Warren Buffett once said that it can take twenty years to build a reputation, and just five minutes to ruin it.
"If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
The statement is more true today than ever, with brands built and broken in a matter of tweets. Make no mistake, brand reputation is breakable, and it needs to be maintained. Your business reputation is one of the most significant factors dictating your ultimate success.
That’s why it's essential to protect your brand awareness at all cost. With a little common sense and effort, you can get it right.
Here are some key brand awareness and management tips to help improve your online marketing performance.
1. Get the Most Out of Google Questions & Answers
In August of 2017, Google launched the Questions & Answers feature, which is design to help build brand image based on insights from your previous customers. In April 2019, Google updated the feature - now, anyone who searches for your brand on Google can ask a question, and get an instant reply from Google itself.
As such, Google Questions and Answers can be a great tool to help you build a consistent brand reputation which can generate new clients. To do this, you need to start monitoring and answering questions from users. Helpful and informative answers from business owners show that your company is looking to take care of its customers.
Here are some tips on how to answer user questions effectively:
- Before answering, make sure to log into your Google My Business account, as it's the best way to show your customers that the answers are coming from the actual business owner
- Be informative and helpful, and make your answers easy to grasp, read and understand. Use the customer’s language, and speak naturally
- Double-check your answers to avoid any grammar or spelling mistakes
- Don’t include any emails, phone numbers or links, otherwise, Google won’t show your answers
- Reply to your customers’ questions in a prompt manner
- Upvote the best answers to promote them within your Q&A section
You should also look to set up an alert in your Google My Business Settings to get notified via email about new questions.
Being present, and active, can go a long way towards winning over prospective customers.
2. Implement Structured Data When Applicable
Aside from getting more clicks to your website, it's also important to build and maintain a good brand presence within search engine results. The best way to do that is to implement structured data for your website to show rich results for users, and represent your brand in a more professional way.
Google's structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a web page, and classifying a page’s content - be it FAQ page, products, reviews or videos. Adding specific HTML attributes to your web pages can help search engines better understand your content, and provide a better search experience. Anyone can implement structured data on their pages using markup tools like Schema.org.
But before adding schema to your webpages, you need to figure out the item type of the content on your page.
For example, by advertising to searchers that many customers have reviewed your product, you can send a very clear signal that your business is trustworthy, improving perception.
You can also provide full answers direct in search, or on Google Assistant devices, by adding the FAQ and How-to markup on the relevant pages.
It's worth experimenting with your options and seeing whether it drives improved results for your pages.
3. Manage Your NAP Consistency
Having accurate and consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information in all corners of the web will benefit your SEO efforts, and can help to further solidify your brand authority.
NAP consistency is important for lots of reasons. If you have different variations of your NAP across the web - especially if some of these haven't been updated - this can make it hard for your customers to find the correct information when searching for your company.
Google uses business listing information from multiple resources and data aggregators. If your information is untrustworthy with local searches and queries, it could negatively impact your search ranking.
Here are some tips to check for your NAP consistency:
- Double-check your business name, address, and phone number for errors before sending it out to online business listing sites
- If your business information has changed, do a quick check. You can use Moz Local to find these inconsistencies and update your NAP profile
- Place your NAP information in your website’s header and footer, as it can make it easier for both users and search engines to locate
- Update your Google My Business profile. Your NAP data should be listed the same way as on your website
- Keep an eye on your business listings and social media networks
- Use a Schema local business markup for your website to help Google better understand your NAP data
4. Optimize Your Social Media Channels for Search
Google now also provides additional opportunity for brands to have their social media profiles appear in the Google Knowledge Graph Box. This can enable you to increase your online visibility, and show more valuable information about your business in one place.
More and more people are searching for branded social media profiles, and optimizing your social presence to appear in the Knowledge Panel will help drive more clicks on your profiles in order to find more information. If your social profiles are verified, that's a bonus, as Google is more likely to list verified profiles in the information listing.
The best way to appear in the Knowledge Graph is by adding the schema markup to specify each social media profile on your website. Google supports many types of social profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and others.
5. Run PPC Ads For Your Brand
Bidding on branded terms gives you more flexibility and control over your brand in search. Moreover, it’s much cheaper for most businesses to benefit from paid search ads, and it helps to solidify your brand in the minds of customers.
The biggest reason to run branded PPC ads is that, if you don't, your competitors can occupy your valuable ad space, and swipe your leads.
You can check out how your competitors are running PPC ads for your branded keywords via tools like the semantic comparison chart in the SE Ranking’s PPC competitor research module. If you analyze your website against your two main rivals, you'll get a ton of ideas on how they compete with each other on branded keywords, as well as which keywords work well for them.
Bonus Tip: Monitor, Measure and Adjust Your Efforts
Once you’ve implemented any new processes, it's important to track the impact of any changes you make, and to make adjustments as appropriate.
Finteza can provide an overall picture of the impact of your brand management efforts. The tool can help you establish how much of your traffic comes from different sources, compare the performance of different pages, optimize conversion rates, and analyze traffic.
Monitoring these crests and troughs over time will help you to better understand whether you’re making positive changes, or you need to improve your strategy.
Brand reputation is critical in the modern business environment. Whatever your industry, you need to establish a solid brand in order to stay ahead of your competitors, and grab more customers’ attention. Once you get people to trust you, you'll see long-term business success.