7 Online reputation monitoring strategies for agencies

As the old saying goes, reputation is everything. In fact, the World Economic Forum reports that more than 25 percent of a company’s revenue relates to reputation (RM Magazine). It’s no wonder businesses take their brand reputations seriously.

Reputation monitoring and management have become even more vital in recent years. Consumers have more power and influence than ever. It’s easy to leave a review—positive or negative—or to put a company on blast with just a few clicks.

Download “Why reputation management matters: A churn study” for data-based strategies on retaining clients longer using online reputation management.

This reality also means reputation management has become a bigger job. Most business leaders are aware of this fact, too. At the same time, very few have the tools they need to make significant change. As a result, reputation monitoring and management often get the short end of the stick.

That’s where agencies can step up to the plate for their customers. They may not have the resources to track their reputation 24/7, but with the right tools, your agency does.

Of course, strategy also plays a role. Check out these seven strategies to track clients’ online reputations in the most effective way possible.

1. Centralize client listings across locations and platforms

You and your team have already answered the question “what is reputation management?” Now you want to move toward better monitoring. The first step in effective reputation monitoring is getting everything under one roof.

Online reputation management is a time-intensive job because it’s split across platforms. You need to pay attention to Google, Yelp, Yahoo!, Bing, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and more. You also need to make sure you’re keeping tabs on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms.

Centralizing all of a client’s mentions, listings, and reviews simplifies the process. Instead of checking each platform, say, once a day, your team can track every review and mention as it comes in. Updating information across platforms is also easier. Instead of changing information on every platform, you can do the update once and make the change everywhere at once.

Working in a more centralized way removes challenges like staying up to date and ensuring timely responses. By streamlining, you can be more effective in monitoring the conversation around your clients’ brands.

2. Keep your ear to the (digital) ground

This next strategy is often called “social listening” (Business2community). It allows you to tap in to every mention of your client’s brand or business across various platforms.

Social listening allows you to see who is saying what and where. That, in turn, can offer insight into how people perceive your client's brand.

Keeping tabs on the conversation across platforms helps your team see how many mentions the client has. It might also provide a look at the tone of the conversation. People might be saying a lot, but are they talking about the brand in a positive way? Maybe you’re running an ad campaign that’s stirred a lot of chatter. Social listening can tell you if you’ve hit a home run with the campaign—or if you’ve struck out with customers.

This strategy can also give you advance warning of brewing crises. If the tone of the conversation isn’t positive, then it might be time to call a meeting. A “damage control” workflow might be the next step.

3. Be responsive (not reactive) in online reputation monitoring

Social listening doesn't cover every aspect of reputation monitoring. Responding to mentions or reviews, for example, is beyond its scope. Listening is more of a data-gathering activity.

At the same time, responding to what you hear is another important strategy in online reputation management. Every mention and every review should garner a response from the team (BusinessNewsDaily).

Having a framework for how to respond is helpful, even when the chatter is generally positive. It’s also helpful when a negative conversation or review might spark a poor response from the client. The framework can guide the response to a positive resolution. At the same time, it can keep the tone of the conversation positive.

Responding may not seem like “monitoring,” but it’s part and parcel of it. On a platform like YouTube or Twitter, even a positive conversation can turn negative in just a few comments. You might feel it’s better to ignore negative reviews. Without a response, though, your client loses control of the conversation—and their reputation. Responding the right way can influence other customers. They want to see how a brand responds to negative feedback.

What if the idea of responding to every review overwhelms your team? Then it's time to team up with a white-label reputation management service. Their experts can help you develop a framework for responding. They can also ensure responses are delivered in a timely way.

4. Make sure you include a review strategy

As you know, responding to reviews is only one part of the online reputation management role. Another key part is monitoring how many reviews your clients have and working to get new ones for them. More reviews—and positive reviews especially—can help them win over would-be customers.

Reviews boost consumer confidence, but they also help local SEO. This bump makes your clients’ brands more visible to people searching on Google. In turn, these people are more likely to seek out your client’s brand or products.

Just like you need a strategy for responding to reviews, you should also invest in one for keeping tabs on reviews. This strategy should include ways to encourage customers to leave reviews. In turn, you can watch the numbers rise.

5. Leverage technology for better online reputation monitoring

Technology is the greatest resource you have for online reputation management. The sheer number of platforms that allow customer conversation makes it unwieldy to respond to everything.

It’s the number-one reason your clients don’t have time to manage their reputations themselves. Even your team may feel overwhelmed. It’s more than likely that they’ll miss a mention or a review every now and then.

Automation might be one of the best friends you have here. You can set up various tracking to keep better tabs on platforms. You can zero in on certain conversations or hashtags.

In some cases, automation tools can help you respond automatically to particular customers. It’s easy to leave an automated “thank you” response for a customer who gives you a good review. You can even automate responses to some negative messages. You could automate a response expressing regret when a customer posts about having trouble with a product. The message can invite them to get in touch with the team.

Using AI to drive better brand insights

You can also use technology to power insights into your clients’ brands. You can use social listening to help quantify how people perceive the brand.

A business intelligence tool can take things a step further. You can crunch the numbers and see how customer perception has shifted over time. You can then tie that information back to events, such as rolling out a new ad campaign or launching a new logo.

White-label reputation management software combines many of these tools and centralizes your efforts. It also gives your clients access to an expert team that can help them stay on top of their reputations.

6. Keep tabs on the competition

Another strategy for monitoring your clients’ online reputation is to keep tabs on their competitors. You might not think watching the competition can tell you much about your clients’ brands, but there are plenty of insights to be gleaned. How are their brands stacking up against other players in the industry? What does your client do that’s different from the rest?

You might notice that one company in particular is knocking it out of the park. You can examine what they’re doing and take lessons from their strategy. Maybe they engage their customers in a real and authentic way. Maybe they’re good at delivering their brand message.

You might also be able to find weaknesses that your client’s brand can capitalize on. Another company might be the market leader, but they aren’t as innovative. Could you help your client position themselves in a new way in the market? Are they in a better position to respond to what competitors’ customers are looking for?

This kind of monitoring can show you what your clients are doing well. It also illuminates how they stand out from the competition.

7. Tell your clients’ stories

Finally, don’t forget to tell your clients’ stories. Online reputation monitoring may not seem to leave much room for brand storytelling. In some ways, though, it’s fundamental to every part of reputation management.

Listening to the on-the-ground responses from customers gives you real-time feedback. With it, you instantly know if you’re getting the message across or not. You can also discover what people want to hear from your client—and which messages aren’t landing the right way.

Keeping an eye on the competition can show you opportunities to help your clients stand out. That’s another storytelling opportunity. It lets you tell people what your clients do—and what they do better than “the other guys.”

Finally, every response is a chance to engage in storytelling. You probably won't put the brand history in a comment. You and your client, however, can craft responses that weave in and support the brand’s beliefs and values.

Team up to wrangle online reputations the smart way

There’s much more to online reputation management than simply asking for reviews or optimizing a Google Business profile. In the same way, there’s more to online reputation monitoring than keeping tabs on conversations, too.

Monitoring, managing, and improving your clients’ reputations can be easier. The right white-label reputation management software can help you help your clients grow. With these tools and the right team, it's easier to deliver the results they want. At the same time, you can keep delivering the same outstanding service they trust while showing them your value as their digital expert.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

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