Even the most smashingly effective marketing campaigns will not produce the desired results if your company standing falls short.
The reputation of a business heavily involves perception. While marketing and brand awareness efforts can influence the impression that your business projects, what people say about your company online serves as a much more powerful reflection of your organization.
A single negative review or piece of content on the Internet has the potential to reach a broad audience and have a profound impact on the reputation of your company. This content can be posted to multiple channels and thwart countless business opportunities. The good news is that there are strategies and tactics to manage and repair the online perception tied to your business.
Reputation management is becoming increasingly important due to the nature of content that is posted online.
Waiting for negative news to pass with time is no longer an option. Search engines and review sites have enhanced the ability of individuals to broadcast content that details experiences or expresses opinions about a company. Even if a negative review or harmful piece of content was posted several years ago it can still be found online and heavily influence user decisions.
Everything that your business has ever been associated with can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection, viewed in multiple languages and unravel all your marketing efforts. If you are not keeping track of the online conversation surrounding your business then you won’t be able to take the necessary action to manage it.
The following statistics underscore the significant role that a company’s reputation has on the bottom line of a business:
– 90% of consumers value the recommendations of others – Forrester.
– Traffic to the top 10 online review sites had a 158% increase in traffic last year – Compete.com
– 92% of people who purchased an item based on an online review found that the review was accurate – Comscore/The Kelsey Group.
– 34% of people have used social media channels to share their opinions about a company: 26% to express dissatisfaction, 23% to share information about products or companies that they like – Harris Poll.
– 92% of people place more trust in information found online than from a salesperson or other source – Wall Street Journal.
Businesses that choose not to take an active role in the preservation of their online reputation are leaving it exposed to outside influences.
Successful reputation management requires consistent monitoring and the implementation of a variety of strategies and tactics. The list below outlines a few of these best practices.
1) Be Consistent
Your business information should be posted to multiple online channels and needs to remain consistent. If this information is outdated or is not in line with your brand it can undermine your professional image. This makes it essential to periodically audit this content and make any necessary revisions.
2) Encouraging Customer Reviews
Positive online reviews can help support the legitimacy of your business and balance out negative comments. Asking customers to provide honest feedback about your products and services and directing them to prominent review sites can also boost your local search presence.
3) High Quality and Diverse Links
Acquiring links to your website from relevant and authoritative sites, business listings, online review sites, etc. will help cultivate trust around your brand.
4) Monitor Review Sites
In order to handle and prevent negative reviews it is important to regularly monitor and evaluate the content on review sites. A lack of involvement on review sites exposes your business to unchecked criticism. Routinely visiting these websites will give you the ability to respond appropriately and collect feedback regarding common customer concerns. This can also help you avoid future complaints for the same problem.
4) Ask for Customer Feedback Offline
If you have the opportunity to clear up customer issues during a phone call, at your business location or through other means, you can greatly reduce the probability of having customers post negative reviews online. If you receive any complaints through customer surveys, or via service and product reviews, it is important to follow up quickly to avoid having the conversation move to online channels.
While it’s paramount to make note of and address past content that involves your business, the real focus should revolve around setting the tone for future discussions and creating a foundation of trust.