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In this internet age, the business landscape has completely changed. As a business owner, you will definitely agree with the importance of having a solid online profile, which can help you draw in new customers and expand your business locally or internationally (or both!). This is the kind of marketing that wasn’t really a thing, let’s say, a couple of decades ago, when the internet wasn’t a reality. However, today, the internet is a thriving force that has engulfed the entire world in its tight grip. Businesses, whether big or small, need to build their online identity to be recognized by both their existing and potential target audience. More importantly, entrepreneurs need to keep a tab on how online users are receiving and responding to their business. A positive reputation is crucial for a business’ success.
Here’s a definitive guide to online reputation management and how business owners can control and improve their online reputation as well as market their brand more effectively.
Understanding Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management is the process of controlling and improving how your online image is perceived by internet users. This may sound easy to do, but, over time, due to continually increasing competition, companies find it hard to protect their image online while standing out as well. Sadly, social media allows you to say anything to anyone without any repercussions. Being on the receiving end, there isn’t much you can do about it, except for responding to those negative comments with just as much hatred – but it will only backfire. Instead of putting these online users in their place, you will end up scaring your reputation online.
What you can do instead is consider online reputation management services where you pay an outside party to take care of your online image. Let’s look into some major benefits of hiring online reputation management services.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management
Building relationships with your potential and existing customers is extremely crucial. And brands with a sound online reputation are trusted more than those that have mixed feedback. In the latter case, users often second-guess whether or not to take the plunge. And when they come across brands with a “clean name,” they naturally lean toward them, and more so if others are flocking to them as we.
A great way to develop trust within your business community, ensure negative reviews are filtered out or dealt with properly. Customers need to be answered to feel they are being valued, heard, or answered by the company they are or wish to invest in.
Your online reputation can make or break the identity of your business. Negative feedback can easily take away the credibility factor from your business, no matter how amazing your advertising strategy is. The first thing most buyers do before investing in a brand is to see what others are saying about it. Even if they come across a great product but find negative reviews regarding it, they may take a step back. This is more commonly seen when products and services are expensive. In such cases, users look for better alternatives online that have a good image.
Good online reputation and reviews attract more customers, which means the company generates higher sales and more profit. However, this is an ongoing process. Businesses have to continually work hard toward maintaining their reputation online, so they can attract newer customers and elevate their business sales.
According to a report by Harvard Business School, with every additional one-star Yelp rating, businesses could have approximately 9% of the profit. Before users purchase any product or service, they do a quick online search and go for the company with a 5-star rating and glowing reviews. If your business has a maximum number of negative reviews or ratings, you may miss out on big sales no matter how awesome your products/services are. This is why it’s significant for your brand to have positive reviews on the internet.
Good reviews not only benefit you in terms of gaining new customers but are equally important when it comes to attracting employees. Having skilled and trained staff is the foundation of an effective workforce. A positive online image drives in a greater number of applications during job openings. You will have a large number of professional employees interested in working for you.
Note that in every industry, top individuals only prefer to work for reputable companies. They do their thorough research before applying for jobs. If your company has a bad reputation, it’s more than likely for the qualified candidate to skip your job ad and look for some other employer. In this regard, it’s critical to have the best online profile so that everyone, including the best of the best, is willing to work for you.
Greater Number of Investors
Apart from getting more employees and customers, brands also benefit from getting to work with top investors. Obviously, any investor does their research on the industry and then decide whom they want to work with. Generally, investors prefer to work with those having an impressive reputation in the online world. This will encourage them to put their money on them because they will see the potential of getting a good return on investment.
The more investors you have, the more your business grows – both online as well as offline. So, it’s safe to say that a positive footprint online gives you new opportunities for growth and success.
Improve Search Engine Rankings
Positive feedback about a product and service has the potential to go viral on social media. It garners a lot of attention. So, when you get a positive recommendation online, or online users are talking about your product or service, Google – or any other search engine for that matter – picks up your page or site and places it on top of the search result. In this way, many other online users get exposed to your business, increasing your chance of getting more customers and higher sales.
