Reputation management historically has always been coined as a public relations term - managing how consumers perceive your brand in the public media - but the rapid advance and rise in social media, the internet and technology, has primarily catapulted this phrase into the marketing sphere. As how we manage our brands reputation across channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the lines between marketing, digital and public relations are becoming increasingly more blurred between the three.
'Reputation Management' has expanded to cater for unethical grey areas such as astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints or using black-hat SEO tactics to 'game' the system and influence results. These processes are ways in which reputation management is typically abused and should always be avoided at all costs. These could result in negative impact on your brand, your website becoming black listed in search engine rankings, and all in all, creates a poor reputation towards your audience.
There are, however, many reputation management practices which you should use, and are more frequently identified with social media. A simple take on basic reputation management looks at responding to customer complaints, asking websites to remove incorrect information and using online feedback to influence product and brand development. Here we focus on the importance of these, of both community and reputation management, to uphold your brands ideals.
Increasingly, brands, businesses and companies are investing more of their marketing budgets into pulling together customer service teams to handle complaints and feedback from social media channels, rather than the more conventional process of responding to messages through the telephone. A dedicated team needs to be responsive, uphold the brands tone of voice and represent the profile of the organisation through channels such as Twitter. By utilising community management in this way, you can effectively, quickly and more efficiently uphold your brands reputation on a more public profile. However, you do have to ensure that as you are responding in a sphere that can be viewed by all, that you are always maintaining the core of your brands values so that these cannot be perceived in a negative way.
Within the hospitality industry, it's becoming more evident that brands are investing a lot of time looking at Trip Advisor. This is a channel that is typically forgotten about when it comes to social media; a lot of people assume that it's the big brands such as Facebook and Twitter which are the most important, however never underestimate the power of a reviewer. If your brand is on Trip Advisor, seek out what online users are saying about you. If it's negative, address this personally and you'll be amazed at how beneficial this can be to your business.
Keep in mind that when you place yourself online, you are open to all user reviews, both positive and negative. Don’t spend time stressing over negative reviews – take these to find out more about your business. If there are common issues and repeated complaints, then address these head on with your team, rather than attempt to hide these or cover them up.
These may sound like simple processes however it is usually the basic practices of social media to which most people fall short on. Remember to never ignore your customers online, whether these are positive or negative messages - it is important to address all engagements head on in a personal and professional manner. Use community management to boost your reputation and you'll slowly but surely build a loyal fan-base, which will reap in your rewards.