By Lucy Goodwin
In today’s challenging markets, where trust is diminishing, and the public is more intolerant to corporates’ mistakes and ill-thought decisions and sets higher expectations – on both the global and local levels, customers are becoming empowered and aware of the complex market forces and regulations. Today’s customers are keen to access more information, which is a relatively easy in this digital era with higher connectivity through social media and platforms. More than two-thirds of the internet users use one or more of the popular social networks and one of every six minutes spent online is spent networking through one of those platforms.
Andrew Griffin once said: “Reputation is an outcome,” and your digital reputation is no exception. Your business presence on the World Wide Web will establish the customers’ confidence and appreciation of your brand. However, in building your digital reputation, you may face several challenges. One of the most challenging tasks that businesses face is how to develop a digital reputation strategy while thinking globally and acting locally.
Throughout my decades of experience in the field of reputation management, I learned that to build your business digital reputation strategy, you need to focus on three pillars: identity, brand, and image. The three components of your digital reputation will determine your business visibility in the market and the public opinion of your business. Well managed digital reputation will enhance your web page ranking on the leading platforms such as Alexa and Google.
Some corporates and businesses started hiring Digital Relations Managers, a job that emerged from the changes that swept our world the last few decades. I believe that the internet seldom forgets anything, especially the adverse incidents, that is why you need to pay a particular attention of how your company, business, organization or even yourself is presented online.
What are the attributes of your business that is distinctive? Which of these attributes are enduring? How do you communicate and build your relationships with your stakeholders? How do you articulate your corporate narratives and share the same on your webpage, social media, wikis, and blogs?
All these are questions you need to think about as well as listen to internal and external signs. You have to bear in mind that all your communications should reflect your ability to deliver what your business promise your clients, and continuously remind them of the value proposition you offer them. Stay away from ambiguity and generalization like “best quality,” “lowest prices,” “market leader” and so on. Focus on verifiable facts, use numbers and statistics and demonstrate your expertise.
Your brand is distinguished using symbols, colors, text and visual elements. Your digital brand uses the same elements and components of your physical brand. So, when you design your webpage, and social media accounts use your brand colors, symbols, and motto. Enforce your branding standards on all your digital communications and be consistent in using all your branded elements. To ensure such consistency, assign a single point of contact to approve all your digital communications and assure adherence to established standards.
The right digital social media branding strategy will empower your company to build an excellent brand recognition by communicating your message to your audience clearly. The way you display numbers and statistics about your business in an infographic, for example, should follow the same branding guidelines and focus on your value proposition.
Your image is a critical component of your digital brand; it represents how the minds of your customers visualize what you promise them. Think of Coca-Cola, all the images they use convey their promise: happiness and joy and fun.
One important thing to do to build your e-reputation is to create an online community. Encourage your customers to share pictures of your products, talk about their experience with your employee and rate the services they received. Make your communication with your community personal by encouraging your employees to use their pictures (so people link a face to a name), use customers’ names, and sign using their first names.
Having a continuous dialogue with your customers opens up new opportunities for managing your digital reputation and always have a response team ready to check all the images uploaded online that is relate to your business. A client might publish a photo he or she took while waiting in your HQ or a picture of your product, and you need to make sure that you are aware of what is published either to thank the uploader if the image of your business is positive or to respond to negative feedback.
Originally posted 2016-10-21 20:11:35.