4 Reputation Management Realities That All Brands Now Face


4 Reputation Management Realities That All Brands Now Face

4 Reputation Management Realities That All Brands Now Face

What do Beyoncé, Kate Middleton, and Harrison Ford have in common? Other than having devoted fan bases, they’re celebrities who have a reputation for giving very few interviews. They control their messaging tightly. 

While Beyoncé and Kate Middleton choose to go directly to their fan bases with highly choreographed messaging through their social media channels, Harrison Ford is one of only a very few celebrities who isn’t on social media at all.

However, whether or not they choose to connect with their fans online, none of these celebrities can stop the millions of rabid fans who run fan accounts, who post to Reddit and Instagram, and who analyze their every move through YouTube videos and blog posts. 

Why does this matter for you and your business? 

Just like celebrities, the rise of fan culture on the internet has fueled both a huge boom in brands’ abilities to control their own reputations, as well as the decentralization of where reputation management lies. 

We are now able to build communities of like-minded customers and brand-fans. With that comes responsibility of monitoring a growing array of websites and spaces where brands rate products, review services, comment, and ask for help. 

4 Key Considerations of Reputation Management

Ratings and Reviews Are No Longer a Choice

“The rating trusted most by consumers is 4 stars followed by 4.5 and 5 stars,” according to review software company ReviewTrackers. 

Many years ago, I worked for a well known arts & crafts brand. At that time, the company I worked for gave the ability to customers to rate and review patterns (the directions consumers would use to create their craft projects), but not the products themselves. 

The thinking was that we didn’t want the companies’ own products to have negative reviews. And yet, study after study shows that a few negative reviews actually bolster trust in reviews overall. Furthermore, customers tend to trust relatively positive reviews most (see above quote from ReviewTrackers).

What brands must do is not only encourage reviews with open arms, but encourage customers to look at positive reviews as social proof. Today, that same company has embraced product reviews both on their website and in their digital marketing efforts. 

And this goes beyond B2C brands. Brands as wide ranging as US Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the US whose reviews are mostly on Google My Business, to DeSantis Breindel, a New York City-based branding consultancy whose reviews are on platforms like Clutch (both brands are clients of Convince & Convert) are not only monitoring and responding to reviews, but also using reviews to feed their marketing efforts (see below). 

It’s Not Just What They Say, It’s What You Do

“39 percent of social media complainers who expect a reply want it to come within sixty minutes, yet the average response time from businesses is five hours,” found research by Jay Baer and Edison Research.

In 2016, C&C founder Jay Baer wrote, “​​Haters are not your problem….Ignoring them is.” That reality is more true now than ever before. 

Customers expect help with their issues, and when you don’t respond to negative reviews, your prospective customers will hold you accountable for that inaction. 

To positively impact your reputation, treat reviews as an opportunity for customer service and excellent customer experience. Respond to your reviews; add context; thank brand fans and address fan haters. 

Social Listening Is More Complex Than Ever

“Word of mouth is directly responsible for 19% of all purchases, and influences as much as 90%,” says the book Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and senior strategist Daniel Lemin. 

Outside of owned review channels, brands must monitor reviews and conversations on channels from Facebook and Reddit to the bumper crop of industry-specific review sites such as Zocdoc and Healthgrades. 

Using monitoring tools like Meltwater and Sprinklr helps brands to stay on top of what’s being said. Beyond sentiment and topics, brands must make sure that they are leveraging the built-in AI to analyze conversations for trends to keep on top of what their proactive messaging needs to be. 

Not sure how to leverage these social listening tools to uncover this data? Consulting firms like Premium Blend can help to build strong queries and implement effective listening processes.

Again, it’s not just knowing what people are saying, but also using this data to shape what your brand should be talking about to be relevant to your customer base. 

Showcase Your Customers’ Words and Stories

Reputation management is the reactive part of our work, but we also have the opportunity for reputation marketing. Leverage the stories that your customers are telling about you to market your products/services to prospective customers. 

Whether you’re aggregating real customer social media posts like Korean beauty brand Hanacure does on their @hanacureeffect Instagram account or you’re using a tool like SocialProve to pop-up notifications to website visitors that indicates when others have purchased on your website, you’re engaging in reputation marketing. 

What are some ways that your brand can leverage customer stories as social proof? 

