Given the speed at which information travels today, managing a client’s reputation requires an ongoing commitment. They might have an excellent reputation today, but without regularly implementing various types of reputation management, they can miss important developments and quickly find themselves in a position where their reputation is negatively impacting their bottom line.
Have a client retention problem? Download “Why reputation management matters: A churn study” for data-backed strategies on retaining clients longer using online reputation management.
In this article, we’ll help you prevent this situation with an overview of 9 essential types of online reputation management that you should implement as part of a robust, effective reputation management strategy for clients.
Table of Contents
- Review Management
- Brand mention monitoring
- Social media management
- SEO optimization
- Paid media
- Reputation attack monitoring
- Public relations
- Reputation marketing
What is reputation management?
Reputation management is the aggregate of activities that a business can conduct to promote a positive reputation. A business’s reputation is an important factor in determining whether or not a prospective customer will choose to buy a product or service from them. The different types of online reputation management encompass different ways a business can influence its perception online. These techniques can be either proactive or reactive: Both are important when it comes to creating a reputation management strategy that will effectively boost and protect the reputation of a brand.
In other words, reputation management includes activities that promote a positive image of a brand, as well as damage control activities that mitigate situations that have the potential to hurt a brand’s reputation.
Why are different types of reputation management important?
In the past, people received cues about a business’s reputation from far fewer sources; They might see occasional ads or media mentions, and receive word-of-mouth recommendations or criticism from close friends and family with whom they regularly spoke. Thanks to the internet and social media, all of that has changed.
Today’s businesses have to contend with real-time reviews, brand mentions, social media posts, and SEO updates that can rapidly impact their reputations. If a brand’s reputation sours, they risk losing a significant amount of sales in the process. This makes the use of a variety of types of reputation management non-negotiable for any business that wants to grow today.
Let’s dive into the 8 key types of online reputation management you can start implementing immediately to grow your clients’ reputations—or right the ship if things have already gone off-course.
1. Review management
No reputation management plan is complete without the implementation of a review management strategy. Reviews play a hugely influential role in how a business is perceived, and opting out of them altogether isn’t really possible (or advisable).
Today’s customers seek out online information before making buying decisions, and reviews are one of their most trusted sources of intel. Consider the fact that 78% of American consumers report researching products and services online before making a purchase, coupled with the reality that 8 out of 10 of those users have changed their minds about buying something based on information they read online.
Reviews occupy the position that personal recommendations among peers did in the past. It’s important to ensure prospective customers can access plenty of positive and recent reviews so they can feel confident buying from your client. It’s also vital to address reviews, both positive and negative. This shows everyone reading the review section of their website that the business cares about feedback and respects its customer base enough to thank them for taking the time to leave a positive review (or to address concerns in a negative review).
Negative reviews are, of course, undesirable, but just about every business receives them occasionally. Rather than letting them wreak havoc on your client’s reputation, having an excellent review management strategy in place ensures that they are caught and addressed in a timely manner. This gives your client the opportunity to turn a negative reputational cue into a positive one.
How to implement review management
Managing reviews manually becomes very difficult as your business grows. Review management isn’t just about monitoring and addressing reviews on a client’s website. It also includes the dozens, or even hundreds, of other websites on which reviews can appear. That’s why having the right tools to handle the job is essential.
There are many different types of online reputation management services available for review management that enable you to monitor and respond to reviews at scale. Vendasta’s review management solution, Reputation Management, is the perfect tool for the job. With it, you can monitor reviews on over 100 websites from a single dashboard, so you never miss one. You can also respond directly from the dashboard, so there is no need to log into different accounts to address reviews. Plus, thanks to AI machine learning insights, you and your team can glean valuable information about a client’s brand reputation based on analysis of reviews over time. Tools like Customer Voice can be used to generate more reviews so that prospects can see a steady flow of recent, positive reviews.
2. Brand mention monitoring
Reviews aren’t the only place consumers are talking about their experience with a business, product, or service. Brand mentions can take place just about anywhere on the web, from blog posts to social comments to shopping guides. These, much like reviews, can have a serious impact on how prospects perceive a business. This means that these mentions also need to be reviewed.
