Your online business’ reputation is a vital aspect that customers look out for when making a purchasing decision. According to a recent study, as many as 75% of people rely on word-of-mouth as their key influencer before deciding to buy a product online.
However, nothing’s perfect and there’s hardly a business out there that doesn’t encounter an issue with their customer.
You can usually fix issues before it reaches a certain point where the customer feels the only way to satisfy them is through a public rant or that they ought to warn others about your business. The Internet has already torn down barriers between one customer and another, making word-of-mouth travel faster than the speed of light. Therefore, online reputation can either make or break your business.
Below are 5 tips for effective online business reputation management and how they can help you present your business in the most positive light:
Find out what’s going on with your brand.
The first thing you need to do to effectively manage your online reputation is to understand what people are saying about your business brand. You need to know what’s happening with it and with the help of brand monitoring tools you can effectively manage your business and stay on top of your online reputation.
Additionally, set up Google Alerts so you can closely monitor what others say about you. Once you’re aware of what’s going on, you can move on to the next step.
Check your business’ search results on a regular basis.
Ideally, you should search for your business name at least once a month. If your brand is often talked about in the news, you should do it more often.
It’s also highly recommended that you don’t limit yourself to just the first page of search engine results. While many users would restrict themselves to just page 1 of Google search results, it’s important that you also scour through pages 2, 3, and beyond for the presence of negative feedbacks. Remember that search rankings don’t always stay the same and a negative review could easily get up on the first page of search engine results.
To keep yourself updated, create a spreadsheet for tracking search results. List down the page titles, page status, and links in separate columns. Take note of the sentiment as well (whether the content is positive, negative, or neutral).
Don’t forget your social media accounts.
With over 2 billion active social media users, social media has become such a powerful platform that you must take advantage of when building your online business reputation.
The first thing you need to do, of course, is to update and optimize your business profile. Merely setting up a business profile or account on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ won’t cut it. You must focus on developing your audience, as well. With constant development, you can improve your social media presence, build relationships with customers by interacting with them, and improve your influence.
By neglecting the power of social media, you risk jeopardizing your online business reputation. While we don’t know for sure how search engines like Google and Bing assess the strength of social media accounts, you can use a number of tools to monitor your business’ growth.
Respond to negative feedback.
Negative feedback can greatly affect your business’ reputation. But instead of ignoring them, you need to respond and deal with the issue as quickly as possible. This way, you can reduce the damage it can potentially cause to your business.
David Anderson of IHateWritingEssays.com says responding to criticisms also signifies that you care about what your customers think and that you’re committed to making their experience smooth and convenient.
Taking things personally and lashing out at the customer won’t end well for you and your business. If there’s been a mistake on your part, it’s best to own up to it and create solutions instead. It’s important that you remain professional, but a generic response to a criticism may not yield favorable results. If possible, you may want to deal with the issue offline.
Be consistent with updates.
It goes without saying that you need to remain relevant all the time if you want to be on top of search results. One of the best ways to do so is to constantly and consistently get your website/blog up-to-date. This means you need to regularly publish fresh content that’s relevant to your brand. You can also hire a few people who can work on content creation so you can focus more on other important aspects of your business.
Not only does this expand your personal network and grant instant exposure to your targeted traffic, it also helps improve your online authority.
Online business reputation management may sound so simple, but it’s not something that you can ignore. Building and maintaining a good reputation is a long-term endeavor. It takes time and effort, and results are based on the actions you take over time. Everything you do from your marketing strategy, from updating content on your site to customer service, has an impact on your reputation. It’s true that your customers are the principal factors in determining your reputation, but you have to do your part as well. By following the tips mentioned above, you can grow your business and improve your reputation.