If you don’t know, you need to begin thinking about reputation management
Long ago, companies worried about reputation management only when large-scale public relations problems hit. Social media has changed that. Like it or not, the public has not only a voice, but a virtual megaphone to air their immediate thoughts about a business — both good and bad.
Online reputation management is now a necessary task for any type of business. It’s not about silencing detractors, but knowing what they are saying and addressing it in the same medium they use. It’s about making sure that your company point of view is part of the conversation when people search for information about you.
Before you can manage your reputation you need to know what it is. Google your company and see what comes up. Check the major review sites and see what people are saying. Identify the overall sentiment. Is it positive, or are reviews overwhelmingly negative? Whatever the case, you need to address the reviews appropriately and without getting defensive. This is not a one-time task. You should be checking your company’s reputation as much as you check industry trends and news mentions.
Not concerned because you see that your company doesn’t have a lot of negative feedback? Your customers may be satisfied, but if nobody is actually singing your company’s praises you are losing out. Online reputation management is equally important for improving your visibility and, in turn, your positive image.
Let them know you
What kind of web presence do you have? When you search for your company name does your website come up at the top of the results? That’s what you want, so be sure your company name is prominent throughout your website.
But you also must be active online — on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. Fresh content keeps you ranked higher in search results, so keep your company blog up to date and look for opportunities to guest blog and get even more exposure. The more outlets that are associated with your company name, the more likely your company’s culture, values and point of view will come across in search results.
Respond to what’s out there
If someone with something to say about your company was standing in front of you would you ignore their complaint or praise? If they called you, would you immediately hang up on them? When a customer takes the time to post something about their experience with your company, they deserve a response.
A happy customer will be even happier to get acknowledgment. A simple thank you goes a long way to making a connection that can grow into a recommendation.
An unhappy customer usually just wants to be heard. Responding to negative comments shows that you care enough to listen, and can often turn their opinion around.
One more reason to get started
Online reputation management forces companies to engage in ongoing conversations with customers. That provides valuable insight into what is working, what isn’t and how customers respond to adjustments. And that is vital to a thriving business.