11 ways you are damaging your online reputation

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By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing

It might be called SOCIAL media, but when it comes to your brand, letting your guard down, not doing your research and being plain rude to your fans can really damage your online reputation.

If your business is guilty of any of the following, you are risking harming your reputation with dramatic and long-term consequences for your business.

1 Denying the issues

In today’s 24/7 news-hungry world, denying issues when they happen is a major mistake. These days everyone has access to a smartphone and before you know it, a video of the disaster is being played to millions on YouTube, a photo of a badly behaved staff member is going viral on Facebook and an image of your brand is being destroyed on Twitter. Don’t try to hide. It will just make things a whole lot worse.

2 Deleting comments

The good news is that you can delete comments – but only some. If they’re the spammy kind that bears no relation to your business, you can remove them. But otherwise it’s a big no-no. When a crisis it is all too easy to hit the delete button when the comments are mounting up and you don’t know how to handle them. Don’t do this.

Social media cannot be stifled and when people are emotionally attached to a situation, deleting their comments can just escalate the issue.

3 Allowing issues to flame

Any delays to handling the issue will only feed the flames of hostility. So do not employ the spin tactic of delaying bad news. It will only be leaked. Make sure that you are the one in control of bad news, frame the discussion and maintain the trust of your customers.

Being indecisive can also cause issues. it is better to say that you are looking into an issue than leaving it hanging, waffling or misleading your customers. Own up and get on with it.

4 Over sharing

We all know that it’s important to be authentic and accessible when it comes to social media. However, that does not mean that you have to tweet and post constantly, sharing information your clients really don’t need to know. Be careful what you post. Ask yourself if it is relevant and will posting actually open yourself up to issues.

5 Being rude and obnoxious

While it might get you instant attention, being confrontational, unkind or selfish is a disastrous way to manage your online reputation. Keep your inflammatory remarks to yourself – they haven’t a place on social media. Remember, once online, always online.

How many actors and celebrities have lost their reputation (and jobs) because of tweets and posts written years before they were famous? It will come back and haunt you. If you wouldn’t find it in a Disney movie, there’s no place for it on your social media platforms.

Online reputation

6 Not thinking through the repercussions

You have a great marketing plan, but don’t think through every aspect of its implementation. Before you know it, your plan is out of control because some team members were unaware of the possible results of their actions. Make sure that everyone is signed-up to the plan, knows key dates and what they can, and can’t, share.

7 Not learning from others

Everyone will have an online reputation disaster at some point – even the biggest brands have suffered. Think about Applebees, Nike, Lockheed Martin and even the US Air Force. Learn from these. See how these companies responded, what they did right and what they did wrong.

8 Not checking your content

Remember when YouTube tweeted the wrong flag for their 4th of July celebrations? And when Snapchat’s advert for a game app featured Rihanna and Chris Brown slapping and punching? Don’t just proofread your content; check your images and tags as well.

9 Ignoring online influence

Influencers these days are not just from TV, news and film. Your followers may also be influencers in their own field with huge followings. Treat them badly and they are going to share that out to all their fans. So make sure you are polite at all times. Check out their profiles, do a little research before you respond. You never know whom you are messaging.

10 Publishing wrong information

In the world of fake news, it is easy to break trust with your followers by make inaccurate statements – and then keep making them. Building a strong reputation online is achieved through authenticity. Don’t just head to the keyboard before checking, and checking again, that what you are saying is correct and honest. Getting your facts wrong can end up fuelling the cause you’re working against.

11 Forgetting to do your homework

Releasing a new product or service? Make sure you’ve Googled the name to check that it’s not a rude word somewhere else, culturally or historically sensitive or just plain offensive.

Think about the damage Kim Kardashian did with her Kimono brand of shape wear which offended most of Japan? Now think of the costs she had to cover changing the branding when she renamed it. Do your homework.

What to do next?