By reviewing brand mentions, you can get essential insights into what people think about your client’s business. You might discover:
- Common complaints that users have which can guide product improvement
- Learn about customer needs that are currently unmet and that can represent opportunities for your business
- Identify things customers may love that you can play up in your marketing efforts
In some cases, you may also get in touch directly with the person making the brand mention as you would with a review. While this isn’t always necessary, having brand mention monitoring in effect means you’ll never miss a mention that should have received a response.
How to implement brand mention monitoring
Basic brand mention monitoring can be conducted with free tools, but it’s highly likely that you’ll miss at least some mentions if you rely solely on these tools.
On social media platforms, regularly checking your client’s mentions and any brand hashtags can be an effective method for keeping tabs on what people are saying. When it comes to tracking mentions on the internet, setting up Google Alerts for your client’s brand name and the names of their products can help you become aware of mentions on blogs and other publications. These solutions are useful, but if you’re looking for a more thorough way to monitor brand mentions, Vendasta’s Reputation Management tool can be used.
It isn’t limited to review monitoring; it can also be used to track mentions across the web, so you can easily and conveniently see them all from a single dashboard.
3. Social media management
Effectively managing your client’s social media accounts is an essential type of reputation management because it gives you the chance to interact with customers quickly, informally, and sometimes even in real time.
Managing social media for reputation management purposes involves:
- Regularly posting to update audiences on what’s happening at the business
- Posting regularly to proactively build a positive perception of the business
- Responding to questions, comments, and concerns
- Interacting with customers and prospects to make them feel valued, appreciated, and heard
The key social media platforms to pay attention to will vary depending on the client’s business. For some businesses, Instagram and TikTok may be the top priority, while others may benefit more from focusing on LinkedIn and Twitter.
How to implement social media management
As any marketing manager, business owner, or agency owner knows, staying on top of social media management can place a significant demand on your time, taking you away from other important tasks. That’s why this is one of the types of online reputation management services that is well worth investing in.
A tool like Social Marketing makes it easy to stay on top of multiple social media accounts from one easy-to-use interface. For a truly hands-off experience, you can also leave the creation of content and managing of accounts to a team of white-label social media experts.
4. Search engine optimization
SEO plays an important role in online reputation management. The activities that boost a business’s SEO performance also convey a positive reputation, so staying on top of your SEO strategy is a must.
Creating high-quality, relevant, and informative content can help your client climb the search engine results pages for your chosen keywords. But that content can also provide value to prospective customers and make them perceive the business as more authoritative and trustworthy. In other words, excellent content can boost their online reputation.
Traditional search engine optimizations such as technical SEO, on-page SEO, and backlinks can help your content rank higher, making it more easily discoverable by customers, further boosting your client’s online reputation in the process.
Similarly, claiming social profiles across different directories and ensuring they are all up to date will help your client perform better in local search while giving them more opportunities to collect positive reviews on these platforms.
How to implement SEO optimization for reputation management
Regularly creating relevant, high-quality content is a must if you want your client’s website to rank on Google. Using SEO tools that help you uncover the best keywords to incorporate into your client’s content will ensure that the content aligns with what their audience actually cares about.
If SEO isn’t your agency’s strong suit, using a full-service SEO program can ensure that everything from website updates to link building is regularly done to help your client’s website rank.
Listing management tools are another type of reputation management solution that ensures listings are correct and up to date wherever they appear online. The more listings your client has, the likelier they are to be discovered in local search, and the more reviews they can collect from listing directories that accept reviews.
5. Paid media
You might think of paid media, such as PPC ads, as distinct from reputation monitoring. However, your paid media strategy can also play a key role in reputation management.
A great PPC campaign can boost your client’s visibility and garner more purchases that lead to more opportunities for positive reviews. You can run ads for your client’s brand name to ensure that the content you control appears when people search for their brand name. This also gives you an opportunity to see whether competitors are using your client’s brand in their own ads in order to steal traffic and leads away from them.
