Online reputation management is the art of influencing and controlling a person’s or business’s brand recognition and reputation on websites such as search engines, social media and review sites.
Only a few years ago, online marketing was very different. Businesses simply had to list products on their website and were selling to a passive audience. Fast forward to today and it’s consumers who have the advantage. Between review sites like Yelp, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, video sites like Vimeo and YouTube and even blog sites and search engine reviews, consumers have the power to say what they want about your business where ever they want to say it. No matter the size of your business, people are talking about you!
Monitoring – Knowledge is Power
What people are saying about you, good or bad, is very important. Good online reputation management is not only about reacting in a positive way to what people are saying but also about knowing whether to react at all.
A proactive approach is typically the best. Social media monitoring allows a company to collect online content and assess it for negative or positive affects. Social media monitoring is accomplished through free software such as Google Alert or with the use of highly specialized, professional software.
Tips for Reputation Management
Be Respected. Trust is hard to earn. Regaining trust after it has been lost can be almost impossible. Taking care of clients and handling complaints appropriately goes a long way in earning trust and respect.
Be Transparent. When issues do arise, don’t try to cover them up. Hiding the problem is an almost guaranteed way to earn back publicity online. Instead, acknowledge the issue and work hard to get in front of it. No one is perfect – businesses included. Being transparent about the problem and the resolution in response to a negative online review can often turn a poor experience into a positive one.
Monitor What’s Being Said. You can’t thank a client for a positive review or respond to a negative one if you don’t know it’s there. A lot of knowledge about what your clients want and where you should focus your marketing can be learned by monitoring your brand online. In addition, monitoring your brand can help bring in business. A lot of people ask questions about products and services on social media and business review sites. Being able to quickly answer them could mean winning an additional sale.
Respond Quickly and Politely. Consumers will naturally assume the worst when a complaint is unresolved. Even a simply reply stating you are working to resolve the problem and will get back to them as quickly as possible shows you care about making customers happy. In the end, it’s service that counts.
Give Consumers a Chance to be Heard. Eventually, almost every business will say or do something that consumers will take offense to. Again, responding appropriately is important. Take a moment to really think about what they are saying and give them a chance to be heard. Maybe there is something to be learned or maybe it is just a difference of opinion.
Learn from Your Mistakes. Criticism can be a great way to learn more about what works and what doesn’t work. Consumers are much more likely to tell you when they are unhappy then they are to tell you when you’ve done something right. Take it as an opportunity to improve. Learn from your mistakes. At the very least it will make your products and services better – which often increases sales!