You’d hope your customers would feel the same way you do towards your brand. Sadly, that’s hardly ever the case. No matter the type of business you own, you can’t always please everyone. There will always be that occasional unhappy client.
A lot of customer complaints can easily be resolved via email or phone call. However, the situation can quickly escalate and become potentially problematic if the customer retaliates and leave negative reviews about your business online. The Internet has made it possible to reduce the space between customers and because of this, news travels faster than ever before.
If you want to stay ahead of the game and maintain a good business online reputation, you must proactively manage and improve all the feedback you receive about your brand. And just like any other marketing strategy, there are practical steps you can take to proactively improve your online reputation.
Today, we’re going to look at 3 steps you can take to make sure your business is always presented in the best light. Let’s get started.
Stay Active Online
Today’s customers research various products, services, and brands online before making any purchase. This makes it all the more important to have a website and social media accounts ready for your business. You can do this by:
- Letting existing customers know of your social media accounts and ask them to follow you;
- posting regularly and engaging with customers;
- adding relevant, valuable, and attention-grabbing content; and
- fostering a loyal following to your brand.
If followers and potential customers see a consistent influx of positive feedback, they’re more likely to associate your business in a positive light. In turn, they’ll believe that your business is an authority in your niche or industry.
Keeping a strong online presence not just boosts your business reputation, it also helps increase sales. There’s no better way to do this than to connect with your customers and followers. Customers feel appreciated when a company or brand reaches out to them, so never ignore their comments. As much as possible, respond to each of them and in a timely manner.
Respond to and Promote Online Customer Reviews
Another efficient way to build up your business online reputation is to let happy customers build it for you via online reviews. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey in 2018, 86% of customers read online reviews for businesses or brands prior to making a purchase. Given this information, asking your customers and followers to leave reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google My Business, or Facebook, can greatly help your business generate a positive online reputation and in turn, build consumer trust.
IHateWritingEssays founder, David Anderson, added that apart from collecting positive feedback from customers, managing your business online reputation also involves how you respond to negative reviews.
“Instead of leaving these less-than-stellar reviews unanswered, apologize for their experience and attempt to resolve the issue via email or phone. In many cases, a reviewer will be willing to turn their sentiments around and update their original review with a more positive one if their concerns are addressed by the company,” he said.
Monitor Your Competitors’ Online Reputation
Do consumers like your business or your competitor more? Why do your competitors’ customers like them better than you? What are consumers saying when they compare you with your competitors?
All of these are vital information you need to know, so you can improve your own business’ online reputation.
One of the advantages of keeping track of your competitors is that you can learn to avoid mistakes. You either see something they’re doing right, which you can apply to your own business before you miss out on the opportunity. Or, you can learn from their mistakes!
Another advantage is that you can reverse-engineer their marketing tactics based on the content they share. From Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to social engagement – everything is out in public. All you need are tools to find them easily. And that is the magic of competitive monitoring.
Lucky for you, there aren’t a lot of things that are kept private on social media – or the World Wide Web in general. If your competitors are marketing online, it’s easier to find and analyze their online reputation management. Things like their online review strategy, customer support, and which social media influencers they’re working with – every channel or area is a great opportunity for learning and improving your own business online reputation management.
Over to You
Building your online reputation takes years to build, but it only takes one wrong move and mere seconds to tarnish it.
Your business online reputation is a lot like a relationship, except that it involves hundreds of thousands of people. It’s definitely more complicated to maintain than a normal human relationship, but the principles pretty much stay the same.
The secret to reducing or avoiding negative reviews to have an impact on your online reputation, is to always have a management strategy in place even before a potential crisis arises. It pays to plan ahead so your company can respond more rapidly and efficiently to minimize financial loss.
At the same time, be wary of what people think of your brand, reflect on their feedback to improve your business, and observe what competitors are doing. Most importantly, be honest and reliable. It’s not always easy, but it’s simple.