Best Online Reputation Management Tips
Controlling and influencing online reputation is a lot of hard work. In fact, it’s a never-ending business that online businesses have to partake in to build a well-established reputation and to keep it that way in the long run as well. Here are some crucial online reputation management tips to keep in mind:
Build a Presence on All Relevant Web Platforms
To score a great reputation, your company should already have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ at least. However, if you are in an extremely competitive market, you may need to expand your reach. For instance, you may have to be active on other social media sites as well, including Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and so on. To have a strong online presence, you will need to determine where your potential or loyal target audience hangs out the most. Once you have figured that out, marketing your products and services will become a lot more effective.
Social Media Platforms Are Your Biggest Ally
Don’t have social media accounts just for the sake of having them or because every business has one. Try to understand the reason for having a social identity. You have to have well-functioning and performing social media accounts so that you can market your products and services better. In other words, you have to be active and social online so that your potential customers can know you better.
Engage with your audience. Communicate with them through your social media posts. For example, share valuable blog posts or informative videos. This will give your followers the chance to like or share your posts. This is a great tactic to increase your popularity. Furthermore, you need to know how to interact with your audience. Just being out there isn’t enough. How you are presenting yourself is just as important. It can, after all, tell a lot about the values and beliefs your business upholds.
Some key things to keep in mind when representing your brand online are:
- Allow your customers to share their experiences so they feel heard and valued.
- Never misbehave with your customers no matter how rude or mad they are.
- Be polite to your customers and always listen to them.
- Even if your customers criticize you in some way or point out some mistake of yours, don’t get defensive, and try to empathize with your customers. Try to see where they are coming from
- Show your customers that you care about them.
- Don’t hesitate to compensate or check on your customers if they have had a bad experience with your brand.
- Apologize if your company messes up or fails to deliver its best.
- Don’t delete comments on social media. Online users are very clever and can immediately tell if something is fishy. If they find that you have removed their comment, they will find another outlet to expose you, and this won’t give a nice impression to others.
- Steer clear from online arguments. Or else, you may come across as petty and harsh, and people won’t like that about you. They may feel hesitant to invest in you.
Inspect What They Are Saying About You
It’s not just about presenting yourself online in a certain way, but also to monitor how well you are doing out there, which you can easily tell by monitoring how online users are interacting with you on social media. Engaging well with your customers can bring you a lot of new customers, so you should always approach your online users in a nice and friendly way.
These days, many people ask questions via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, because they are constantly trying to learn about your brand and evaluating whether or not they should buy from you. Be mindful of this reality. You don’t want to mess this up by picking a bone with an online user.
Check Review Sites
Besides checking social media sites, you should also monitor various review sites where people drop in their feedback and ratings. These include Google, Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, Manta – to name a few. However, not all businesses need to keep a close watch on every review site, only those that are related to their industry. For example, if you sell physical products, you will need to monitor feedback on Google and Amazon. On the other hand, if you provide catering services, you might want to check TripAdvisor or Yellow Pages.
Note that Google will display your business on top of the search results if you have rave reviews and ratings. This will instantly do wonders for your business. From standing out to getting more customers to an increased sale rate to much more!
Encourage Customers To Give their Feedback
We’ve already established that the majority of internet users read internet reviews before deciding on a business. So if you don’t have any online reviews, the chances are you won’t attract any customers as well as any employees or investors. Therefore, encourage your customers to review your brand and services on various online review platforms. If nothing else works, write your own on suppliers or other companies you have worked with in the past. Doing so will go a long way toward helping increase your reputation.
The good news is there are many online tools, such as SimpleSat, that can be used for automated customer surveys.
Guide to Online Reputation Management Conclusion
If you have already established your reputation, you should work toward maintaining it. If you are on the lookout for a professional online reputation management service that can effortlessly increase your business reviews and ensure a terrific reputation on all online platforms, look no further than TurnKey Reputation. Contact us by clicking here now!