Improve your Business Image with Online Reputation Management
Many different aspects of running a business have an impact on commercial success, but there is one piece of the puzzle that can make or break a company. That’s the company’s online reputation.
Statistics show that modern consumers use the information they find in online search results to make purchasing decisions. Their perception of a company can affect everything from shopping choices to personal recommendations, and it can even impact your business revenue. About 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.
Online reputation management has many facets, ranging from the content posted on your website and blog, to search results and social media content. By taking action early and often to monitor your online presence, you can work to ensure your business is perceived in a positive light.
Top search results are key
The first thing many potential customers will read about your company is the content they find in top search results. Whether they are using Google or another search engine, they will often refer to the first page of search results that come up under your company or product name. It’s important to do everything you can to make these search results count.
Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the content published on your website, you can ensure the correct information comes up in top search results. The information you post about your business is not the online thing that will appear in these results, however. So, you’ll want to keep tabs on what other websites and online users are saying about your business.
It goes beyond your brand
Reputation management is not only relevant for your business or brand, but it also relates to the executives and business leaders who are running your company. Consumers often want to learn about the business owners or executives that power a company, so they will search for background information and profiles of these leaders too.
For those who hold these positions, it’s wise to keep an eye on any content that’s posted about their own life and work. Ideally, this content will be accurate and positive. If that’s not the case, it may be time to turn to public relations professionals or the media to improve the broader story that is circulating online. The good news is there are many resources available to businesses that need assistance with online reputation management. Don’t hesitate to seek help with this important – and often time-consuming – work.
The many aspects of online reputation management
One of the best ways to manage your online reputation is to spend time with the content that mentions your business. Devote time and resources to posting new content on your website, to keep up-to-date business content in the search results. You can also invite customers or clients to post reviews or testimonials online, and let the community help tell the story of your company.
In addition to online search results, consumers will check out your social media channels to find information about your company. Ensure your social media channels are active and monitor the posts that are being published there, watching for any customer reviews, questions or complaints. When negative reviews or comments are posted, it’s important to post a thoughtful response answering your customers’ concerns. These responses should be calm and focused on solutions, not reactive. Remember that reviews are designed to remain online, whether they reflect well on a company or not. So be weary of any agencies that guarantee they can remove online reviews. Instead, develop a method for responding to these reviews in a timely manner, and consider hiring a firm that can offer thoughtful responses to customer concerns.
To maintain a solid reputation online, take a holistic approach to your business profile. Find out what is prioritized in common search results, spend time sifting through reviews on sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, and take a look at your social media channels. The more informed you are about ratings and reviews of your business, the better you’ll be able to form strategies about how to market your company online.