  • Proactively turn user-generated content (UGC) into social media campaigns
  • Leverage customer reviews and quotes on landing pages
  • Showcase real customer feedback in advertising
  • Address questions you’re getting from Quora, Reddit, and/or your own communities as content
  • Create animated videos featuring customer reviews 
  • Integrate real questions into your chatbot scripts or FAQs
  • Highlight your review scores using in your top-navigation and/or footer

via 4 Reputation Management Realities That All Brands Now Face

What Brands Need to Know About Misinformation and Disinformation

What Brands Need to Know About Misinformation and Disinformation

 There are no earthworms in beef jerky sticks. It is important I state that up front, lest anyone not read this post in its entirety.

Misinformation Opened A Can Of Worms For Me

Beef jerky was my earliest memory of encountering misinformation. I always seemed to be running late at lunch when I was in grade school. Waiting in line for mediocre school food was both unexciting and also put me at risk of running late to my after lunch class. So I often used my lunch money to buy snacks from the school cafeteria’s snack bar. That generally involved chips, cookies and Slim Jim beef jerky sticks (for protein, naturally). Oh how I loved Slim Jim.

A fellow classmate nudged me one day and told me – so everyone around could hear – that beef jerky contains earthworms. Specifically, “earth bait.” 

He took “earth bait” to mean “earthworm” and thought I should know. He was not a kid I generally liked so his opinion held little sway, but I was curious about the idea and frankly rather grossed out. I investigated my now unfurled Slim Jim plastic sleeve. There was, in fact, no earthworm or earth bait on the list of ingredients. 

Among the many other very questionable ingredients one did stand out to me, though: erythorbate. This is a commonly used preservative and, if you say it fast it does in fact sound like “earth bait.” I suppose this is the origin of the myth that beef jerky contains earthworms.

Misinformation and Disinformation’s Impact on Brand

This misinformed concept regarding Slim Jim remains in circulation today. If you search on Google for erythorbate, you’ll see a “People also ask” result: “Is Erythorbate a worm?”

This leads you to an advisory from the USDA that confirms its origins (it’s highly-refined, according to the USDA, and is closely related to vitamin C) and also states in plain English: Erythorbate is NOT earthworms. They get phone calls to their hotline. 

This is an example of simple misinformation spreading somewhat innocently. We’ve heard a lot about mis- and disinformation and bad actors during recent elections, ongoing political feuds around Covid-19 and during congressional hearings when certain social media executives claim to be tamping it down. 

What’s the Difference Between Misinformation and Disinformation?

It is important to clarify that misinformation and disinformation are different things. 

Misinformation, as I noted, is generally spread without malice or intent. Disinformation, on the other hand, is generally organized and has a specific outcome in mind. 

For example, if someone started an anti-beef-jerky coalition they might benefit from spreading the false fact that beef jerky contains earthworms. There is not, to my knowledge, a coalition of this nature behind the aforementioned falsism. 

This distinction is subtle but important. It’s highly likely that your brand or organization will find itself in the midst of misinformation from time to time. It’s also increasingly probable that you could be in the crosshairs of a disinformation campaign, too. 

A September 2021 study by the Network Contagion Research Institute found that disinformation is increasingly being used against brands of all types.

Be Prepared to Protect Your Brand

How should you prepare for and respond to misinformation and disinformation when you see it?

1. Always be listening.

Active social media listening is the best way to detect false information before it catches on. This is a baseline activity and its benefits reach far beyond identifying potential misinformation.

Look at the data carefully to examine for common language in comments or user-generated posts. Also look broadly at posts your community managers are responding to and search for comments that might be otherwise overlooked in day-to-day community management (particularly if your team is large or the duty for responding rotates among different humans).

2. Create your brand interactions carefully.

Brands themselves sometimes contribute to a sense of confusion. Be extra clear about things that could cause confusion (like deals or things that have limited availability). 

Also consider how you phrase Tweets and messages, especially if your brand is prone to phrasing things as a question. There are times when asking a question sparks community engagement. But it’s not always necessary. NPR, citing Betteridge’s Law, actually trains journalists to generally avoid it. 

3. Correct the record.

If you encounter false information it’s important to answer it with truth and link to a source where readers can further verify if they so choose. It is also important to do this promptly.

4. Context matters.

If it is clear from a customer’s message that they are using your product or service and have encountered something that sparks a question, it’s probably not misinformation. 

Which brings me to my final point…

5. Consider the source.

If someone shows up in your feed for the first time with clearly false information, take a moment to look at their other posts. Check to see if they’re a prospect or customer. If not, it is possible it may be a troll out to spread bad information about you.

via What Brands Need to Know About Misinformation and Disinformation


Categories : Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn: An Unofficial, Step-by-Step Guide to Creating & Implementing Your LinkedIn Brand – Social Networking in a Web 2.0 World (Paperback)

Twitter For Dummies (Paperback)

Facebook Marketing For Dummies (Paperback)