Knowing how to create an effective reputation management plan for your personal or professional brand is important to every business, organization and working professional. A reputation management plan may involve the use of consultants, agencies and specialized tools. With a thorough understanding of what reputation management is and how to create a reputation management plan, you can effectively manage your brand's reputation on your own. In this article, we discuss what reputation management is, how to create an effective reputation management plan, and why it's important.
What is reputation management?
Reputation management is the process of managing and improving how others perceive your business, organization or you personally by monitoring your brand's reputation on the internet, engaging with customers and responding to negative feedback or comments appropriately. Your brand's reputation is based on the reviews, comments and conversations your customers say about you both in-person and online. This has a major impact on how well you are able to perform as a professional and how successful your business or organization is. The primary goal of a reputation management plan is to make sure your brand is being represented accurately.
Why is reputation management important?
Reputation management is important because it helps you ensure your brand's message is being portrayed the way you want, improves the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns, keeps you and your company actively engaged with customers and the community, and builds your brand's credibility and customer loyalty. An effective reputation management plan can also protect your brand from negative feedback and reviews that could have a major impact on your business if ignored or not handled appropriately.
How to create an effective reputation management plan
Follow these steps to create an effective reputation management plan for your business or organization:
- Perform preliminary research.
- Establish your brand's presence.
- Create a response plan.
- Handle negative feedback quickly and appropriately.
- Build on the positives.
- Measure your results.
- Monitor your brand.
1. Perform preliminary research
The first step in creating an effective reputation management plan is to perform preliminary research to determine what information is already available about your brand online. A good reputation management plan begins with knowing what people are saying about you. There are several different ways you can find this information.
Preliminary research may include things such as performing a search for your company or name on major search engine websites, reading comments and reviews made about your company or yourself on social media profiles and consumer review websites, and reviewing comments and reviews about your brand. You can also use tools to monitor when new reviews are posted about your company or when someone mentions your company's name online.
2. Establish your brand's presence
Your next step is to establish your brand's presence on the internet if you don't already have one. If you are an individual, this could be doing something as simple as creating a social media profile or uploading your resume to a professional career site. If you are a business owner or a marketing professional, this could involve creating a website for your company, making sure your company's general information is indexed with major search engines and actively engaging with the community and your customers on company social media profiles.
Related: 7 Ways To Market a Small Business
3. Create a response plan
The next step in creating a reputation management plan is deciding when and how to respond to reviews and comments made about your brand. Factors to consider when creating a response plan include determining who will decide whether a comment or review needs a response and how they will make this decision, deciding who will write your responses, and deciding the type of tone and message to be used in responses. Having a plan for how to address responses to comments and reviews about your brand ensures that responses are effective and consistent with your brand's messaging.
4. Handle negative feedback quickly and appropriately
One of the most important steps in your brand's reputation management plan is knowing when and how to respond to negative feedback. Generally, it is best to respond to negative feedback, reviews and comments as quickly as possible. It is also important to make sure your responses are professional, polite, honest and friendly. You can also use the information you receive from negative feedback or complaints to determine whether changes need to be made within your company, and then communicate those changes publicly.
Even if you can't provide detailed information or a resolution in your initial response, a prompt response acknowledging you are aware of the issue and are working on finding a resolution to the problem can be more effective than simply ignoring the comment or waiting too long to respond. You can then write a follow-up response once you have had time to find a resolution to the issue. Doing this shows your customers you care about their opinions and will put in the effort needed to resolve issues or complaints.
5. Build on the positives
There will hopefully be many more positive reviews and comments made about your brand than there are negative comments or reviews. Encouraging customers who are happy with your products or services to provide feedback or write reviews can also help you get more positive reviews and comments. These positive reviews and comments can help build your brand's credibility and raise brand awareness. Responding to the positive reviews and comments shows you appreciate the feedback, care about what your customers have to say and could lead to additional positive messages being shared about your brand.
6. Measure your results
Once you have created and implemented your brand's reputation management plan, you will need to gather information and data to measure the effectiveness of your reputation management plan. There are several tools available that you can use to monitor reviews and mentions about your brand, obtain a grade for your brand's messaging and gather insights such as domain authority and web traffic. These insights can be valuable when measuring the effectiveness of your reputation management plan.
7. Monitor your brand
Once your brand reputation management plan is running effectively, it is important to continue to monitor your brand's reputation to ensure your reputation management plan works effectively. With time, you may need to go back to the beginning steps and perform research to make sure you haven't missed any reviews or comments and to ensure your brand is being represented accurately. You should also review your brand's reputation management plan regularly and make improvements as needed.