In the age of the Internet and social media, the world has become a much smaller place. Today, what individuals and businesses do and speak takes a little more attention than it once did. With the dramatic rise of the internet, the way people and businesses interact today has changed. Today, managing and protecting your online reputation is more important than ever. As such, businesses have realized that survival means entering an online ecosystem to stay in the game.
Just like people talk about their colleagues and friends, they also talk about a company’s product or service– to their friends, family, and online. In this digital era, the Internet and social media are ingrained into our daily lives. Now, people prefer communicating over the internet, rather than in-person. It’s a trend to click pictures or upload videos of their newly purchased product to share that “unboxing experience” with friends. As you know, word-of-mouth is the most effective way to gain a new client, ignoring the power of social media can be lethal to your business.
Various surveys have revealed that online reviews influence the buying decisions of around 90% of their respondents. This clearly shows that if a business wants to be successful in today’s world, there’s no way to ignore online reputation management. What people are saying online about your business and how you’re responding to it is for everyone to see. Just with a few clicks, your customers can post their feedback on your products or services. Sometimes, even a few negative reviews online that doesn’t get a proper response may have serious consequences for your business.
It’s a fact, irrespective of the size of your business and your industry, people will talk about you. In the age of social media, people share their experiences through a Tweet, a Facebook post or a comment on your blog. These experiences can be both, positive and negative. Though you certainly welcome positive feedback, if people are saying things online that are impacting your reputation, you should be able to manage and control it. This is where you need online reputation management, which implies utilizing different strategies to create a positive reputation for your company while diluting the validity of negative comments. In addition to the popular social media sites, there are many online review sites that collect business and product reviews, such as Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Glassdoor, Google+ Local, Insider Pages, Yelp, and many more.
These online reviews actually work like referrals and people trust what is said about your company from others than from you. For this reason, despite great marketing efforts, it’s the 5-star reviews and a positive narrative of others about your business that play a major role in your success. By controlling what people are saying about you, your business and its products or services, you’ll become the safest, most reliable, and most recognized choice of your potential customers. As a result, an effective online reputation management strategy will help in increasing your web-based leads and sales.
The effective online reputation management depends on how you and your employees behave and react to whatever is said or done to your business. Here are a few useful tips for effective online reputation management.
The need for online reputation management is closely linked to the advent of social media. With the emergence of various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the way of communication has changed. Apart from having to deal with rankings and getting in touch with a great SEO agency, businesses need to closely monitor their social media channels also. A simple way to see if your online reputation is positive or negative is to do a Google search of your business. Make sure to regularly check up on what your audience is saying about you and your business by reading their posts and comments on your own posts. It is important to check all platforms, not just the ones on which you have a presence.
Proper online reputation management means knowing when to react and how to react. The purpose of regularly monitoring social media channels and websites is to know immediately when something requiring a reaction comes up. When your business is on social media, people expect you to be sociable. This means your customers expect you to reply quickly to their query. It is noteworthy here that not everything needs your reaction. You should be able to identify when something needs a reaction and when there’s no need to react. However, the narrative or comment that can potentially harm you must be handled quickly and appropriately. Even if you can’t do anything immediately to solve the issue, at the very least acknowledge them. It’s always good to engage with people who post comments on your blogs and posts to cultivate a lasting relationship.
The golden rule of online reputation management is to be polite. Arguing online is a big ‘No’ as it’s like shouting in the middle of the road where everyone can hear you. Arguing on social media will draw undue attention to your brand. Let’s face it, no business is perfect and you will definitely receive negative feedback and complaints. Since these complaints are going to be in public, you need to make sure that others who are looking agree with you. Even if the other person is being rude, try very diligently to be polite so that people may have a soft corner for you. Remember, fighting on social media never goes away and may appear in search results long after the incident took place.
As you know the importance of online reviews, it’s a great idea to ask your happy customers to post a review to express their positive views to increase your collection of constructive feedback. These positive reviews will help in weakening any negative comments about your business. To do this, you can train your front desk staff to ask for reviews from happy clients. Also, you can print the links to your Yelp page in your business cards. For businesses with a large customer base, it’s best to create an email marketing campaign to encourage customers to leave reviews. To entice people into writing a positive review, you may also incentivize the process with a giveaway or competition. Moreover, you’re not only supposed to respond to negative reviews. Always leave a humble thanking reply when you receive a good review online.