For businesses, brands, and enterprises that have an online presence, digital brand management is extremely important. Online brand management is the process of monitoring the way that your brand is viewed online. And, while the definition may be relatively simple and straightforward, the process of guiding the way your brand is viewed can be more complex.
Participate in Brand Discussions
Most businesses know that having an online presence in the form of social media participation, a website, a blog, and other online networking tools is important. However, you might not know that what’s equally as important as having a presence is being an active participant in online brand discussions. If you notice that people are talking about your brand, join in the conversation. Chances are, the biggest method of communication about your brand will come in the form of comments or reviews. To join in, give encouraging feedback and gratitude for positive brand comments, and gently, politely, and constructively respond to negative brand reviews. Remember, this is about improving your brand reputation; responding negatively, impolitely, aggressively, or otherwise inappropriately isn’t going to help that reputation. Furthermore, reply to as many negative comments as you can – doing so will let customers know that you value them and their opinion.
In addition to responding and participating to discussions that are happening about your brand, you should also lead discussions by generating conversations about different industry challenges or trends, brand facts, and more.
Use Others’ Content
We’re not talking about plagiarizing, here, instead, a fantastic article published by Mashable talks about the importance of sharing others’ content that meets your brand’s goals. The article quotes Starbucks’s product manager, Brad Nelson, as saying that if you can find a photo, a piece of content that’s written by someone else, or a Tweet that does a great job of making the point that you’re aiming for, you should use that in place of your own content. And here’s why: by using someone else’s content instead of your own, you add an authoritative source (other than yourself), validating your own opinion.
Be As Transparent as Possible
Being transparent as a business can feel a little bit intimidating, and maybe even a bit risky, even if you don’t have anything to hide. When you open yourself up to feedback, which often means a criticism, you can open the door to a wave of problems if you don’t manage the criticism well. If you do, though, allowing employees to talk about products and policies freely, asking for feedback, and being open about criticism can be a big payoff for your brand’s reputation. By becoming transparent, your brand will garner some serious respect.
Find a Niche and Stick to It
Let’s face it, while you may be an expert on a lot of things, you’re not an expert on all things. If you try to be, you’ll confuse your audience by targeting too many niches – and customers – at once. To help you to avoid sending a confusing message to your followers, make sure you create some guidelines for your brand. By doing so, you’ll solidify your brand’s goals, purpose, and identity, which will help you in creating content that exemplifies those principles.
Not only should you think about brand ideology, but it’s a good idea to be consistent in your designs, logos, and colors schemes as well. While these aren’t nearly as important as your principles for digital brand management, they do help to create a unifying message that helps to enforce your brand’s authority and meaning.
Use Tools to Track Your Online Reputation
There are a plethora of tools out there that can be essential in helping you with online brand management. Some top tools out there that you should considering utilizing are:
- A feed reader: There are a variety of feed readers out there, such as the one provided by Feedreader, which allows you to view all of your feeds, find the feeds you need, and help you to organize and search for what people are saying about you.
- Social Mention: SocialMention.com allows you to subscribe to the feed, and then catch conversations on social sites that are focused around a specific keyword (which could be your business name, for example). Social Mention also allows you to monitor sentiments about your business, too, as you can see which keywords people are using when they talk about your company.
- Me on the Web: You can use Google’s Me on the Web to receive notifications anytime anything about you appears online. You can also monitor other employees or brand leaders, too.
- Topsy: Your brand is sure to have some powerful brand influencers. If you want to find top influencers for your brand and monitor what they’re saying about you, Topsy should be your go-to tool of choice.
In addition to using free and inexpensive tools yourself, you might want to consider investing in a system, software, or company to help you with reputation management, especially if your business is growing quickly, and managing your brand’s reputation on your own is rapidly becoming too technical or too time-consuming.
Wait, why is online brand management important?
Now that you’re an expert and managing your brand’s digital reputation, here’s why doing so is incredibly important –
The market research firm Ipsos has found that 78 percent of customers are influenced by online research. That means that when a consumer searches for your business’s name, they’ll be impacted by whatever they find out the web. If what they find is negative or harmful to your reputation, then that potential customer is probably a lost customer. In another report published by eMarketer.com, 80 percent of consumers said that negative comment about a brand online has changed their purchasing decision.
The Internet is used to discover information about a brand, ranging from products and services to ideals and values, to employees and community participation. What’s more, people use social media and review sites to talk about brands more than ever before, spreading conversation – both positive and negative – about a brand like a wildfire. If you’re a business, there’s no doubt that people are talking about you. Rather than ignoring the discussion, participating in and guiding it can be vital to your brand’s goals, attracting more customers, and yielding more profits.