When a potential customer’s first stop is Google search, online reputation management can be crucial to the success of your business. The power of your online reputation can be used to build brand image, increase credibility and improve the bottom line.
Your online reputation is a powerful tool for your business. Do you know that an increase of one star-rating on a third-party review site can lead to almost 9 percent more revenue? Do you know that positive online reviews can improve your search engine rankings?
Negative reviews, on the other hand, can cause irreparable damage to your brand image. It is quite possible that your brand’s online reviews are unfairly balanced as customers are more likely to post negative experiences than positive feedback. The real damage comes when a potential customer sees negativity surrounding your product and chooses to steer clear of it.
You can either bury your head in the sand and hope for the best, or you can take proactive steps toward managing your online reputation and using it to grow your business.
Not sure where to start? We have put together some simple steps that will help you manage and improve your online reputation.
- Monitor what is being said about your brand online. You cannot fix a problem if you do not know it exists. You must stay on top of what is being said about your business online – positive or negative. You can set up a Google alert that will notify you any time your brand is mentioned online. This will help you step in and take necessary action right away. In order to manage online conversations, you must first claim all public listings of your business on local directories, including Google My Places. By claiming your business listing, you can get a handle on what gets published under your brand’s name.
- Respond promptly. When it comes to online reviews or comments, timing is critical. If an upset customer is writing something about your business or product, and you fail to respond on time, it can give the impression that you are not concerned about customer care and satisfaction. If you come across a positive comment posted by a customer, say thank you and make it as personalized as possible. However, if the online comments are negative, you must apologize, provide a solution and offer to take the conversation offline.
- Use social media to engage customers: No business can afford to evade the influence of social media, and therefore it is important to monitor social media channels and engage patients. You can implement innovative tools to help you track social activity and brand mentions in a dashboard format. By staying active on social media, you can create brand advocates, drive online traffic and attract positive customer reviews and feedback.
- Monitor review sites: While most businesses are not very fond of online reviews, these websites do make a difference. This is because an increasing number of potential customers are heading to third-party review sites to compare brands and products and post reviews about their experiences. In one of the many surveys conducted to understand the importance of third-party review sites, it was found that 41 percent of potential customers consult online reviews of brands and products before making a buying decision.
- Provide unmatched customer service: Most often, unhappy customers will not complain; but they may not ever come back to you. If you do not provide excellent customer service, they may never bother telling you what your mistakes were and how to improve your service. Unhappy customers, in addition to not returning to your business, will likely tell others about their bad experience. This ripple effect of one unhappy customer can be very damaging to your brand reputation. Make sure your employees are trained on providing excellent customer service.
Regardless of the size of your business, online reputation management is the cornerstone of your business. It is possible to maintain your online reputation by simply doing your job as best as you possibly can and survive for few years in the cut-throat competition. However, you will need to take a proactive approach if you do not want to wait for things to evolve on their own. The best way to address ORM issues is to follow a proactive approach. You can consider hiring an online reputation management expert for keeping an eye on your online presence, search results, bottom line, etc. Potential customers will be more willing to do business with you if they find you trustworthy. Attracting and promoting positive online reviews may boost the online reputation of your small business.