Online reputation is a concept that not everyone is quite sure how to define, or that they think that having a good or bad online reputation depends solely and exclusively on the work done by the brand and how it faces up to adversity. However, this is not always the case.
do you also think you are wrong about the definition of this concept? Read this post and you will find out what online reputation really is, as well as some tricks to improve yours.
Definition of online reputation
Online reputation is nothing more than the prestige or "stigma" that a brand has on the Internet. However, it does not depend entirely on the brand to have a good or bad reputation, but rather on a series of elements that will help to build it. Among these elements, we can highlight two different types:
- Internal elements: This includes the factors that the brand itself and its employees can control: how they have been moving through the internet, social networks, etc. over time and how they have been acting and responding to negative experiences.
- External elements: This factor is made up of all those reviews, comments and information in general provided by users outside the company: consumers, visitors to our website, etc.
At this point it is also important to differentiate between online reputation and brand image, two concepts that many users tend to mix up and think that they are the same. However, this is not the case. Online reputation is the perception and stigma that a company has exclusively on the Internet, while brand image encompasses all the relationships that have taken place between customer and brand.
Brand image, therefore, depends on how the company has interacted with the user and the messages it has sent to the public, whereas online reputation depends on external elements that are beyond our control.
Although online reputation does not depend 100% on us and the message we send about our brand, it is important to take care of it, maintain it in a positive way and in the case of having a bad reputation, improve it and avoid finding ourselves again with a bad valuation of our company on the Internet.
Keys that I must comply with to improve my online reputation
If we want to start improving our online reputation, the first thing to do is to find out where it stands. Knowing how others perceive our brand on the Internet will be the first step to find out which things we should improve and which we should maintain.
To do this, we can make a series of simple queries on search engines, especially Google as it is the most used by the majority of the population, and look at the results that appear when we enter searches such as:
- Name of our brand + opinions.
- Name of ourproducts or services + opinions.
After the search, you should write down all the aspects that you have found on the internet with negative points for your brand, indicating which factors are most "attacked", i.e. the aspects that have the most negative evaluations or that users have most criticised about you.
It is also important to know what is being said about our company on social networks. Social networks are one of the main tools that users have today to obtain information about brands and their products or services and which significantly influence our online reputation.
When positioning our brand on social networks, we must take into account multiple factors such as:
- Interaction with users: The role of the community manager is very important when it comes to building our online reputation because how he/she responds to users' doubts or complaints, the aspects he/she uses to justify him/herself, how quickly he/she answers users or if, on the contrary, he/she takes a long time to respond... They will make the user have an image of us and our brand.
- Negative reviews or comments: When a user leaves a negative review on Google or comments something negative on our website, it is important to know how to respond to them, offer help to improve their feeling of our brand... If we have not been able to prevent them from giving us a bad review, at least try to change their perception so as not to lose them as a customer.
Having seen all these external factors that can influence our online reputation, we can see what are the main keys that we must comply with to improve our online reputation:
- Be transparent and honest: We must be clear with the public and not mislead them about the characteristics of our products, because if our users receive a product that does not meet their expectations, they will end up giving us a negative opinion .
- Respond quickly and effectively at the same time: When a user asks us a question, it is because they are hesitating between choosing our products or those of our competitors. A quick, clear and understandable response will help them to choose our brand .
- Be accessible and close to the user: Users are not robots, although we do not see them because they are behind a screen, they are people who need the good treatment and closeness of the brand to choose it. If they find little from us, they will end up having a bad opinion of us .
- Be constructive critics with our own brand: Knowing how to accept criticism is one of the most important aspects when it comes to improving our online reputation. Understanding where we may have failed and recognising our mistakes will take us further.
- Add testimonials and good shopping experiences: Although we may have some negative reviews or comments, we also have users who have had a positive experience of our services. That is why we must give value to these reviews and include them, for example, on our website so that the next user who visits us will find real and positive testimonials about us .
- Be flexible and empathetic: Although we have designed our social media plan for social networks and we have certain activities scheduled, we must be prepared for a crisis situation in our online reputation and that our activity has to change. Be empathetic with the client and get to work to try to solve it as soon as possible.
Five reasons why I should take care of my online reputation
Now that we have seen what online reputation is and how it significantly influences multiple aspects of our brand, we are going to give you five reasons why it is essential to take care of yours:
- Online "research" is increasing: More and more users are resorting to internet searches about a brand and its products before buying them. If when these users search for us they only find negative opinions, they will not buy our services either and this will lead us to have fewer and fewer customers.
- Online reputation is closely linked to SEO positioning: Google takes into account both the internal organisation of a company and its reputation to position it higher or lower in the search engine.
- Brand image will be affected: If we have negative opinions online, this will affect the brand image we have and will also influence how we are viewed by audiences other than just the online public.
- Loyalty depends on online reputation: Brands that have a good online reputation will have an easier time than their competitors in gaining long-term customers or keeping existing customers.
- Trust in users: As we have already mentioned throughout the post, whenever a brand has good online reviews, users trust it more and choose it when buying.
Now, with all these tips and advice, you can start working on your brand's reputation on the internet and, in the event that your online reputation starts to go astray, you can know how to improve it. And, above all, the most important thing is to bear in mind that how others see us does not depend solely and exclusively on how our company is projected , as there will be things that are beyond our control.
And you, are you ready to start working on your online reputation?