It’s been said that “a picture is worth 1000 words”, but what if that picture ended up online where the internet never forgets? Online reputation management is a big problem in today’s digital world that businesses need to address. You wouldn’t get caught without a crisis management plan for your business, and you should have the same urgency for a reputation management plan in the online world.
Businesses who ignore their social media and online reputation are asking for trouble. According to Forrester Research, seventy percent of people trust brand recommendations from friends. People trust friends’ opinions and online reviews more than any marketing scheme you can create. In today’s online world, it is all too easy for someone to find out everything about your business before they even consider stepping inside your door. Try our four tips to help make sure your online reputation reflects the way your business actually runs.
- RESPOND!!!!– When something negative happens online, this first step is often overlooked. It is important to always have a response ready. Even if all you do is acknowledge the comment, you need to make sure you say something. People don’t like to be ignored. You’d be surprised how much acknowledging your customers and their frustrations can do for your business.
- Be Quick– A response on its own isn’t enough if it happens weeks or even several days after the fact. Always respond in a timely manner. Not only will this let users know that you actively participate in social media, but it will let them know that you care what they think. Nothing shows customers you don’t care about their input like ignoring it for weeks or months and then going back to say “thanks”.
- Use the Positive– There will be negative things posted about your business online. It is inevitable; sometimes people post things that aren’t even true just because they can. While it is important to watch and react to the negative, you shouldn’t forget about the positive! When people say nice things about your business online, let them know you appreciate it. Respond back to them. You can even use positive reviews for marketing purposes. What a better way to show potential customers that you have excellent products and service than to let previous customers do the work for you? Can it get any easier? Eighty-Eight percent of customers say they trust online reviews as much a personal recommendation so make sure you make good use of the good reviews you get.
- Hire a Professional to Help You– The digital sphere can be overwhelming. It is constantly changing, and new platforms are introduced almost on a daily basis. But since it is something that can no longer be ignored and something that needs active participation, we recommend hiring a great PR firm to help you stay on top of your social media. You can find great cost effective firms that will allow you to stay current in social media without blowing your yearly marketing budget.
Remembering these four easy steps is just the start of building a great reputation online. Behind most of the great reviews you see online is a company offering great products, great service, and running a smart business. If your customers love you in real life, by and large they will also love you online. And now you have the tools to build your own online crisis management plan, so that when those inevitable negative reviews come in from customers looking for a place to vent, you’ll be ready to deal with it.Share
About the Author:As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.