Guest Blog By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing Communications
Is there a difference between reputation marketing and reputation management? Absolutely.
What is reputation marketing?
Simply explained, reputation marketing is the ability to prevent negative or digital crisis situations arising through a sustained strategy of positive: content, images, video, comments, reviews, likes, share, mentions and testimonials.
Focusing on the positive at all times is, by far, the most efficient way to spend your time and marketing efforts – and prevents the need for reputation management.
How is reputation management different?
Reputation management is digital or online crisis management.
Bad reviews, negative comments, dislikes, and critical posts can have a major impact on your brand perception, future client contact or lead generation opportunities.
And reputation management matters regardless of your business size, industry sector, location, product or service.
Would you book accommodations with 1-star negative reviews or the 5-star glowing testimonial?
Would you buy online where other purchasers have placed negative feedback?
Reputation management is no longer a nice-to-have-option. It is a pre-requisite of every business. Your brand matters. Your brand reputation matters more.
When you have a crisis or frequent negative feedback, reputation management, as a process, can work to improve your status, increase your positive visibility and counter any negativity.
For example, positive input can push negative posts, comments and content down to page two. Not removed, but less visible and less front and centre on initial searches.
We live in a digital world, which, sadly, includes trolls and cyber-bullying. It is all too easy to be negative behind an invisible persona. Such reviews, posts and comments can often mean the difference between success and failure for many businesses – regardless of size.
There are numerous processes and options to implement a crisis campaign – reputation management is all about accentuating the positive. And the need to act quickly, with a positive brand content response, is paramount.
Negative will not simply go away or disappear. You have to replace with positive.
And that is where a reputation management strategy comes to the fore.
Where do you start?
Consider an audit. Where are you now?
Do you need immediate crisis management and, if so, have you enough positive content and planning to respond?
Do you have a reputation marketing plan?
Here’s how to start:
Establish where you are now
- Find and review all business and/or brand comments, negative, neutral or positive;
- Set a timescale such as the last six/12 months and review seasonal trends;
- Use Google; and
- Look at your brand and key product or service search terms and review the first two pages of Google results.
- Are there common themes, comments, sites or persons and so on.
Your brand visibility
- Do you promote a consistent and accurate online presence?
Brand/key terms ranking
- If you are not ranking – ask a specialist to find out why;
- Include existing content, social media platforms and PR within the assessment;
- Review your website and content SEO;
- Is your brand a search authority;
- Are you visible where you want to be on Google; and
- Is your website and/or content up to the task.
Don’t forget the competition
- If your competitors are winning the authority and visibility race – find out why; and
- Develop a strategy to compete.
- You may love your company, products and services but what is the customer saying;
- Do you gain positive sentiment; and
- Do you consistently listen to your target audience.
Remember, reputation marketing companies are not PR agencies.
PR is often about relationships, emotion and brand awareness. Reputation marketing involves more complex tools, strategies and technical solutions. Often working in the background, these techniques quietly promote and share positive content and enhance brand authority and trust without drawing attention to any negativity that PR is often produced to counter.
A good reputation marketing plan should include and embrace PR in addition to positive actions and digital marketing activity.
Your reputation management objectives
Develop trust and authority
People buy from people they know, like and trust. Trust in the digital world is hard won and easily lost. Developing Google authority will increase your trust status.
Open, honest and transparent
Your customers want to see the real you.
Listen to the conversation
You cannot react to negativity if you do not know where, when and why it is being posted. You cannot develop a reputation marketing strategy without knowing your target market and the sentiment values they require.
Don’t ignore – react but in the right way
Don’t argue, respect the feedback and, in a polite and professional way, offer a response.
All statistics show that no response enhances negative sentiment.
A quick response – even one that suggests we do not agree with you – highlights the business/brand perception.
If someone is critical, take on board their point of view and consider a response that leads to a positive position.
If you have made a mistake – take it on board, learn, act and advise your audience. Provide frequently asked questions to answer key customer service issues.
How to find our your online reputation
One way of finding out what your market is saying about you is through social listening.
RCI’s TravelVUE for the vacation ownership industry monitors brand sentiment, gathers real-time brand conversations and provides insight for marketing teams.
Working in conjunction with CustomerCount’s customer feedback platform, marketers have a solution that can be used to glean important insights that can help dramatically reshape customer strategy.
If your research has identified an online reputation issue or if you want assistance in developing a reputation marketing plan, then contact EVC Marketing or call us on +1 239 444 8176 or +44 (0) 208 123 9273.
With over 25 years’ timeshare marketing experience and our connection with CustomerCount, we have a range of tools, techniques and strategies that will repair and increase your brand authority and trust – and maintain and grow your brand’s positive online reputation.