Managing Your Business’ Online Reputation
Posted on June 15, 2012 by Jessica Stevenson -Reputation Manager
In this increasingly digital age, more and more people are turning to the Internet for information about businesses. Hopefully they will find pages created by you, the business owner, such as your website, your Facebook account, or your Twitter. They will also come across review websites such as Yelp! and Google+ Local. Hopefully these sites are full of compliments about your business, but chances are there is at least one negative comment about your company. This is where reputation management comes in, the process of repairing and maintaining consumers’ perception of your business.
Your online reputation is extremely important because it is often a potential customer’s first impression of you and your business. Not having any presence online can be just as detrimental to your business as having a negative presence. If customers are looking for a business like yours in your area and can’t find any information about you, it is likely that they will take their business elsewhere. To prevent this, it is important to claim your page on various review sites such as Yelp!, Google, and Yahoo Local. Keep your website relevant and updated. You should also become established on various social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In addition to building an online presence for your business, this will help you to track what is being said about you and your company so that you can respond.
It is important for business owners to be proactive with their online reputation. Respond to complaints in a calm and professional manner. Try your best to resolve any issues. A response to a customer’s question or concern shows that you truly care about the experience your customers receive. You can also respond to compliments and thank the reviewer for their input. Apply the feedback that you get from reviews to your business in order to improve it. You may also want to ask your customers to review your business.
Although newer social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram won’t show up when consumers perform an online search for your business, they can still help to build a positive reputation. Both sites are designed to portray a lifestyle that your business fits into. They help you to build a more informal and candid relationship with consumers that feels more genuine than other marketing efforts. These sites are visually oriented and, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Use attractive and interesting images to show consumers your business and the the types of products or services you provide.
Even if you don’t use the Internet much, it’s very likely that your customers do and you don’t want to lose them due to a poor online reputation. Having a positive reputation online can help build trust between you and your customers. This will in turn increase your revenues, pull in more customers, and make your business more profitable overall. You can even use online reputation management as a fairly inexpensive marketing initiative, helping you to save money in the long run.
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