If you’re guilty of any of these, then contact EVC Marketing today and are worried about your online reputation. We can help you develop a reputation marketing strategy that builds up positive sentiment for your brand, reduces the impact of any negative practices and will prepare you if, and when, a crisis hits your business. Contact us today on +44 (0) 208 123 9273 or +1 239 444 8176 or by email.

If you’re looking to find out what your guests think about your brand, then CustomerCount® offers a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution. With detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities, CustomerCount’s feedback management identifies the issues, builds customer loyalty, and improves your bottom line. Contact Bob Kobek now by email or by telephone on 317-816-6000 for further information.


How to manage a brand reputation crisis

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By John Heffernan, digital marketing specialist, EVC Marketing

In today’s instant social media world, sadly, most brands will experience some form of crisis affecting the company brand, reputation, product or even personnel.

The one common trait is that the vast majority of businesses are wholly unprepared for such eventuality – despite the likely disruption to the business operation, reputation and finances.

To manage any crisis involves retrospective action – after the horse has bolted and so on. However, businesses today need to do more than just look back and learn the lessons.

Businesses need a robust reputation marketing strategy, producing positive sentiment and building the brand’s reputation before a crisis occurs. Then having systems in place to act when it does so.

A reputation marketing strategy is designed to manage the crisis and minimize the impact on brand and reputation. Being unprepared can lead to knee-jerk response, poor action and weak decision making from key stakeholders causing further and enhanced damage within an already difficult situation.

Without a strategy in place, the time to respond can also be delayed and this only adds to a potential ill-managed and inadequate rush to judgement.

Common reputation management statistics suggest that one negative article on the first page of search results can cause an estimated 25 per cent loss of business. That statistic alone should send shivers down the spine of any CEO.

Crisis management as part of your reputation marketing strategy
Crisis is a wide-ranging term and can be minor to catastrophic for your business

What is a crisis?

Crisis is a wide-ranging term and can be relatively minor to catastrophic and include:

  • Loss of data/security breach
  • Non-compliance to legal requirements
  • Product fault or recall
  • Social media, ex-employee or other vindictive comments (most often false)
  • Management resignations
  • Poor salesmanship/customer service

We should all be clear that where a crisis event is preventable, the damage that results must have a documented and clear response strategy.

Bad reviews can escalate out of control as a direct result of the crisis action taken and the minor can very soon become very major. And let’s face it, bad news still travels faster.

A professional and coordinated response has to be in place for such eventualities.

How to manage crisis prevention:

  • You must identify and train key stakeholders;
  • Assess and evaluate any areas of vulnerability – and encourage staff interaction and feedback;
  • Create a response/action process and a plan – tailored for potential crisis issues with a clear delegation of responsibilities and response budget allocation; and
  • Implement a reputation marketing process – be proactive not reactive!

If you need to nominate a face-to-the-public, ensure they are not only comfortable with PR, camera interviews, written statements and, of course, the full details of the crisis.

A key element of reputation marketing – proactive prevention – must include a look, listen and monitor process:

  • Online review sites/social media channels
  • Your own website comments/user-generated content
  • Google searches/Google Alerts

Your team must be focused on resolving the problem, communicating with the source of the problem and advising and training relevant internal staff involved with the problem.

Communicating your resolution actions (both internally and externally) is one-step towards re-building trust or limiting the damage caused.

Finally, with the potential of negative posts, comments, articles or Google Search listings, solving the problem has to be complemented by a range of positive actions to improve your brand digital standing.

Reputation marketing and reputation management working hand-in hand.

For more information and an audit of your brand risk contact EVC Marketing today on + 44 (0) 208 123 9273 or +1 239 444 8176.

You can also contact us on Facebook Messenger at m.me/evcmarketing and follow us on Facebook .

About EVC Marketing

John Heffernan and Emily Collins of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.  


Top 10 ways to keep your online clients happy

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By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

You might think reputation management is simply a matter of setting up your listening tools and working through your worst-case scenarios. But that really is just the first part of the job.

Having plans in place is one matter, making sure you keep your clients happy both on and off-line is something very different – and one of the biggest jobs of all. Here at EVC Marketing, we believe it requires a dedicated resource, sign-in from everyone at your resort business and an understanding of who your clients are, what they like and what you want to achieve.

