A successful reputation management strategy allows brands to positively affect the perception of their brand online. Smart brands are already actively engaging with consumers online through dedicating an in-house customer service team to the effort or investing in a third party reputation management company to play a larger role in executing the strategy.

These efforts help companies build credibility and trust among consumers, salvage reputation issues stemming from negative reviews or bad press, and take more control of those much-coveted first page search engine results.

So, we know that playing an active role in the online conversations about our brands is important, and [we know that we need to encourage user-generated content beyond a star rating] but how do we know our efforts are truly making a difference on the bottom line?

Define your goals

First things first, if you’re going to be able to effectively measure the success of your efforts, you have to have some clearly defined goals for what it is you want to accomplish.

Examples of some solid aspirations in this area might be:

  • Generating new leads for your business
  • Recovering negative perception of your brand
  • Standing out among your competitors as a highly engaged brand
  • Driving more direct conversions (from social media and third party content)

A brand might set out to improve negative sentiment online through a concentrated effort to collect a steady stream of positive reviews or they might intend to rise above the competition by setting a goal to respond to all feedback online.

Measure your results

The ultimate goal of all reputation management efforts is to drive positive sentiment about a brand online, increasing trust with consumers and, ultimately, driving sales for the company. It stands to reason that sales is the ultimate measure of success for any marketing effort, and reputation management is no different — but sales metrics alone don’t always present the whole picture, so what else do we need to look at to get at true picture of the impact of our reputation management efforts:

  • The number of positive reviews on sites like Google Reviews or ConsumerAffairs
  • The number of social mentions, shares or other engagement
  • The size or growth of your following on social media
  • Website traffic coming directly from review sites, press releases or social media mentions
  • Total number of conversions resulting from that traffic (and yes, ultimately sales)

After you measure, act

Implementing a strategy and monitoring the results of your efforts is only half the battle, to incite any real, positive change you must also take your finding and act on them. Listen to your audience and shift your efforts to align with what you’ve learned. Don’t be afraid to reset your goals, or rethink your strategy.