5 Online Reputation Management Tips Every Business Should Know
Reputation is an incredibly valuable business asset, and these days the fate of that asset will often be decided online. Before you can even begin to consider how to best protect and grow your reputation, you need to get familiar with one of the basics of modern crisis management – monitoring the internet and social media.
Let’s get started discussing this key component to any crisis and reputation management plan, with 5 Online Reputation Management Tips Every Business Should Know.
1. Yes, doing online reputation management means you need to actually get online.
Even in 2023 we still sometimes hear clients who tell us, “I don’t really want to be online or use social media”. This is fine when it comes to your personal life, but it’s only holding you back when it comes to business. The reality is that you can’t monitor properly without having your own account on popular social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You’ll also need to claim your profiles on review sites – Yelp and Google most importantly.
There are a couple reasons for this. First, no monitoring app (don’t worry we’ll discuss these next) catches everything, but modern social media and review websites are very good at ensuring you get a direct notification if your account receives a new message, mention, or review. Second, many monitoring apps will require you to be logged in to a social media site in order to properly search or notify you of interactions there.
2. Learn which online reputation management tools work for you.
Find a social media monitoring app that can access at least the major sites – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – and start exploring. Most of them have free trials, and there are a variety of options to fit how your unique business operates. If you’re a high-volume or multi-location business you may want to consider a review monitoring app too. You certainly can use each website directly, but I’ll tell you from experience that bringing all of the information about your social media mentions or reviews into an app designed for efficiency can both save significant time and reduce the odds an issue will slip through the cracks.
Take advantage of demos and tutorials to understand the basics! Most importantly how to automatically see when your brand is mentioned and how to reply to those mentions in public or private messages.
We strongly recommend avoiding posting to social media for both personal and business via the same device. Far too many crises have begun as a result of someone accidentally posting from the wrong profile!
3. Establish effective listening practices to ensure you’re “hearing” what you need to address online reputation.
Automated searches are your friend when it comes to online reputation management, unless you’d like to spend hours every day scrolling through feeds that largely consist of the latest political drama!
You’ll want to establish searches for your brand name, and often other terms including names of ownership, key management, and known critics. Your chosen social media monitoring program should be able to display a constant stream of searches for mentions of any desired terms or from specific accounts, as well as notifying you and others when these mentions appear.
4. Don’t forget about the power of the human touch when it comes to reputation management.
What’s the absolute most effective online reputation management tool in your arsenal?
HINT: It has nothing to do with your computer.
If you guessed the human touch, you’re spot on. Searches are fantastic for putting information at your fingertips, sorting data into big colorful graphics is incredible for displaying trends, but without a thinking human being processing everything, none of it matters.
Of course, this means whoever’s in charge of monitoring your online reputation and responding to critics will have to be sharp. They’ll need to not only be prepared to deliver top-tier customer service, but do so publicly and in the face of someone who’s very upset. Does preparing them to properly handle the job require extra investment? Absolutely. Will it cost you far less than you could lose encountering one major reputation crisis? Every time.
5. Practice and training are key to online reputation management success.
You know what they say – practice makes perfect! Every skill takes practice to hone, and properly monitoring your online reputation is no different. Set up practice scenarios, surprise each other with mentions (keep them positive, other people will see these!), and don’t get discouraged if you missed a post or something wasn’t set up quite right the first go-round. The whole idea is to get comfortable in order to be as effective as possible long-term.
It’s too often that perfectly fixable issues become full-on crisis situations simply because “nobody knew”. Follow these steps, take it seriously, and you’ll be on your way protecting the health and well-being of your online reputation.
The BCM Blogging Team