Since almost half of the world’s population has access to the internet, people have the power to talk about your brand and affect your public image. It may be affected either positively or negatively, however, the most important thing here, is recognizing that no brand can escape from being criticized by its customers. Moreover, customers have the right to freedom of opinion and internet has brought innumerable ways for everyone to express their views on anything.
Therefore, being aware that your brand will always be in the spotlight is a step forward for those who want to get into the art of managing reputation in any way. Once you state it as a priority, you can start to follow these simple but very effective tips that will definitely help you to monitor, control, and turnaround negatives in brand loyalty.
- Be proactive instead of reactive: as an alternative to waiting for things to happen, you must want to know what your customers are talking about your brand. The continuous measurement of their level of satisfaction regarding your brand is the beginning of your strategy. At first, brand monitoring process sounds challenging for almost everyone, when trying to gather on one page all the comments that a brand can get every day through its social media platforms. On top of that, you may want to analyze all this information and get some clear trends to work on it. However, the existence of very useful tools such as Mention, Social Mention, and Brandwatch can help you to easily do that, even if you are a beginner in the field. These sources are for nothing complicated to use, they will only ask you to register so they can track your business’ exposure, and in only seconds they will give you valuable insights about your performance.
- Response time matters: in the case of having a complaint from a customer on your social media platforms, you must reply as fast and polite as possible. If the matter is time to manage all your costumer’s feedback, you can use powerful social tools like Hootsuite to save time supporting your clients. You do not want them to become impatient so they will unleash a wave of negative comments against you. This is the case of British Airways when a customer asks for support regarding lost baggage but the airline does not give a prompt response, so the customer clearly criticizes their support service hours on Twitter.
- Another important factor to consider when you are facing criticism is the politeness on your answers. It will determine how your clients see you and how well respected you are among your customers. Here is a basic tip, if you cannot instantaneously solve the problem you must get in touch with them, using a phrase like “We are aware of the problem”, “thank you for letting us know about it”, or “we are working on it and will get back to you as soon as we can”. However, there is an exception when your clients use defamatory language or false information, only in this cases, comments can be considered as illegal and you can decide between delete them or using SEO techniques to minimize their reach.
- Turnaround your bullhorn to actively listen to your customers: by using marketing intelligence for your business, you can actually take advantage of your critics and learn how to improve your weaknesses. Most of the time, your detractors are not competitors or illegitimate aggressors, in fact, they are your customers who have bad experiences with your services and products. Consequently, in order to improve the quality of your offers, you must pay attention to these signs, analyze them and use them through the decision-making process in determining marketing opportunities and strategies. So track your brand name’s mentions and bring the issues to your development team so they can early fix those issues.Source
- Create a customer complaints service platform: the benefits of having a specialized section on your homepage to address customer objections are valuable for you and your clients. First of all, you can have a direct channel to manage person to person all the possible issues, bringing prompt and efficient support to your customers. In addition, your clients can reach you quickly and they will have more chance to explain the situation without limit characters. Finally, once your clients get used to managing this source for their complaints, you will about discussions that can turn into a personal conflict.
- Make sure that everyone in your company follows your brand values: employees and directors must recognize the importance of being representative of your brand, so the audience will pay attention to them too. CEO’s reputation affect how a company is portrayed in the media, for example, the case of GoDaddy CEO Rob Parsons who was extremely criticized by releasing a video of himself hunting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe. Even though, he later explained it by saying that elephants destroy crops in the area and because of that people die each year from starvation. There was a viral response against Parsons, including PETA who launched a camping encouraging people to close their GoDaddy.com accounts and send an email to him to express theirs disagree.Source
- Learn from your mistakes and be radically transparent: nobody is exempt from making mistakes and the most important thing is how well you overcome them. To wisely manage mistakes on the social media you must face them by being clear, humble and giving a real solution to those who were affected. Using phrases like “We want to offer our most sincere apologies…” “We kindly ask for your understanding and patient…” will help you to smoothly approach your injured clients and take the best results from those situations. This is the case of the Volkswagen scandal on social media when the company was accused of violating its CARB and EPA emissions standards. However, they replied with a well-prepared camping recognizing their culpability and ensuring remedy the problem.Source
This concludes the practical guide, now you just need to follow this tips to conduct your brand’s reputation as well as you do with your own. Keep in mind that if you do not work with your social media, the social media will work against you, so start searching for how people perceive your company and be able to improve it no matter your particular situation.
About the Author: Cristina Perez, Marketing Specialist in Social Media Analytics. Post-Graduate Student of Seneca College, providing useful information to help marketers to discover a world of opportunities.