When you have happy online clients, who know, like and trust you, your resort will benefit in a number of ways. From increased sales and rentals, to owner advocacy and ongoing support. So, it’s definitely worth the effort.

So how do you keep your clients happy? Here is our guide to the top 10 ways to create happy online clients – and keep them happy.

1. Define your ideal online clients

Take some time and write down ten key characteristics of your ideal client. What is their education level, what do they love to do on vacation, what do they value, how old are they, what do they all have in common? Knowing who they are will help you write for them in your blogs and posts, identify their issues and provide content and products that solve them.

2. Be clear about who you are and what you do

This is easier when you have a resort – you provide vacations. But be specific about the additional products and services you offer. Some of our owners and guests may be totally unaware of what you do other than check them in for a week each year.

3. Keep your tone empathetic and understanding

A time will come when you get a rude or irrational comment on a blog or social media. And it will be hurtful and frustrating. But don’t rush in with knee-jerk aggressive reply. Our experience at EVC Marketing is that sometimes your loyal fans jump in and reply to the comment in your defense. We call this owner advocacy and it’s amazingly powerful. So keep a level head and reply in a positive voice moving any further conversation to private channels like email or messenger.

4. Be generous to your online clients

No, we don’t mean giving away vacations! But be generous when it comes to the information, training and news you provide through your channels. Recognize those who contribute to the success of your resort, feature them in your posts and blogs, invite them to special events and ask for their views. For too long, resort teams have held owners at a distance. It’s time to change the dynamic. Let them know they are special to you and they’ll become your best brand ambassadors and owner advocates.

5. Be authentic

Think about the image you want to cultivate online as part of your brand. Then write about the things that fit in with that image. If you’re a family resort, then make that clear in your posts and blogs. If you’re a couple’s resort, the messaging is going to be very different. If your resort is based in Florida, then there is no reason to write about Hawaii. And remember to keep up to date with trends so that you’re writing and posting fresh content and not what happened two months ago.

Keep client happy online
Top tips to keeping your clients happy online

6. Stay focused

Remembering what your aims and objectives are means that you won’t stray from your message. If you know that your blogging and posting is ultimately about generating vacation rentals, you’ll stop you writing about things that take you off message and upset your fan base.

7. Use a social media monitoring service

Using tools such as Google Alerts and Mention are a great way to track your brand’s reputation online. However, occasions may arise when you need to hire a social media monitoring service. Don’t try and do it all yourselves if there is an issue. Outsourcing to experienced teams, like EVC Marketing, can make a huge difference – so be open to it.

8. Be engaging, meaningful and entertaining

Show your personality, have fun with your owners and rental guests and provide them with what they are looking for. If that means lots of lovely images of your resort and surrounding area, then post them. If your owners love particular staff members, then post staff birthdays and anniversaries so they can congratulate them. Have a funny photo from behind the scenes? Post it. Your owners and guests will love you for it.

9. Connect with online clients as friends

One of the most wonderful aspects of a vacation ownership resort is that you can build long-term relationships with your owners. Treat them like friends and not sales targets and you’ll get more from the relationship.

10. Tell your story

Share your background story and let everyone know why you’re in the vacation ownership business. Let them see your passion for your resort, explain your plans for the future and why their vacation happiness is behind every decision you make.

These days, keeping your owners and rental guests happy is more than just ensuring their apartment is clean and ready when they arrive. It’s a year-round effort of constant communication that ensures they continue to pay their maintenance fees, book additional vacation rentals, refer their family and friends and come back year after year.

To find out more about EVC Marketing and our reputation management and marketing services, you can email or give us a call today on +1 239 444 8176 or +44 0208 123 9273.


Reputation Management versus Reputation Marketing

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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.

reputation-management-vs-reputation-marketing

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.

Trends

  • 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.

Social monitoring

  • 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.
reputation-management-vs-reputation-marketing

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.

Learn

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.

What next?

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.