If you’ve been in business for more than a month, potentially tens of millions of people have access to information about your brand online, including what others say about it. Online reviews on formal platforms like Google and Yelp and informal conversations on social media can affect how others see your company – and determine if they’ll do business with you. Positive online chatter can strengthen your company’s reputation and help you earn repeat business, but negative buzz can derail your business.
With so much at stake, managing your business’s online reputation is crucial. We’ll share seven tips for monitoring and managing your online reputation and explain why online conversations about your personal or professional brand are such a critical factor.
Effective ways to monitor your online reputation
According to a recent Dixa survey, 95 percent of customers spread the word online and offline when a business interaction goes badly, but only 47 percent proactively share a positive experience. Knowing what others are saying about your brand and managing potentially unpleasant situations can rescue current customer relationships and protect future ones.
Here are seven ways to handle online reputation management for your brand.
Online reviews can sway new customers to try your business – or scare them off. According to Podium‘s State of Reviews report, 88% of prospects consider good and bad online reviews when making purchasing decisions.
1. Monitor your social footprint to manage your online reputation.
Facebook and Twitter are popular social media platforms, but they aren’t the only ones. Perform regular searches on your brand name or product on various social media platforms – including Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok – to get an idea of what people are saying and gain valuable insights into consumer sentiment toward your brand. Remember to check all relevant social platforms, not just the ones where you’ve built an online presence.
Some small businesses perform these social media checks in-house or by hiring a social media manager. Others turn to the best online reputation management services for help.
2. Respond to people promptly to manage your online reputation.
If you have a social media presence, people expect you to be sociable. When your customers reach out to you on social media, they want you to reply quickly to their queries. They may reach out to compliment you or share a story about your products or services. They may have a problem or concern they want you to address. Either way, it’s crucial to respond to all online reviews and mentions and acknowledge them.
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Engage with positive comments and posts, and address problems and concerns swiftly. If you can’t solve a problem immediately, share that you’re working on a path forward and stay in contact.
Your goal is to cultivate a lasting relationship with your target audience. Engaging and being responsive cultivate positive relationships and can nip potentially negative interactions in the bud.
Use negative comments and reviews to highlight areas that need improvement. Address these areas and post updates to show you listened to customer feedback and made things better.
3. Ask for Google and Yelp reviews to manage your online reputation.
Online reviews are powerful tools. They can attract customers early in the buying cycle and build trust with e-commerce customers researching your brand online.
To generate good reviews, ask happy customers to post reviews and share their experiences on popular review sites like Google and Yelp, their social media accounts, and your business website. You can also encourage other forms of user-generated content like social media posts, blog posts and testimonials.
If you have a large customer base, create an email marketing campaign to encourage customers to leave reviews. If you’re having trouble getting reviews, incentivize the process with giveaways or competitions to improve your digital marketing ROI.
Customer reviews are also a way to build your SEO strategy. They provide new information for search engines and can elevate your profile.
4. Encourage brand advocacy to manage your online reputation.
Social media can help you cultivate a base of strong brand influencers to market your brand. Give your audience a reason to follow and engage with you by sharing content they enjoy, starting discussions with them and hosting competitions.
You can also encourage brand advocacy internally. A firm set of social media guidelines for employees should detail the culture and nature of their online references to your brand openly and honestly.
5. Be transparent to manage your online reputation.
Leading with transparency builds trust. Given that anyone can find everything you’ve ever said online, trying to cover up the truth has serious backlash potential. Practice honest communication and marketing on social media. Always admit your mistakes because if you try to cover something up, it will be found out sooner or later.
If someone complains to you on social media, don’t delete or hide the comment. Instead, address it immediately. Remember, millions of eyes could be watching.
6. Set goals to manage your online reputation.
When setting goals for your media presence, ask yourself why you’re on social media. Your answer shouldn’t be “because everyone else is on it.”
Though the overarching purpose of a social media presence is to increase brand awareness online, your actionable goals should be more specific. For example, you may want to increase Instagram responses to your product by 25 percent by the end of the second quarter. Use various social media metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts.
7. Know your audience to manage your online reputation.
Identifying your target audience is critical in any attempt to manage your social media presence. Once you know your audience’s wants and needs, you will be better equipped to understand your social media presence and its purpose. You’ll know which platforms work best for your brand and how to speak to your audience on each specific platform.
If you’re considering outside reputation management help, choose an online reputation management service that can help you analyze your current reputation, generate new content and optimize your social media presence.
Why should you care about what people say online?
Here’s why protecting your brand reputation is crucial for success:
- Your customers are researching you online. The Dixa survey found that 93 percent of consumers read online reviews before purchasing. When potential customers research your company, they’ll often go beyond online reviews to examine your social media accounts and search your brand on Google or another search engine. You must be aware of how all online channels reflect your brand, not just your website.
- Other people’s opinions carry a lot of weight. Today’s savvy consumers look beyond brand marketing to find actual customers’ experiences and opinions. And customers aren’t shy about sharing bad experiences. They’ll call out your shortcomings on social media or Google, and minor complaints can get out of hand. Before you know it, you could have a PR disaster on your hands.
- Customers reward companies with a great reputation. If your business has many great reviews and positive comments on social media, prospects will likely choose your business over your competitors. They’re even willing to pay more for a service from a company with higher reviews and ratings. The stronger your online reputation is, the more you can charge for your goods and services.
According to Dixa, 39 percent of customers say they won’t do business with a company after one bad experience, and 53 percent would steer clear unless they couldn’t avoid it.
Managing your online reputation helps you stay in control
Carefully cultivating your brand’s online reputation can increase your sales and positive sentiment toward your brand. People expect businesses to engage with them online and on social media to at least some degree, so it’s essential to do it right. Avoid the pitfalls of poor online reputation management because the world is watching and listening.