Online reputation management simply refers to action plans focused on building and maintaining a reputable opinion of a brand on the online space. Exemplary it is an atrophied asset every brand upholds, making it a key marketing strategy. A good online reputation is vital since it helps in revamping your online presence, marketing your brand, countering negative views of your brand, and maintaining consistent communication with your customers. Concerning online reputation management, it’s safe to brand 2019 as evolutionary. We’ve seen brands step up into the Internet space through digital channels, both to showcase their products, and to build remarkable bonds with their consumers. We won’t play possum to the fact that we’ve witnessed some incredibly stunning online reputation management moves this year, but we also can’t discount the possibility of even better-upgraded trends come 2020. This article looks into some of the online reputation management trends that came up this year, and will definitely transition with us into 2020.
#1 Proactive online reputation management tools
Online reputation management tools are partly responsible for the wave of change witnessed in this sector during the previous year. Such tools make it easier to track your online reputation and among good examples, Mentionlyics is included. Tools with powerful and outstanding features will definitely make it into 2020, and it can only get better for us. Mentionlytics, for example, possesses AI-driven features that permit users to make smart searches with incisive accuracy. These tools enable you to quickly search any negative opinions about your brand and replace them with outstanding and positive reviews. They also integrate analytics features that have received an overwhelming acceptance this year, and I bet we will be using more of them in 2020. Online reputation management tools certainly make life easier by saving time channeled towards this cause. Thanks to these tools, the online conversation has never been more active, and companies are able to track mentions and apply specificity in their online searches. Who would want to leave all that behind?
#2 Social media and social media influencers
A social media troll can make or break a brand’s reputation, and if you still doubt, you can take it from the United Airlines when they forcefully dragged a passenger from one of their flights.
In today’s social media permeated world, your online presence contributes 100% to your online reputation. In 2019 and in recent years, companies have stepped up to claim their space in different digital channels. Companies boast of multiple social media accounts and popular social media influencers for their product endorsements.
2020 will oversee certain alterations in different social networks, with the most obvious ones being the removal of likes on Instagram. Since influencers’ likes will be a non-issue, brands will need to pinpoint sheer authenticity before hiring a social media influencer. Companies will not only seek an influencer’s popularity, but it will be more of those who understand the company’s niche.
Brands are moving away from bland, self-imposed brand ambassadors and pursuing real, honest and self-driven e-marketers because you know what? Customers can tell the difference, and the Internet never forgets.
#3 Empathetic response towards your consumers
One golden rule of online reputation is empathy towards your audience. Since social media is your most frequently used engagement tool, ensure that you respond to customers’ complaints as cheerfully as you can. In 2019, we’ve seen certain brands making use of this trend and it has earned them a favorable reputation, especially on Twitter.
With constant good engagement with your customers, they are likely to recommend your brand to their fellow online users. Actually, more than half of online shoppers are likely to choose a company’s products simply because of a friend’s recommendation. In 2020, companies should not just focus on their monetary growth, but also aim at continuously serving cheerful and contented consumers.
Barclays Bank shows us a good example of how to respond to customers complain even when not directly implicated.
#4 We are still not feeding trolls in 2020
As long your company has a social media page, you will encounter trolls somewhere along your digital path. One point you should note, however, is that there’s a very thin line between complaints and trolls.
Trolls are intentional and aim at damaging your company’s reputation and giving your social media marketers sleepless nights. Complaints, on the other hand, simply highlight any areas that need improvement and are always welcoming to solutions.
Marketers advise that companies should subscribe to the “Reply Only Twice” rule when it comes to addressing trolls. If the detractor persists with their negative banter despite your two attempts, engage them no further.
Engaging a troll attracts unnecessary attention to the underlying issue and may end up submarining various aspects of your online reputation. Constantly clicking on negative comments also gives Google the impression that they are relevant, hence keep off if you can. Detractors have a way of negatively twisting your responses; hence, in 2020 I bet we will be seeing more trolls left unaddressed.
