • Developing internal and external documentation

Workforce Instructions

Workforce instructions implement your reputation management strategy and provide detailed guidance on performing vital tasks.  Use simple steps, visual cues, charts, and tables to achieve the best results.

A technical writer maps your workflows, designs your process documentation, and produces the content you need to provide detailed, written instructions. The result is better customer communication, efficient employee work standards, and improved brand reputation across multiple channels.

Employee Training

Simply having policies, standards, and workforce instructions in writing isn’t enough. It’s best to conduct thorough training on all aspects of your reputation management campaign to ensure full compliance.

Start by announcing the new program well before initiation, so your employees can anticipate the changes, and there’s less chance for pushback later. Use flyers, banners, and intranet communications to build excitement and anticipation.

Once you’ve rolled out your reputation management program, you can begin training your employees on the new tools, procedures, and strategies. Try varying your methods to include:

  • Interactive learning
  • Gamification
  • Staggered instruction
  • Group training sessions

Even though you’ve conducted training throughout all departments and verticals in your organization, there’s still work to be done.

Key performance indicator (KPI) tracking provides a clear picture of which reputation management strategies work and which need adjusting.

Use qualitative and quantitative metrics to construct your tracking templates. Then, when you have them in place, store your files in a safe, secure document management system for later retrieval.


4. Continue Monitoring

During the early stages of reputation monitoring, you’re looking primarily for problems and concerns, but now that your reputation is under control, you want to keep it that way. So, the best approach is to use a multi-tiered strategy:

Tier 1: Reputation Attack Monitoring

Attacks on your company’s reputation come quickly and without warning. Therefore, setting up social listening app alerts and monitoring them is crucial. While this system is merely a starting point, it will help alert you to the most egregious attacks, so you can address them immediately.

Tier 2: Review Monitoring

Human monitoring of customer reviews works best since the person reading them can respond immediately. This strategy saves time and allows readers to become familiar with the company via human interaction.

Tier 3: Social Media Monitoring

Monitoring social media channels takes time, but with the help of listening apps, you can know where to start. Then, you can respond to conversations while engaging with customers and prospects. Of course, you’ll need a team of social media professionals continually monitoring and responding to inquiries.

Tier 4: SEO Monitoring

Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a role in your reputation management strategy.

The first step is to control how well you rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). The goal is to rank high enough to drown out any negative search results.

Next, set up a Google My Business listing. This site allows you to update your business information quickly. Examples include:

  • Business hours
  • Product offerings
  • Site links
  • Address
  • Directions to your location

With your Google My Business listing, you also get a Google Posts feature, which allows you to provide public updates that get read immediately without having to rank on Google’s search results.

5. Write Positive Content

To be proactive with your reputation management campaign, you must continually update your internal and external content. That means reviewing your marketing copy and performing regular procedural documentation audits.

Internal Content

Having proper procedures in place will ensure that employees know how to handle customer service inquiries and be able to diffuse customer complaints. In addition, your brand will be better off overall when employees perform their tasks efficiently and with customer service in mind.

External Content

As for engaging directly with consumers, it’s vital to come across as empathetic to their needs. The last thing customers want is a condescending attitude from any marketing piece, blog article, or social media post. But striking the right tone for each type of content can be a challenge.

Hiring a technical copywriting team can be the answer.  Professional writers dedicated to delivering positive content will rank higher long-term than all the noisy, negative content that sometimes pops up on search results. A technical copywriting team can also be the best solution for providing ongoing reputation management.

Quick Recap

Reputation management starts with carefully assessing where your company stands with your customers. Then, if you discover negative reviews or feedback, respond immediately with a message of reassurance.  

Confident that you’ve averted any potential crisis, it’s time to plan and create documentation around your reputation management strategies. Only then will your employees know how to monitor social media and review sites effectively. Of course, you’ll first have to train them in the new procedures.

Finally, your customer-facing content must rank above the noisy, negative search results your brand may occasionally receive. It must also resonate with your target customer.

All this may seem like hard work. It is. But an experienced technical copywriting team can make it look easy. 

Steve Epperson 

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