Last updated: Bring on the fandom: How brands can boost their online reputation

Bring on the fandom: How brands can boost their online reputation

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A brand’s online reputation is inextricably linked to its sales. Before making a purchase, according to Trustpilot, nearly 90% of users check online reviews.

In fact, four in five consumers say they trust the reviews as if they were recommendations from the closest people in their lives.

As a result, marketers and PR specialists face a real challenge in finding effective ways to improve online brand reputation. 

However, there’s no reason to chase a 5-star rating. Human beings are fallible, and the same goes for brands. An impeccable reputation might be suspicious. In fact, the Spiegel Research Center found that customers would more likely buy a product from a company whose rating is between 4.0-4.7 stars. As rating surpass this indicator, sales go down. 

All this brings us to the following question: What’s the most effective way to maintain and boost your brand’s image? Here are 5 ideas:

  1. Track online brand perception 
  2. Help and resolve customer problems
  3. Motivate customers to leave reviews and participate in brand-related discussions
  4. Combine user-generated content and collaboration with influencers
  5. Avoid using nefarious tactics to game the system, like fake reviews 

Get ahead of online reputation problems

The first step on the way to reputation improvement is awareness of brand-related problems. With social media listening tools, it’s easy to regularly track what users think about the brand, what issues they face, and what might be changed. 

Real-time tracking of online discussions helps a lot with reputation management – especially when it comes to the prevention of reputational crises.

Monitoring tools allow capturing the slightest spikes in mentions, allowing marketers and PR specialists to react promptly and prevent negative information from spreading.

For instance, a fast-food chain, Subway, was accused of misleading its clients. A new lawsuit against the company claimed that Subway’s tuna sandwiches didn’t contain tuna, but were made of chicken, pork, and beef instead. 

Tracking all spikes in mentions, brands can respond immediately – either deny the fake news or admit the mistake and apologize.

The faster a company shares its official statement on the situation, the less negative attention it will attract.

It’s essential not only to monitor spikes in negative mentions, but also to analyze the general perception of the brand. Loss of reputation can happen without a huge public scandal. For instance, the number of negative reviews about McDonald’s had grown to 45% during the last year.

It means that the company needs to take a deeper look at the clients’ complaints and improve its reputation through positive customer experience before losing clients to the competition.

Be a brand (and human) hero: Resolve customer problems

We’ve all been there: We reach out to a brand for assistance, and are bounced around various departments, with nobody actually helping to resolve the issue.

By asking questions or posting negative reviews, users are demonstrating that they expect a relevant answer or solution to their problem. That’s why official responses that propose customers contact the support team often don’t work well and can damage brand reputation.

It’s better to provide customers with a complete answer or suggest the best way to rectify the situation. A great example of how brands should work with their clients is Glossier’s support.

When clients asked to buy their favorite candle separately from the set, Glossier decided to do so. The brand also takes a customer-centric approach by providing complete information – from how clients can choose the right package for their parcels in the delivery settings to the slightest product details such as fragrance ingredients.

At the same time, focusing on bad reviews and questions isn’t the best strategy for online reputation improvement. Brands should also reply to positive ones – even if the responses are concise. It can help motivate customers to share their good experiences in the future.

Some brands are moving even further. Trying to satisfy clients, American IKEA does more than thank them for positive reviews. Company representatives promise to convey the message to whom these reviews were addressed. Support team members also invite clients to take another survey and rate the service quality in detail.

Get them talking: Encourage customers to write a review

Users are more inclined to buy a product with a few reviews than one with none. But getting customers to share their impressions can be challenging.

The best way to get started with earning customer reviews: Just ask. Things to keep in mind include:

  • The process of leaving reviews should be quick and simple
  • When making a request, target satisfied customers to avoid negative feedback
  • The first try isn’t always successful: you could choose the wrong time or date – follow up to increase the chances of getting a review

There are other ways to motivate customers to talk about the brand online. For example, some companies offer a gift card or a discount for the next purchase. This technique is used successfully by iHerb: popular products have dozens of reviews.

Another secret of iHerb is that the platform encourages its users to participate in the discussion. Clients get email notifications about new questions related to the products they buy. By answering, they share their experience while iHerb collects honest opinions. 

The WOW effect: Combine UGC and influencer content for powerhouse results

It’s no surprise that people are trust regular people more than bloggers with millions of subscribers. Realizing this, marketers started to promote user-generated content – text, photos, videos, or any other types of posts created by casual users, not brands. 

Obviously, positive reviews help to improve brand reputation. At the same time, since this approach is overused, marketers may wonder if it’s possible to be more creative with it. Asos proves that it’s doable.

The brand’s team combined user-generated content with influencer marketing. Eventually, Asos’s Instagram page mainly consisted of pictures from micro-influencers or macro-influencers, which are reused in the brand’s profile.

This approach encourages users with a few subscribers to create content with Asos’s products and tag the brand on their pages. The result: More and more users see Asos’s goods just by scrolling social media timelines, while the brand is saving its marketing budget instead of spending it on paid social advertising. 

By taking the right steps, brands not only improve their online reputation. They also help increase brand awareness and generate lifetime bonds with customers via emotional connections.

Business, better:
Better outcomes.
Better experiences.
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