The reputation of your brand is like the moto of your business. Reputation is an important factor for growth, brand development and sustainability of the business. Word of mouth has been an important tool for sales and marketing for ages and it still is. But, as we enter and thrive in the world of the Internet, businesses need to manage their image online as words over the web travels much faster. A tarnished reputation can be a grave crisis for any business.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon once said, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6000 friends.” So, you can imagine the intensity of a bad reputation. Its impact on your business is unavoidable, and sometimes irreversible.
Online Reputation Management is managing your presence on the Internet, how your business looks when they search for it and how to manage reviews. It is how the positive content about you and your business comes up first and the negatives are pushed down below, so that Google searches give a positive image of your business. Research shows that 70% of people take action based on online reviews and 68% of people trust consumer reviews posted online.
As a matter of fact, you cannot control bad news and once its up online, it stays there forever. So, it is important to manage what goes online or how to change that in your favour and create good news. The following pointers will help you to make your Online Reputation Management program a success.
Know your customers:
As you are in the process of creating your online presence and build your reputation, get feedback from your customers. Know what is good with your business and what could be better. Talk and highlight about your positives so that customers can also testify. Keep a track of improvement areas and your plans of resolution so that you can proactively respond, if a review or comment comes up.
Voice out carefully:
Choose your words, actions and shares carefully on the Internet, especially on social media. So, it is important to have a social media policy in place. Check before you post or share something on your business page or blog, if is in-line with your business and if it is relevant and useful for readers. In case, you have a business blog, refrain from making it a sales pitch, rather share information, that motivates audience to reach you.
Know your employee experience:
Your employees are your greatest marketers, both offline and online. What they speak about you outside or how they present you matters a lot. So, know about their experiences about you, your business, the workplace before they share anything on the web. The social media policy will help you to keep a track of information. Knowing your employees is as important as knowing your customers.
Be transparent and consistent:
This is one of the most important things. You really do not have to disclose every bit of information, but ensure you are transparent and consistent in what you are disclosing. Be consistent with what you say online and follow it in your business soon. A transparent reputation makes your business look clean and customers appreciate the same.
Monitor your online presence:
While it is important to monitor your updates on the web, it is equally important to monitor what people say about you over the Internet. So, keep a track about references, shares, tags, etc. It is also a good practice to know about your competitors and what they are up to.
Be true and sincere:
Make sure the information you share online pertaining to you or the industry is true and valid. Seek information sincerely from customers and respond appropriately. Talk about your best practices, your story and experiences. Reveal relevant and true facts and figures so that people are assured of your authenticity and rapport.
Build your online reputation NOW:
The onus of building your reputation is on YOU. So, it is better you build your reputation before someone else builds it for you. Digital marketing and online presence is quite important in today’s age and you should leverage the widespread reach and accessibility to customer base over the Internet to the advantage of your business. So, if you are there online, make sure your brand, networks, followers and social engagements present a positive image of your business
While you know best what to write about your business and how to build your brand, do not ignore the negative comments, get into arguments or share your details in any response. Manage online reputation and brand building wisely and reap the benefits of positive publicity.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it.”, make sure your Online Reputation Management strategy is fool proof to prevent any damages. A good online reputation is truly a boon for the business and takes it a long way ahead.
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