You Don't Have To Be A Big Corporation To Start with Online Reputation Management
Why is a solid online business reputation more important than ever?
Because the Internet has empowered consumers.
Anyone with an internet connection can write reviews that countless potential customers may see before they choose to do business with your company.
They can post unflattering videos about your products on YouTube. Or construct a critique of your services on their personal blog. Or share their own negative experience with your company on social media and bring your inferior customer experience to much wider attention.
And the fallout could be devastating.
More than 60 percent of people consider online search the most trusted source of information related to businesses. Two negative reviews on the first results page will cost a company 44 percent of customers — and this rises to more than 59 percent with three negative articles.
So, it’s not just global corporations serving millions of consumers that need to worry about their online reputation. Even the smallest company could be affected by poor reviews or articles.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management is the practice of cultivating a positive perception of your business on the Internet through various techniques.
A huge corporation may implement an online reputation management strategy to mitigate the negative impact of, say, a viral video that shows an executive excessively berating an entry-level employee for the most minor of reasons.
The brand may amend their current content marketing strategy to push their charity campaigns or their dedication to creating a more comfortable working environment for employees at all levels. This might encompass blog posts, videos, social media posts, interviews at popular news sites, and more.
Over time, this could help to improve the public’s view of the corporation — and win back customers.
How can this help small businesses?
Encourage consumers to focus on the positives
One of the chief benefits of a well-planned, well-executed online reputation management strategy is that consumers will be presented with more positive results when they search for your company.
This isn’t to say that pages carrying negative information on your brand will vanish. But prospective and existing customers will get to see the best of your business, not the worst.
Gain a competitive edge and set your business apart
Let’s say your company launches a new charity campaign to help feed disadvantaged children. This would be a fantastic way to improve lives, and could remind people that your business is operated by a team of real people with a real concern for others.
Consumers may feel inspired to purchase your products/services over a competitor’s, and a couple of bad reviews published a year earlier might not seem so important in comparison.
Build trust with new customers
More than 90 percent of people read online reviews regularly, and 84 percent trust them as much as a personal recommendation.
A customer who comes looking for insights into your business could try a competitor if they encounter several negative reviews. But an effective online reputation management strategy will help to bring more positive reviews and coverage higher up the first results page.
This means you could build trust with new customers more quickly and easily.
How can you start with online reputation management?
Don’t have the same budget for online reputation management as Apple, Microsoft, or Facebook?
Don’t worry — you don’t need to.
Small- and medium-sized businesses can get their strategy off to a great start with these techniques:
Be more active on social media
Social media is a fantastic resource for brand research. Users can discover:
They can learn a lot about your business within a few moments, especially if people have written reviews (such as on Facebook).
You need to be as active on social media as you can. Post valuable content that helps customers get more out of your products or services, or that aligns with your brand values.
Respond to customers fast to show that you value their interest and aim to deliver a quality experience. And definitelydon’t argue with users criticising your brand. Stay professional and remember that others can see what you write in public posts.
Start publishing blog posts regularly
Writing blog posts multiple times per week will provide search engines with fresh content to index and help to improve your rankings when you use quality keywords.
Well-written, valuable posts can demonstrate thought leadership, earn trust, generate backlinks, and increase the likelihood of customers finding positive results when they search for you.
Claim your business on local review sites
Claim your business on Yelp, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and other local review sites to stay aware of new mentions.
This reduces the risk of negative reviews building up and enables you to write prompt responses that may contextualize poor feedback.
Ask customers to leave reviews
Invite customers to leave reviews following a transaction, either through the order confirmation screen or an automated email. Be polite and non-intrusive. Explain that an honest review will help your brand grow, whether it’s good or bad.
You and your team should feel motivated to keep delivering the best possible customer experience when you’re inviting every single one to publish public feedback.
Own mistakes and offer apologies
Never blame customers outright for a negative experience. Apologize sincerely that they were disappointed with your products or service.
It’s important that you admit to mistakes that cause issues, whether a software glitch delays shipping or a lack of training means employees make recurrent errors. Address how your business plans to avoid these problems in the future, offer discounts or freebies to those affected, and move on.
Work with professionals
Working with experts is the simplest way to implement an effective online reputation management. The right team will understand your business, identify the challenges you face, and leverage various techniques to improve your online reputation.
Want to discuss your needs with Reputation Mart’s specialists? Get in touch now!
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