Your brand’s reputation is everything. As the saying goes, a reputation can take years to build up, but seconds to bring down.
Your customers put their trust in you when they make buying decisions, whether you’re part of a software giant or sell a popular service. One way they can create that trust is with a positive brand image.
In addition to helping to maintain a bond with the consumer, a positive brand image can actually sway buying decisions. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at these statistics:
73 percent of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more
79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
90 percent of survey respondents claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions. In comparison, 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews
Facebook and Twitter are growing strongly as recommendation channels
As you can see, reputation management is crucial, especially online. According to imFORZA, online reputation management is all about establishing yourself as a credible, authoritative resource for whatever it is you do and keeping the most relevant, useful results about you or your business on the first page of the search engines.
For example, similarly to how many transactions start online, if a prospective or current client sees something negative about you or your business as a top result in Google, you may be taking a huge risk of losing that opportunity.
Now that you understand the importance of creating and maintaining a great online reputation, let’s look at some examples of brands that are doing it right.
Speciality grocery store Whole Foods is known for their great — and natural — selection of food, household items, and clothing. However, although they have a great online reputation, they haven’t been without their share of online controversy. However, it’s how they cleaned up the mess that made the difference.
For example, according to KISSmetrics.com, in 2009, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing his stance on healthcare reform under President Obama. While this was clearly the opinion of Mackey, it still caused a controversy among Whole Foods customers. Some even created boycott groups on Facebook.
Realizing how severe this could be for the company, Whole Foods provided a response statement on Facebook two days later, recognizing there were “many opinions on this issue, including inside our own company.” They also invited people to share their opinion on the matter, which created collaboration, engagement, and maintained their reputation as a brand that cares.
You know what’s annoying? Having your flight delayed, cancelled, or pushed back to no avail. It doesn’t help that some staff members turn a blind eye or don’t provide enough information. When this happens, many of us have taken out our frustration on social media, including Twitter. However, one company is doing away with the notion that airlines don’t care about customer service — and that airline is JetBlue.
For example, Social Media Examiner notes that JetBlue is keen to respond to and help frustrated customers as quickly as possible.
Part of this is because JetBlue understands the importance of customer loyalty, which is one of the reasons the airline has become so popular. So, when a customer complains about a flight delay or cancellation, JetBlue makes sure to communicate with the client quickly, as well as with a substantial responses. In other words, JetBlue actually helps customers with issues.
Here’s the problem with online reputation management: When you’re trying to push out content, promote company news, or engage with thought leaders, how can you keep track of unhappy customers? That is, how can you handle online reputation management when you’re also trying to give your brand a voice on different levels? Create separate support handles.
A brand that’s doing this right is Nike. The handle @NikeSupport is dedicated solely to responding to customers who need help. Nike is clearly a huge company with lots of different avenues and products.
@NikeSupport allows the company to dedicate an entire account to customer service, which simplifies the process while keeping comments, questions, or concerns in one support hub.
Online reputation management is a crucial part of your brand, whether you’re just beginning to shape your message or have been in business for years. Remember, online platforms are a great way to create and maintain your reputation, no matter if you’re responding to a blog post or talking to customers on Facebook or Twitter.
Let me know how you maintain your online reputation in the comments below!