Let’s talk about IMAGE AND REPUTATION MANAGEMENT STRATEGY (part 2)

Let’s look at the benefits of a Positive Online Image

A well-formed company image will help increase the effectiveness of various endeavours to promote products, make them more valued, desirable and competitive.

Regardless of whether the firm pays attention to the formation and management of the image, it will always take place — positive or negative, more likely the latter for those diverting their resources elsewhere.

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You just can’t rely on spontaneity for the development of a good image. It takes work — which is why each company or organisation should understand that it is necessary to forge image management from scratch.

When forming the image of an organisation, the technologies used must be original and flexible. Never copy others, but you can learn from them. Copycatting is not only harmful, and it can lead to ridicule. Also, do not exaggerate your practices, this can also negatively affect your image. Think out of the box but do comply with all modern trends in the image-making process.

Now, the keys to creating a great online image are:

  • Information. Presentation should be simple and straightforward

If your website is seen as unreliable or insecure, it will certainly lead to a customer outflow. This applies even to small interruptions or hiccups in the operation of the resource. For example, the checkout facility keeps failing to work properly. People get frustrated, give up and go elsewhere, likely to one of your competitors.

So, now we turn to the Reputation of an Organisation and can address the Important Stages in its Management

To promote a brand, you need to create a positive reputation. At the same time, you need to use to the maximum all possibilities to achieve this: develop the company’s website, post informational articles with a mention of the brand on various resources. Materials should offer insight into the company advisably — and you can send mailings to existing and potential customers and partners.

By managing your reputation properly, you can build awareness and loyalty, while a positive reputation can help you deal with any negative information more easily. In order to bring the company to a higher level of esteem and protect its reputation from the attacks of competitors, you need to use the services of a special reputation management agency such as ADVES, providing corresponding work may in several directions…

The company’s social network pages being fully supported. This will allow you to promptly provide the target audience with information about things like discounts, promotions, and special customer events. This can be done at a low cost, these websites allowing you to post up-to-date advertising information, create thematic discussions, interact with customers and provide 24/7 online support. All of this will help strengthen a positive opinion about the company and attract potential customers and partners.

Also, advertising information can be placed on third-party resources. These can be articles and press releases or comments. In this case, keywords and phrases are embedded in the materials, as well as links to the company’s website.

Next, SERM (Search Engine Reputation Management) facilitates image and reputation of a company in search engines. This service implies the displacement of publications with negative information about the company from the first pages of search results. At the same time, articles in which the company is mentioned in a positive context are promoted to the top results.

Last but not least, work in dispelling the negative is carried out. It’s all about creating the right conditions — a process of turning a negative post or response into a positive image of the firm. To do this, you need to ensure a friendly interaction with customers who are unhappy with a product or service to quickly resolve any grievance. In addition, you need to form a strategy for improving the company’s performance to prevent the publication of any new negative feedback from customers.

For a better understanding, let’s consider specific tools when working on brand reputation on the Internet.

Take, for example, Your Official Website and Social Network Pages

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To attract customers’ attention, you need to publish original and interesting content on the website regularly. And thanks to the wonders of SEO optimisation, it can be displayed on the first pages of search engine results. In order to form a positive reputation, as well as to increase trust in the company, the following sections can be created on the website:

- Corporate. Where you should post news about the internal state of affairs, publish pictures of employees, products and work process.

- Reviews and Opinions. Where customers/partners can vent their thoughts and views.

- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Self-explanatory really, but an essential aid to potential customers visiting the site or experiencing problems.

To speed up website promotion, you can post informational videos about the company on YouTube. These can feature product reviews, helpful content, tips, and so on. Best to get a professional to do this sort of thing. Also, do not neglect the influence of groups on social networks. They help to interact with customers while building a certain reputation for the firm.

Other channels for improving your reputation are those relevant forums and platforms where you can drop in comments or reviews. Moreover, they should sound as natural as possible, not coming across as blatant advertising. Bloggers with a large audience can also help in brand promotion if potential consumers of the company’s goods or services are among their following. All of these things provide the opportunity for you to be creative and informative at the same time.

Tracking Mentions is crucial to the process

Reputation management is also an analysis of mentions of a company on various resources. Tracking them helps to assess the position of reputation on the Internet, which would allow some changes and tweaks to be made as part of an active promotion strategy. Now, there are two types of brand mention tracking:

Firstly, Auto — where special monitoring services are used, and

Secondly, Manual — information from the search engine results is monitored and analysed by an expert. It takes more time, but you can find references to the company that are not exactly damning but can nevertheless be harmful, even to the smallest degree. Once discovered, negative feedback is processed to improve reputation.

But it’s not all doom and gloom in the process. Tracking mentions can show positive results, and while your name is up there in lights for all the right reasons, you should never stop working on managing your image and reputation. As already mentioned, ill-wishers or ill plotting competitors can be active at any time.

It’s also far from being a safe option if there’s no mention of your company on the network at all. This, too, is a negative indicator. Few people trust brands about which there is no information on the Internet about them, but if there is a lot of negativity about the company on the Internet, you most definitely need to use SERM services.

Tackling Negativity — SERM Strategies to be used

As we’ve already touched upon, most consumers check information on the Internet before choosing a product or service. That is why a very important fact is the presence of positive

publications about the company, its products or services in search engines’ top results. This, in turn, will maintain the company’s positive reputation. SERM is a technology for ousting websites with negative publications from the top rankings. For this to work, the following should be used:

- Publications posted on various resources with brand mentions in a positive context.

- Reviews posted on specific resources, linking them to the company.

- Special posts published on specific forums to strengthen the reputation.

- Discussions in a positive context of the company created on social network platforms.

- Negative feedback and comments handled right away wherever they appear.

While working on the management of the company’s image and reputation, the negative out there has to be tackled and processed. It can be toned down ‘naturally’ or eradicated completely or be replaced with positive vibes.

By ‘naturally’, we mean that these are real responses of dissatisfaction by customers for whatever reason but are not deep-seated complaints and only temporary and can be fixed to the customer’s contentment. Then there’s ‘artificial’ comment — the result of smear campaigns and slander on the part of unscrupulous competitors or ill-wishers.

To remove such information, you need to contact the administration of the resources on which harmful content is posted and work to agree on their removal. If necessary, lawyers are involved in such work. In such cases, it is very important to prove that the information is unreliable and purposefully intended to be defamatory.

If one is talking about natural negative reviews, then it is necessary to understand the reason for their appearance and publish an official response, if necessary, with an apology. In the event that mistakes did occur, as mentioned above, it is absolutely worth acknowledging this, not avoid the situation and perhaps offer some kind of appropriate compensation. These can be refunds, discounts, vouchers, or even a personal message of apology could do the trick.

All companies make mistakes, but not everyone is given a chance to improve. Over time, negative information only strengthens the rot, disparagingly affects the brand name, interferes with the working process and causes employee discontent, with profit margins probably shrinking by the day.

Potential customers get their initial ideas about a business or service from the upper listings on the search page at Google and Yandex. Every unwanted mention which appears there is a reason to doubt the professionalism of the company. In conditions of a reputation crisis, despite vast amounts being spent on a promotional campaign, clients either hesitate or get lost along the way when they encounter negativity online.

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