Online reputation: what is it and how to take care of it?

The Online Reputation It is a complex ecosystem that depends on many elements… and most of them are beyond our control. And yet, the success or failure of our company, or even our individual success as professionals, may depend on it.

The good news is that there are things we can do to improve online brand reputation, starting with a thorough understanding of what it is and how to manage it. Go for it!

What is online reputation?

We call “Online Reputation” to the prestige or esteem about a brand or a person on the internet. It is not completely under the control of this person or organization, since all Internet users can contribute to making it by providing their comments and opinions.

To understand it better, we can consider that online reputation is the sum of two complementary aspects:

  • The facts internalthat is, the information that the person or company shares about itself and the online actions it carries out over time.
  • External factorsthat is, all the information provided by other users, visitors or consumers.

It is also necessary to differentiate between Online Reputation and brand image. To begin with, the first refers exclusively to the Internet, while the second extends to all aspects of the relationship between the customer and the brand. But also, the control of the brand image is in the company itself (through the messages it spreads), while reputation always involves aspects that we cannot control.

Why is it important to take care of our online reputation?

  • Because online research has more weight every day. Before deciding to buy (especially for higher-priced products or services), most users conduct prior research on the Internet through search engines and review pages. If our brand is not highly valued and negative comments are easily accessible, it is very likely that the user will decide on another option.
  • Because online reputation is closely linked to SEO. When establishing the positioning of a page, Google takes into account both its internal organization and its reputation. Websites with a large number of inbound links and positive ratings are more likely to appear among the top positions in the search engine, which generates a large flow of visits.
  • Because it influences our prestige and brand image. Users tend to trust the opinions of other people similar to them, so comments about our brand will directly influence the positioning and mental image they form of us.
  • Because online reputation is related to loyalty. Brands that have “good press” have a much easier time getting users to stay with them long-term and even recommend them in public.
  • Because a good brand reputation generates trust in users. In the end, online reputation is like the whiting that bites its tail: the better comments we have, the more users will trust us, the more they will buy from us and become loyal, and the more likely they will be to leave us positive comments in turn.

How to measure online reputation

The Online Reputation It is not a static reality, but a target in constant motion. Therefore, to improve the health of your brand, you are interested in carrying out periodic checks.

What we are looking for in a digital reputation analysis is to get an idea of the results and conversations around our brand. To do this, we will start by defining a series of keywords, branded and non-branded, that users can search to obtain more information about our products and services.

To do a basic analysis, we can keep the first two pages of Google results and do a search for the selected terms on the main social networks.

If we want to go more in depth, we can hire one of the many tools available on the market. Here are five suggestions:

  1. BuzzWatcher: This tool has it all, as it is easy to handle, precise and affordable. Without a doubt, one of the reference solutions for marketers.
  2. Easy Social Media Monitoring: This tool allows you to examine the results around a person or a brand on different social networks. It is not the most precise, but it has the great advantage of being free, which allows us a first approximation to the analysis without the need to invest.
  3. Synthesio: This tool offers different services, to be configured depending on the needs of the company. It allows you to obtain information about customers and followers and measure the return on investment of online marketing actions.
  4. BlogMeter: a more premium tool, which offers a large amount of information in a very intuitive dashboard. It offers data from all social networks and has an associated consulting and development service. A good solution if you are looking to invest in your long-term reputation.
  5. Brandwatch– An ideal tool for in-depth analysis and reporting, as it allows unlimited access to thousands of conversations on social networks. It also analyzes online news and identifies key conversations around terms of interest.

Whatever the methodology you choose for your online reputation analysis, the essential thing is that you be attentive to collecting negative comments and complaints and use them to determine points to improve and actions for it.

Decalogue to take care of your online reputation

1) Research

To take care of your online reputation, first you need to know what state it is in. And for that, you will have to start investigating.

My recommendation is that you start by doing a series of simple searches on Google and analyze the results on the first page (at most, those on the second). These are the terms you should search for to start:

  • The name of your brand.
  • The name of each of your main products or services.
  • The name of the brand and products plus the term “opinion”.
  • The most relevant keywords in your sector. Here you can use tools like the Google Ads keyword planner or Semrush. You can also check Google’s Search Console to see the keywords your website is ranking for.

With all this information, analyze what your main weaknesses are. What type of sites do they appear on? What are the most frequent complaints? How do you think you could solve them?

2) Analyze the competition

The second step of the analysis is to go beyond your own brand and Look at what they say about your competitors’ products and services.. You can use the same terms as in the previous section, although you may prefer to do a slightly less exhaustive analysis.

In addition to seeing what your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are, also look at whether or not they respond to complaints and how they do it. I’m sure you can learn a lot from them!

3) Respond quickly and effectively

The vast majority of problems Online Reputation can be solved with a response in time that solves the user’s problem. With the massive use of the Internet, user expectations regarding waiting times have increased greatly, so you need to live up to it.

In addition to having employees available to solve problems at different times of the day, you can also consider chatbot-type tools to respond to the most common user problems.

4) Be honest

Sometimes, you won’t be able to give a user the solution or product they want. In those cases, the best response is always to tell the truth and not waste anyone’s time.

In addition to faithfully represent the characteristics of your product or serviceyou must also take care of the transparency. Sometimes it’s just a matter of communication, but if users get the impression that you’re showing your cards clearly, you’ll have a much easier time gaining their trust.

So show videos of using your products, explanatory texts, data, statistics and everything that is necessary so that users can get to know you in depth.

5) Be accessible and close

Gone are the days when brands could live on a pedestal. Now, the Internet has leveled the playing field and a much more “one-to-one” relationship is sought.

If a brand is not accessible, will produce an impression of remoteness and coldness and will make users not enjoy interacting with it. On the other hand, if you manage toestablish a connection and a dialogueyou will get users to be loyal to the brand and see all your actions with better eyes.

If your followers talk about you, do not hesitate to generate conversation with them directly and among equals.

6) Take care of the shapes

The story of online reputation It is plagued by crises caused by impertinent, funny community managers who got things wrong or who were simply having a bad day. Do not be one of them!

For example, the community manager of the Mexican company Telcel asked users for mercy because the matter was complicated.

When responding to online users, whether they are casual visitors or loyal customers, think about always doing so with a smile, even if it is virtual. Always be polite, listen to them and respond to their comments with kindness. The details count, a lot.

7) Practice empathy

The emotional intelligence and empathy They not only serve us in personal relationships, but also to improve our dealings with clients.

One of the secrets of emotional intelligence It is understanding that almost everyone believes they are right… from their point of view. And this also applies to users who complain about your brand on the internet.

So instead of getting defensive, try to understand what led them to complain. Sometimes it is a matter of subjective preferences (it is impossible to please everyone), but other times you can find flaws and aspects to polish that will help you improve your brand in the long term.

Whatever the case, always put yourself in the user’s shoes, respond empathetically and even appreciate their comments. Surely you can learn something from them.

8) Have a plan… but be flexible

Manage online reputation requires a mix of planning and improvisation. Based on the research you have done and your previous experiences, You can prepare a catalog of complaints and common situations and have a series of standard responses planned.. But there will always be events that go off script. In that case, be prepared to adapt the plan and always think about how to adapt the response to your brand values.

9) Use social proof

Human beings are one “copies” by nature. If our friends like something, it has many points for us to like too. Therefore, it is a good idea to harness the power of social proof to improve online reputation branded. A very useful strategy is to publish positive user comments and testimonials on your own website and social networks. Of course, make sure they sound…