The following post was written by Matt Polsky, the Senior Content and Reputation Manager of VA Mortgage Center.
Currently, business must have a web presence in order to grow and survive. However, that presence cannot simply be a single page on the web; it must be a multi-faceted, ever evolving campaign to promote the company’s brand. According to a Pew Internet and American Life study, 78 percent of all potential patrons with access to the internet review a business online prior to contacting the business, and if they do not find a clear and positive indication of what the business’ mission and products or services are, you can guarantee they will go elsewhere.
Brands are what drive many businesses, and unfortunately, many businesses end managing their brands at their websites or with simple search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. Because of the numerous online review platforms available, reputation management is imperative as it can greatly increase a company’s brand power. Typical ways that proper online reputation management enhances a brand include:
Forums, discussion boards, and social networking sites can easily be a breeding ground for negative comments about your brand, and if a potential patron comes across one of these comments while researching your business, they will most likely go to a competitor with a better image. To protect your brand from any potential naysayers, online reputation management must continuously be on the front of your agenda. Businesses should purchase all domain names related to their business and frequently perform keyword searches to determine what is being said about the company. More advanced SEO techniques should also be used so that only sites with positive reviews on your business see the first page of search results.
Increased Brand Visibility
Achieving the top positions in the search engines has historically been a great way for businesses to achieve greater visibility; however, it is no longer enough. With various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that carry millions of users, companies must promote their brands on these channels as well. Tweeting and posting can be great ways to spur community involvement and build brand advocates; however, Twitter and Facebook are two different beasts, so be careful not to make social media mistakes. With Facebook, posting once a day is enough to keep from flooding a newsfeed and angering a customer into unliking your site. On the other hand, Twitter users are used to seeing 3-5 tweets a day and are less concerned about how many times you post.
Complaints will happen, so be prepared in advance. Whether it is a complaint on your Facebook wall or on a neutral reviews site, handle it with speed and care. Show good will to the customer and try to resolve the issue. Even if nothing can be done to please a specific customer, it is still in the best interest of the company and your brand to show other customers that you do care and are willing to resolve any problems. It is also a good practice to comment on positive reviews as well, thanking the customers for their patronage, which can build repeat customers and brand advocates.
Proper brand management is the first step in gaining positive national and global recognition. If potential clients are able to readily find you throughout the internet and read nothing but positive things about your company, you can guarantee that they will be eager to support your business.
Matt Polsky is the Senior Content Manager and Reputation Manager for VA Mortgage Center, managing VA Mortgage Center complaints and reviews, and providing insights learned from the nation’s leading provider of VA home loans.