5 Ways To Effectively Manage Your Online Reputation
No matter what kind of business you have—offering a product or service; operating via a storefront, online, or combination of the two; selling locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally—it’s imperative to manage your online reputation. Ignoring what’s being said about you on the internet can be a recipe for disaster, since literally anyone can be a reviewer today.
Before we get into some ways to manage your online reputation, here are a few figures to contemplate:
- 92 percent of consumers read reviews before choosing a business.
- 71 percent of consumers buying new services start their research with Google reviews
- Online reviews account for 9.8 to 13 percent of Google’s search ranking factors, so more reviews equals more potential customers seeing your business.
Do all your reviews have to be positive? Perhaps not, especially given two more figures:
- 68 percent of customers trust reviews and the company more if they include both positive and negative reviews.
- 30 percent suspect fabricated reviews or censorship when they do not see any negative reviews.
Knowing all that, let’s focus on the topic at hand: five ways to effectively manage your online reputation.
- Understand the importance of social media and social media influencers.
Your company may have multiple social media accounts, but are you really making the most of them as a way to gain new business? It’s not enough merely to have accounts; companies need to be actively engaged with account visitors—and those that are especially savvy will consider hiring social media influencers to drive traffic and shape brand perception.
- Empathetically respond to consumers. This should be considered the golden rule when it comes to online reputation: empathy toward your audience. When customers complain online—and it’s almost a given they will—respond to them as cheerfully as you can. Constant good engagement is a key to getting customers to recommend your brand to others, and that can mean more money in your pocket, since more than half of online shoppers are likely to choose to do business with you because of a friend’s recommendation.
- Know how to deal with trolls. An unfortunate reality of having an online presence is encountering trolls who intentionally aim to damage your company’s reputation. Keeping in mind that there’s a fine line between complaints and trolls, once you’ve identified someone as the latter, it’s advisable to reply only twice; if the negative banter persists, cease engagement. Maintaining a dialog attracts unnecessary attention to what’s likely a non-issue, and constantly clicking on negative comments gives Google the impression they’re relevant.
- Don’t overlook the power of employee-inspired reviews.
This doesn’t mean “stuffing” your reviews with ones written by your employees, but providing links to positive employee reviews of your brand from sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and comparably in your online forums. It’s a good strategy to maximize employee review sites and foster a working environment where employees feel safe to speak their minds.
- Focus on actively participating with customers. Regularly engaging with customers is a great way to secure your online reputation. Some excellent strategies to acquire and retain customers include providing your online information at the bottom of receipts, offering coupon discounts and rewards to customers who constantly share their thoughts through your online platforms, and requesting reviews through automated emails and texts.
There are certainly other things you can do to effectively manage your online reputation, but this is a good start. And keep one more number in mind as you wonder whether it’s worth it to be proactive: a .1 star increase in your average review score can mean a 5-9 percent increase in revenue.
Not sure where or how to start? Don’t have the time to manage your reputation online, but you want to bring in more customers? Contact us for a free strategy session to find out where you could use a boost and how we can help.
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