Having a good reputation for your business is vital. Click here to learn five ways you can handle reputation management online.
Your company's online reputation has an immediate effect on your bottom line. Yet most companies don't understand it, let alone know what to do about it. There are straightforward ways to get your reputation into check before it hurts you.
How do you measure your reputation online? This question beleaguers most businesses. Even if you understand its influencers, you might not know the implications on your revenue.
Before doing business with you, your target audience looks you up online. If they find something negative, they may turn away without a second thought. Businesses lose as much as 22% of business when consumers find negative articles via search.
It's time to get your reputation on track. We'll look at the key contributors to your online reputation. Then we'll explore the elements of reputation management that can work for you.
Understanding the Influencers of Reputation Management
Have you checked your company on Google lately? A quick search will give you a peek into your reputation status. It's not comprehensive, but it's a good place to start.
Scan the first few pages of results. Are the comments positive or negative? Are there any comments at all?
You want your business to be the most talked about in your vertical. But how can you tap into the digital dialogue surrounding it? The first step to reputation management is identifying the contributors.
There are dozens of ways for customers to review your products or services. Unfortunately for you, it's hard to keep track. And most consumers say they are more likely to choose companies with positive online reviews.
It's a good idea to adopt reviews through your own channels. But formal and informal reviews will pop up online. These could be on websites like Yelp and non-professional consumer publications.
Consumers review via social chatter, groups, and your own Facebook page. Comments and shares can lead to informal communities. Consumers can challenge you publicly as well.
Social media can work to your advantage. 68% of consumers trust Facebook recommendations. Users' recommendations on Facebook can be more effective than formal advertising.
Your Brand Presence
Consumers will gauge your value and credibility by how often they see you online. They expect qualitative content to help them make decisions. A lack of content robs them of an opportunity to do so.
Too much branded content can hurt you as well. If users feel you're spamming them they're less likely to engage. You will appear to be a brand that can't sell based on value.
You need to show up in search results, too. Consumers are more likely to choose a competitor if you're on the third page.
Websites like glassdoor.com allow your employees to write reviews. Your employees or even the news can talk about your internal practices. If consumers think you're not good to your staff it will hurt your business.
5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Reputation
Reputation management is not a science. But there is more that you can do about it than you might think.
The following are five strategies to help you get on top of reputation management. Adopt these cost-effective solutions to ensure your exposure is helping your growth.
1. Be Available
Giving customers a way to contact you is an essential tool in reputation management. You can't resolve customers' issues if they can't get in touch with you. Those issues could develop into something public if you don't.
This holds true for public-facing channels as well. Facebook is becoming a channel of choice for customer service claims. Quality service teams get a visible way to show they support their customers.
Some customers need to reach companies more than others. Muse Treatment provides care programs for recovering addicts. If patients couldn't reach them it could mean dire consequences.
2. Be Active and Regular on Social Media
Your reputation on social media can quickly spiral out of control. Negative posts about your company or products can go viral. Comments on your social media pages can become toxic this way.
Your best strategy is engagement. Respond directly to social media comments where you have access. Address trending topics with a clear and appealing response.
You can use social listening tools to keep on top of trends. Develop an in-house strategy for addressing social issues as well. You can quickly turn social engagement into a driving force for your business.
3. Encourage Satisfied Customers to Write Reviews
Small businesses often encourage customers to write on dedicated review platforms. These include Yelp and even Amazon. These are channels customers often check for general product information.
You can host your own review platform online as well. Make the platform as professional as possible. Try to leverage those reviews in other channels as well.
Don't be afraid of bad reviews. Running away from reviews will only hurt your brand. Be proactive and ask customers to write good reviews when possible.
4. Respond Directly to Negative Content
Companies' biggest mistake is avoiding negative content. The message they send consumers is that the negative sentiments are right. Customers hold companies that engage negative content openly in high regard.
These teams need to strike a balance between protecting their integrity and addressing concerns. Some customers are not forgiving or are even offensive. Your company needs to engage all of them in an appropriate and strategic way.
5. Develop a Formal Reputation Management Strategy
Don't take an ad hoc approach to reputation management. Even top experts can't perform if they're not part of a unified effort. This effort spans marketing, customer service, and company leadership.
Everyone needs to be committed to a single brand strategy. They each need to know what their company stands for. They will know how to respond appropriately to any situation.
When your brand is really out there, it's exposed to criticism. But exposure is a critical part of marketing and engagement. Be sure your service and branding teams are prepared to meet your audience directly.
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