What is your online reputation management strategy? Do you have one in place? If you do, how much attention do you give to your online reputation? As consumers have more and more information at their disposal these questions become increasingly vital to the success(or failure) of a modern business.
Think of your online reputation as the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He guards a bridge against would-be attackers. While it is unlikely that attackers will come at you with Excalibur, they can still do damage to the reputation of your business, which is far more than “merely a flesh wound.”
Like the Black Knight, throughout the battle with Arthur Pendragon, your reputation can be dismantled limb from limb without proper care.
More Than a Poor Review
Ask just about any marketing professional and they will cite word of mouth as one of the top customer acquisition channels. The challenge for many businesses is that word of mouth has seen a fundamental shift in recent years to online platforms.
Disgruntled customers aren’t just at your shop counter, they are standing with a megaphone on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t get me wrong, these platforms are great for finding and building a customer base, but because one bad experience can be amplified so easily, it is far more detrimental to your business's online reputation.
Creating a Digital Handshake
The role of online reputation management is more than just putting out fires when called into action. These platforms now act as a digital handshake between businesses and their customers. Now more than ever, customers are doing their homework before making a purchasing decision, so it pays to tend to your reputation like a garden.
This can be particularly true if you are operating in the B2B space. Most reputable businesses have some form of vetting process in place when making purchasing decisions. They will put every aspect of the buying process under a microscope and this is where a mismanaged online presence can haunt you.
We Don’t Talk About…
Get the song out of your head, because in online reputation management we do have to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. It might not be fun, but it is absolutely critical if you want to build trust. And make no mistake about it, trust is the central theme of reputation management.
Customers want to know that they are using their money wisely. Being proactive when issues arise will not only help lessen the impact of an upset customer but will also show future customers that you are willing to address problems and improve your business through customer feedback. At the end of the day, every online interaction is an opportunity to build trust.
So Much To Manage, So Little Time
Now that we got the why out of the way, it is onto the how. For most companies, this is the part that is like staring up at Mount Everest before making the summit. After all, there are dozens of social media platforms, Google, Glassdoor, and more that have to be considered and carefully managed. Before you hyperventilate, take a deep breath and start small.
Where to Start?
Although it may seem daunting, always remember that small steps will yield big results in this space. The most important aspect is consistency. Consistency in this regard starts with actively monitoring the key platforms that you utilize. Yes, there may be a one-off Youtube video where someone rips into your product. Control what you can control first and foremost.
Google and Facebook are two of the most frequented platforms that customers will tap into to get a better picture of the company behind a product. Don’t be scared to ask your current customers to leave Google reviews, just don’t attach any strings to the request.
For social media, go back through the last couple of months and look for opportunities to engage your customer base. If they left a comment, respond. If they had an issue, hopefully, it has been resolved, but it never hurts to double-check.
These microtransactions with your customer help in other ways as well. Most social media algorithms will prioritize engagement and it can help you grow your online presence quickly.
Remember the saying “you can’t be everywhere at once?” Well, with the use of technology, you actually can be in multiple digital spaces at once. Platforms like Hootsuite and Sprout Social have made reputation management significantly easier in recent years.
Rather than having to jump from one platform to the next, these allow for all of your social media profiles to be managed under one roof. Doing so will save you time and eliminate the worry of a customer question or comment falling through the cracks into the digital wasteland.
Get Started Today
If you feel like you are behind the eight ball, don’t fret. There is plenty of time and ample opportunity for you to have a positive impact on your online reputation. As mentioned earlier, small steps are the key to success, much like a ripple effect on a pond. You don’t have to bite off more than you can handle. Should you get lost, or struggle with where to start, connect with the Hire a Writer team. We have social media experts that can help you strategize and improve your business’s online presence.