Help! My Brand Has Fallen and Can't Get Up
Contributed by Dave Thomas
Whether you are in charge of marketing for a business or you even end up running the company yourself, your brand means the world to you.
So, what do you do when your brand, not to mention you, suddenly take a hit online?
Essentially, your online reputation is called into question. Should you choose to ignore such a problem, you and the company you own or work for can suffer big time.
As more marketers and business owners are discovering, a large sampling of consumers are going online to browse and buy products and services.
In turn, those responsible for putting a brand and reputation out there must make sure they listen to what the customers want.
Here are a couple examples where your company’s online reputation could be called into question:
1. The Angry Customer - Just about every business owner has run into that angry customer over time. While the old adage is that the customer is always right, most sensible minded folks know that is not often the case. So, what should you do if an angry customer turns to social media, online forums, or blog post comment sections to vent about the service they received from your company?
First and foremost, don’t engage in an online fight, as it makes you and your brand look childish.
Secondly, you stand the chance of losing either current or potential business from those who see you engaging in an online battle with a customer. Either engage them offline, or present your case and keep it civil.
2. Not Caring - While you should never engage a customer or other individual online in a negative manner, you can’t just let people take shots at your brand and reputation. Hoping these comments just go away is not the solution; if anything, they will continue to haunt your company.
In the event some negative press is impacting your company as people search for you online, work either on your own or with a consultant that specialises in reputation management. You want to get more positive press out there regarding your brand, thereby allowing it to surface at the top of search engines such as Google, pushing the more negative chatter down lower. Don’t turn a blind eye to negative comments that involve your brand, because the damage can certainly cut into your return on investment (ROI).
With those thoughts in mind, how do you go about making sure your online reputation doesn’t leave you with a stalled or negative brand?
If you haven’t paid due attention in the past to your online reputation and its impact on your brand, here are some tips moving forward:
- Review, review, review - While you don’t need to be obsessive about it, check out your company’s name from time to time with a Google search. See if there is negative information floating around the Internet that could hamper your brand’s ability to grow and stand out from competitors;
- Awaken your blog - Assuming you have a company blog (address this matter if you do not), make sure it helps in promoting your online reputation. Your blog needs to contain informative information to assist your current and potential customers in the buying process, engage them so that their comments they leave behind do not fall on deaf ears, and be updated regularly so that it passes the search engine sniff test, meaning it gets a favorable ranking;
- Be more social - Finally, never turn down the opportunity to spread the word about your online reputation via social media. Whether you have the final say or not on promoting your company and its reputation through social media, being more social is a good thing. The ability to interact with consumers in real time, read what others are saying about your company on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other venues, and promote all the good things your company offers, is a winning proposition.
Brands, reputations, marketing, blogging, social media, they should all be on your radar screen as you look to grow the company you’ve worked so hard to build.
About the Author
With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of small business topics, including online reputation protection.