People like to talk. Consumers talk online and share opinions. Do you know what people are saying about your business online? Hopefully all good things, right? The reputation of a business includes both what the business says about themselves and what consumers are saying about them. You CAN have a say in your online reputation by learning how to manage it.
Managing reputation is nothing new. What’s new is how the internet and social media are changing the way businesses are being defined. And how fast their reputations spread. People are chatting online 24/7. They are writing testimonials, reviews or a detailed article on someone’s blog. They are commenting on Facebook and Twitter. Business owners need to be paying attention.
Here’s an example: You’re the owner of a local sports equipment store, full of great products with reasonable prices. You get lots of great feedback from your in-store customers. You work on promoting your social presence. But for some reason, you remain hard to find on Google. Even once found, it’s not so great! Google shows your review average at a lousy 1.8, Facebook at a 2.3, and Yelp at 2.0—the end result of a few below average reviews…
Moral of the story? No one is going to try a new store with a 1.8 star review. A business’ online reputation is more important than ever. A bad reputation can make or break any business. It can affect customer acquisition, customer retention and overall revenue and success in this crazy digital world. And it all starts with one nasty review.
But don’t just take our word for it. The statistics show that:
People are online more than ever. They rely on online recommendations and information to make decisions. They don’t just seek advice from friends, family, or coworkers anymore.
The first step in reputation management is to make sure consumers can find your business information online. Correct and consistent listings across directories, review sites and social networks is crucial. The next step is to respond to your reviews, both good and bad. Most consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal referrals. Unfortunately, people like to complain. They are more apt to write a review about a negative experience. That’s where a business owner needs to be watching and be able to respond quickly to resolve any issues. Responding to reviews shows that you care.
What it all boils down to is you want to show up where people are looking. And you want to monitor what is being said about you on the web. Doing this gives you a say in your online reputation.