Maybe you got a negative review or two, your website crashed amidst seasonal sales, or your order got lost on its way – these things happen. While they can easily damage your online reputation, improving it might seem a challenge. Although it is more challenging to improve your online reputation after you have disappointed your customers, it’s plausible, and the five tactics below can help.
1. Respond to Negative Reviews
Your online reviews are the primary channel for your prospective customers to build expectations on your brand and products, and that’s what they use most of the time to make a purchasing decision. However, you cannot prevent negative reviews, and regardless of the cause of negative feedback, you should use it as a possibility to show others what you can do when things go wrong.
The best tactic to improve your online reputation after getting negative feedback is never to leave them unanswered. Always respond to negative reviews and in your responses:
- Thank the customer for the review (positive or negative, they still invested time in writing it)
- Acknowledge the problem and let them know you understand their frustration
- Provide a reason why the problem occurred, and again apologize for the inconvenience
- Offer a solution such as a refund
- If there’s no solution, let the customer know you’ll study what can be done within X days and update them accordingly.
- Provide a discount, special offer, or other incentives as a compensation
2. Acquire More Positive Reviews
Positive reviews from your customers are more powerful than paid ads, and fortunately, you won’t need to break a bank to acquire them. Nevertheless, even the most satisfied customers might not self-initiate to write an online review, so sometimes, all it takes is to ask them to do so. Still, in such a busy world, everyone can be forgetful, so one of the effective ways to generate more feedback is to ask through emails, SMS, or social media.
Where should you get reviews? Although many business owners target only Google Maps and their websites, online directories are vital for boosting your online reputation. Firstly, because many people use them to find reliable companies. Secondly, Google itself gathers information from such sources before deciding whether or not a company is reliable and should be included in a local search query. So, ensure to add your business to online directories like Yelp or industry-specific ones.
3. Support Social Causes
85% of consumers have a more positive image of a product or a business if it supports a charity they care about. Supporting charities can help you boost your reputation and attract customers. Besides, 86% of US Consumers Expect Companies to Act on Social and Environmental Issues.
Have you heard of CSR? Engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means that your company works not only to make a profit but to contribute to the environment and society positively. CSR can not only boost your reputation, but benefit the community, so it’s a double win. However, it doesn’t mean supporting all causes and jumping from one to another, but deliberately choosing causes that your customers care about and resonate with your business. In the case of small companies, picking one and sticking to it is enough. Of course, larger companies can support several causes simultaneously.
Although you might not want to brag about all the great things your company has done supporting an important cause, you still need to tell a story about it if you’re going to use your CSR efforts for improving your online reputation.
The best channel to spread the word about your CSR initiatives is social media. Here you can create different forms of content like videos, live videos, pictures, stories, written posts, etc., to let your customers know about the cause you are supporting. It’s not bragging – your customers need and want to know how they can benefit the community by doing business with you. So don’t think twice before telling them about all the great work you did. Moreover, you can use social media channels to engage your customers, ask them questions, invite them to your events, or generate ideas and learn what issues matter to them so that you can build your future initiatives around these causes.
4. Stay Active on Social Media
Social media can significantly influence your online reputation and affect how customers perceive your business. Even one unanswered message in your inbox can affect your prospects’ purchasing decision, so if you aren’t yet spending sufficient time on your social media channels, now it’s time to do so.
Social media is an excellent place to build relationships with your customers and engage them through the posts you share. Moreover, it can help develop a consistent brand image and increase trust in your products.
Like online reviews, social media allows you to address negative feedback, solve your customers’ problems, and show others you’re willing to make an effort to address issues when they occur.
More importantly, here, you can build a clearer image of your company – who are your employees? When are their birthdays? Do you have any office pets? – if yes, show them to your audience. Tell your success story or more about your products on an emotional level. Social media is an excellent tool to build a positive image of your brand, so make sure to include it in your digital marketing strategy, but choose the channels accordingly, based on your target audience. To find out which are the top social media platforms for each generation, click here.
5. Work with Influencers
If some unfortunate events have already damaged your online reputation, working with social media influencers is a great way to reverse it. A wonderful thing about influencers is that people trust them (more than advertisements or celebrities), so if they endorse your product or brand, there’s a significant probability of their followers building trust towards your company. If your brand’s negative reputation was due to the product quality, you could use the power of influencers after relaunching it. When they like it (they must, otherwise influencers won’t risk their reputation to boost yours), they can address all the changes you made and the improved quality, so your prospects know it’s worth giving another shot. To read more about influencer marketing, read our article, the DOs and DON’Ts of Influencer marketing.
Your online reputation is crucial to your business. It determines the trust of your prospects in your company and the probability of them buying your products. However, things can go wrong, and if, for some reason, your brand has a negative reputation online, don’t worry! The tactics above are great to use to boost your online reputation, but if you think your brand needs an expert’s help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our marketing team at Internet Marketing Geeks has already helped numerous brands overcome negative online reputations or built ones from scratch, so we’re always happy to help!