#5 Enhanced video content
Online reputation management has everything to do with content marketing, through any platform whatsoever. In 2019, content marketing in the form of websites, blogs, videos, infographics, and product reviews have been critical to maintaining companies’ reputation.
Brands mainly share video content through mobile devices; hence, billions of people view them worldwide. In 2019, we’ve seen many ads and product reviews, albeit we’ll probably be seeing different content in 2020.
In 2020, we will experience refined video content marketing, mainly in the form of personalized videos, data-first approach videos, longer videos, and 3-D videos. Consumers will be on the lookout for video content that is tailored to their specific needs, and to which they have an emotional connection.
Video marketing is and will continue to be a staple in online reputation management, whether, via Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook live, and many brands have embraced it as a marketing strategy. For this reason, companies should make themselves familiar with upcoming trends in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Coca-Cola has been using video to advertise their content. Here is a screenshot of one of Coca-Cola video adverts
#6 The power of employee-inspired reviews
Online reviews have remained the rule rather than the exception, in all facets of a business. A customer would rather spend their holiday in a hotel with a five-star review, rather than a more exotic one with a two-star. This pinpoints how important online reviews are to your online reputation.
Customer reviews, however, are not the only ones that provide an entry point into your brand’s name. What your employee thinks about you is equally important, and these are usually the most kosher reviews. We’ve seen employers track review sites such as Glassdoor, indeed and comparably to see what employees love or dislike about their companies.
In the next year, brands will be taking the power of reviews to the next level, by relying on both customer and employee-generated feedbacks.
One strategy for driving your online reputation is through providing links to positive employee reviews of your brand in your online forums. Brands ought to maximize employee review sites and foster a working environment where employees feel safe and free to speak their minds.
#7 The online conversation will remain active in 2020
Creating multiple pages on social media for the sole purpose of monitoring is below the bar. Active participation with your customers is a bridge to securing your online reputation. Participation transcends replies and feedbacks but delves into posting content and updating your profile occasionally.
As of 2018, statistics indicate that 87% conduct product searches online, and 53% of shoppers preferred to shop online on their laptops or mobile devices.
Another study also stipulated that 45% of customers or business associates who conducted online searches discovered certain attributes that changed their minds.
With such reveals, it is clear that an active engagement on social networks will do your brand name tones of good. Since active engagement will certainly be more active in 2020, you could adopt some of these strategies to acquire and retain consumers:
- Include your online information at the bottom of receipts
- Offer coupon discounts and rewards to active customers who constantly share their thoughts through your online platforms
- Request reviews through automated emails.
#8 Expect elevated multi-channel strategies in 2020
Google is certainly not the only channel consumers use when evaluating a brand’s online reputation. Serious consumers will click on review sites, your websites, press releases, wiki pages, blog posts with mentions of your brand, your social profiles, and mentions all the way to your competitor’s paid ads. We’ve seen brands shift their online reputation management strategies to accommodate all of these channels, and they have been duly rewarded.
Companies need to diversify their online reputation management strategies in order to keep up with the rising complexities in terms of information acquisition. In 2020, companies will be prompted to manipulate earned, owned and paid content if they want to maintain an impressive stance. We are way past the old ways of doing things, and consumers expect serious brands to move with the tides of change. Classic features like voice searches (e.g. Alexa), augmented and virtual realities, and shoppable posts will continue to excite consumers in 2020, and brands should strive hard to be at the center of these excitements.
2019 has been evolutionary and so many new trends have come up. Brands that were smart enough in fine-tuning their online reputation management strategies have certainly reaped big this year. For those who had different outcomes, well, 2020, is here with a chance to duct tape the holes in your game.
In 2020, any wise brand will fully invest in managing its online reputation, whether through content management, link building, online banner promotion, social media, word of mouth referral or pay per click advertisements. As a digital marketer, you are familiar with these concepts and 2020 will be no different. With the above strategies, you can monitor and improve your online reputation and be part of its success story.