How to implement paid media for reputation management
Whether you’re using paid media to generate sales or as a type of online reputation management, keeping close tabs on how your campaigns are performing is necessary. If you fail to do this, you risk sinking your client’s money into campaigns that aren’t helping you meet their goals.
With tools like Advertising Intelligence, you can easily monitor campaigns across a range of platforms to see exactly how they’re performing, what their ROI is, and whether they should be killed. As some time passes and your paid media campaigns age, your pixels will gain more data and your campaigns will only become more effective.
6. Reputation attack monitoring
All businesses face the risk of online reputation attacks. We’ve established just how important reputation management can be to a business’s bottom line. Unfortunately, unethical players occasionally take advantage of this reality by trying to tarnish a competitor’s reputation.
Online reputation attacks can take the form of:
- Creating inauthentic negative content such as blog posts about a competitor's product or service
- Spamming review sites with bad reviews
- Negative SEO attacks in which bad links are built that push a competitor off the SERP
Reputation attack monitoring is a type of online reputation management that aims to identify these attacks and overcome any damage caused by them, as quickly as possible.
How to implement reputation attack monitoring
To effectively monitor reputation attacks so that you can take action, you can rely on the same types of online reputation management services you might use for brand mention monitoring, review monitoring, and SEO management.
Inauthentic negative mentions and reviews (that constitute attacks) can be addressed publicly to alert prospective customers that they aren’t real. For instance, attacks of spam reviews can be addressed by leaving a comment on each review mentioning that your client doesn’t have any customers that match the review and that you suspect it is fake. This can flag the review as questionable for those who are reading it.
Negative SEO attacks can be identified with an SEO audit. If you see backlinks on low-quality sites that you didn’t build, start by contacting the webmasters to have them removed. If this doesn’t work, you can disavow them directly through Google.
7. Public relations
This type of online reputation management may seem charmingly old-school compared to some of the other things we’ve discussed, but a good PR strategy should be a part of your overall reputation management program.
Writing press releases, pitching stories to publications in your client’s niche, and other similar exercises can all have an impact on your client’s online reputation. While PR alone is unlikely to sustain a positive brand image, it can go a long way in bolstering the other strategies we’ve discussed.
How to implement a public relations strategy
The best way to go about building a PR strategy will vary from one business to the next. Some tried-and-true strategies include building relationships with journalists and writers who can create content that casts your client’s business in a positive light, building influencer relationships, and having a crisis management plan in place in the event of a negative PR event.
8. Reputation marketing
Reputation marketing refers to marketing that has the aim of bolstering a business’ reputation. This means ensuring marketing messaging provides an accurate representation of the product or service: since a shocking 80% of reputation damage comes from a mismatch between the hype around a product or service and its reality.
It also means some marketing efforts may not have the explicit goal of generating sales, but, rather, boosting reputation. This can include paid or owned media, media appearances, social media marketing, and more.
How to implement reputation marketing
Any of the tools or services you use in your marketing strategy can double as types of online reputation management solutions when you use them in the service of reputation management.
For example, you might create paid ads that inform prospects about how sustainable the business is, boosting their trustworthiness and reputation. You might craft social media messages that are designed to boost their reputation rather than promote their product. Any marketing efforts that have the purpose of nurturing your client’s reputation count as reputation marketing.
Frequently asked questions
Who needs reputation management?
Any business with an online presence can benefit from reputation management. Even brick-and-mortar or mom-and-pop businesses that don’t consider themselves to operate primarily online are still subject to the effects of a negative online reputation. Prospective customers may still look online to see what others are saying about the business on platforms like Google Business Profile.
What does reputation management include?
Reputation management includes any efforts made to convey a positive image of a business online. A key component of reputation management is review monitoring since today’s consumers regularly consult reviews before making buying decisions. However, a robust reputation management strategy will also include tactics like social media management, brand mention monitoring, search engine optimization, and more.