5 Steps to Establishing Your Online Reputation

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There has been a phenomenal rise in the way customers use and trust review sites, be it for restaurants, gadgets, new launches or small local businesses. The more customers research about businesses online, the more critical it is for you to ensure your online reputation is positive.

If left unaddressed, negative feedback published online about your business or products can hurt your online reputation. Even a single negative review published online can become overblown and damage your reputation. While you may think there is nothing much you can do about a negative review, there is a lot that online reputation management can do for you.

Reputation management is all about influencing and monitoring your business’ online image. Through reputation management strategies, business owners can highlight positive comments and suppress negative ones. Third-party review sites that rate brands are easy to find, and they provide a reasonable amount of information. Websites such as TripAdvisor, Google My Business and Yelp are where your potential customers are researching your business. In order to protect and manage your online reputation, you have to track what is being said online about your business.

Improve your online presence

Managing your online reputation starts by claiming your business listings on major online directories and social media networks. These online directories and networks allow you to share information that presents your business in the best light. You must make sure to be in control of the official voice of your brand on different public platforms.

Renew your social media profiles

If you already have social media profiles, be sure to update them with fresh and active content. Social media profiles are a reflection of your business and reputation. You must ensure they are accurate and show you in a positive light. According to a research firm, regularly asking your customers for positive online reviews is an essential part of any reputation management strategy. Often, customers will not post encouraging reviews on your website or social media profiles until you ask them to. However, most of your regular and satisfied customers will be happy to post positive reviews when asked.

Track online mentions of your business

It is critical to stay on top of what is being said online about your business. To begin with, you can set up a Google Alert for your business name and products. If you want to evaluate more options, there is a broad range of online reputation management tools that can not only track mentions of your business and products but will also provide reports on how customers perceive your brand online. Another way to monitor your brand mentions is to type relevant keywords into a search engine and see what results appear. If you see negative comments next to your brand, you should immediately develop an SEO campaign to suppress the negativity floating around your brand.

Be proactive when responding to customer comments

There is already lots of advice available online on how to respond to negative comments. It is advisable not to respond aggressively, and never blame a customer for being fake. You must take the time to calm down, and respond politely and professionally. In most cases, responding in a positive manner can result in a favorable outcome. However, if the person writing the negative comments does not seem to change his or her point of view, your well-crafted response will show to others that you care about your customers and that you want them to have a positive experience.

Promote yourself

Promoting your business through an excellent SEO strategy on your website, social media profiles, blog and third-party websites can help you mitigate negative comments in two ways. First, the fresh and positive content will show up higher than the negative comments on search engine results. Second, most people understand that no business is perfect. If you have majorly positive reviews and a few negative ones, your chances of losing a potential customer are much less than if there were no reviews or if negative reviews were the only reviews published.

At the end of the day, tracking and managing your online reputation is being your real self. You just cannot fake being nice to people for long. There are no tricks or shortcuts to make sure you are seen as the best business in the history of mankind. However, by working on your strengths and making an effort to engage your customers, you can certainly stack the odds in your favor.

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