In our increasingly online world, if your brand does not have an online presence, it can be exceedingly difficult to grow and develop your business. The same way you want to be careful about your professional reputation, you want to ensure that you are doing everything in your power to manage your online reputation. It’s extremely easy for one bad review to escalate online, so how you reply matters a great deal.
It can be difficult to manage your online reputation when you aren’t sure what is helpful, what can be left alone, and when you should ask for help. Here are some effective steps you can take to manage your online reputation and ensure that your virtual presence is professional, positive, and reflective of you and your brand identity.
#1. Perform An Audit
If you already have an online presence, a good first step to take to manage your online reputation is to see what your online reputation even is. You can do this through conducting an online reputation audit, which will uncover whether the general public view of your business is positive or negative, the kind of websites that appear for your brand name, how most visitors find your website, whether or not you are popular online, and more.
It’s a good idea to separate websites that your business appears on into ones that you can control and ones that you cannot. For instance, you have control over your social media accounts, so you can use them to reach out to site owners and adjust information that is not accurate. In other cases, the most you can do is reach out and try to talk to someone about why they hold the view they do of your service.
#2. Establish An Online Reputation Management Strategy
Once you know what your reputation is, it makes it much easier to come up with actionable steps you can take to manage your online reputation. You’ll want to establish your goals, your boundaries, your limits, what aspects have the highest impact on your reputation, and what your priorities are. For instance, you’ll want to ensure that there are company-wide guidelines about how you deal with comments and reviews, as well as a consistent, professional tone-of-voice.
You’ll want to determine response templates, what sort of reviews necessitate an urgent response (negative ones that can hurt your reputation), and clear responsibilities within your business, for who does what to manage your online reputation.
If worst comes to worst, you don’t want to be blindsided. One of the most important steps to manage your online reputation is to have a plan in place should a crisis occur. You can help with this by creating alerts for when your brand is mentioned online, how to communicate with your target audience across various online platforms, having quick and personalized replies to bad reviews, and clear chain of command. Online marketing companies like Performance Driven Marketing can help you manage your online reputation and come up with an effective online reputation management strategy.
#3. Encourage Positive Reviews
As everything shifts increasingly online, people rely more and more on reviews to tell them whether or not a business is trustworthy and somewhere that they want to work with. Studies have shown that people are willing to pay more in order to work with a company that has higher ratings and better reviews. Important as it is to reply to negative reviews quickly and well, it’s just as important to encourage positive reviews, to cultivate a good online reputation.
How many positive reviews you receive also impacts where your website falls in search engine rankings. If you have a good online reputation with lots of positive reviews, Google will rank your business higher, while downranking those that have a poor online reputation and customer satisfaction rates.
You can encourage positive reviews through pop-ups, email signatures, and more. And of course, thanking customers who do leave positive reviews helps your online reputation too, especially if you add a personal touch to your thank you. This shows customers that you care and will encourage them to come back and give you more of their business in the future.
#4. Manage Negative Reviews
Oh, how we wish we didn’t have to worry about negative reviews, but this is one of the most important things you must do to manage your online reputation. Online especially, it’s easy for things to get blown out of proportion. A good way to manage your online reputation is to reply to all reviews – positive and negative – and to be aware of how time-sensitive negative reviews can be.
The sooner you address them, the less impact they’ll have, especially if you are courteous, address their concerns, apologize if you are wrong (but only if you are wrong), and communicate with the goal to understand, not confront. Thanking them for leaving a review, asking how you can make it better, and keeping a non-confrontational tone will help with your online reputation.
Giving them a solution and a way to take the conversation offline via a phone number or an email will help in cases that require more in-depth conversion than a review reply can provide. In many cases, people who left a negative review but felt the company responded well end up coming back and giving them another chance!
#5. Get Professional Help
Performance Driven Marketing offers professional online reputation management services to help keep your online reputation positive. It can be hard to know what is right or what steps you should take without professional guidance, and you don’t want to accidentally hurt your online reputation when you’re trying to help it. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help to manage your online reputation!