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.  


How to manage negative customer feedback

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By John Heffernan, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

negative customer feedback management
One situation, two points of view

What is customer feedback?

At its simplest level, customer feedback is authenticated and continuous measurement and reporting of customer experience in order to manage.

What is negative feedback?

Some may say that negative customer feedback is a response to poor service, poor product, poor salesmanship or at worst, a combination of each.

In truth, and readily backed by statistical surveys and analysis, we (and I do mean you and I) including our clients and prospects, are all too keen to complain and to highlight and share perceived negativity.

The fact remains that positive feedback remains the poor child to an overwhelming majority of negativity. This is fed by the ease of social media and email, offering shielded anonymity and instant gratification with aggressive, self-righteous and, sometimes, valid comments, posts, likes and mentions.

The business impact of negative feedback

From a business perspective, the impact on brands can be minor all the way through to calamitous.

Indeed, many major complaints have escalated from a small issue that was badly managed, ignored or remained unresolved.

We all make mistakes; we all have examples of client complaints that caused major issues where we have differing perspectives on the actual truth and events.

The old adage of the customer being always right may still hold true, but it is being stretched to breaking point by all too often unrealistic or unwarranted negative feedback.

The image cartoon above is a light-hearted way to depict a difference of opinion and negativity, which is often sourced from a polarized view of events.

How to manage negative customer feedback

Customer feedback, positive or negative, can be attained in a variety of ways including;

  • Online Feedback and Surveys
  • Customer service responses
  • Individual complaints
  • Social and digital media including ratings sites

Perhaps the focus should be on:

  • Improving your brand reputation (Reputation Management);
  • Brand strategies to encourage positivity and 5-star reviews;
  • Highlighting internal issues/training to prevent issues arising;
  • Management buy-in and training on feedback management;
  • Posting positive feedback to encourage more positivity (Reputation Marketing); and
  • Having a plan!

In any form of sales training, sales being the foremost contact with a potential or existing client, a salesman is instructed to listen more than they speak. And any salesman will tell you, that is a task more onerous than it sounds!

Negative customer feedback managment
How to manage negative customer feedback

Two ears and one mouth!

With two ears and one mouth we should all listen at least twice as much as we speak. And listening may be the first step on the road to solving negative feedback.

  • What is the problem?
  • Is it siloed or potentially more widespread?
  • Is the fault genuine and attributable?
  • Can the negative be resolved with positive response?

One way of managing negative feedback is to remember that an argument often has two sides and perhaps no ends.

If you can agree on the problem and resolution (perhaps without admittance of liability), the situation can usually be managed and an unhappy client becomes a satisfied advocate.

The skill in moving negative to positive cannot be underestimated in terms of customer service and lifetime value. Some important aspects to keep in mind include:

Listening

But when listening, the key is to actually hear what is being said!

Emotions

You must distance knee-jerk or emotional reactions from a professional and caring stance.

The problem

Being argumentative or taking the moral high ground will only serve to escalate the problem. Get to the root of the problem. What is the problem? Ask questions, review the issue and consider the personal impact to the customer.

Resolution

A resolution has to be two-way. It has to be satisfactory enough to turn the source into an advocate and sufficient enough to work for each party.

Lessons learned

Share the solution, resolve the root cause, train and continue to train key staff, continue to review plans and strategy.

Be positive

Positivity will win out!

Take steps and move forward with positive steps. Develop a positive brand reputation. And put resources into positive brand management.

CustomerCount delivers branded survey communications direct to your owners, clients and guests with questions that maximize response rates and get you the information you need.

Used as part of your reputation management and reputation marketing strategies, our surveys help you discover issues before they become negative feedback. And they support your daily activities providing real-time customer feedback that meets your business needs.

To find out more about our customer feedback management solutions, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

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.  


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.