No matter what size your company is or which industry you are in, sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with an unhappy customer. Fortunately, most complaints can be settled quickly through an email or a phone call. Sometimes, however, the situation gets more complicated.
If a customer feels that they have been significantly wronged, they might retaliate by giving your business a one-star review online.
Unfortunately, negative word of mouth has spreads faster today than ever before, thanks to the internet. One poor review (or several) can expose your brand to a world of trouble.
It is important to have an online reputation management strategy in place before there’s a need to react to a potential crisis. Planning in advance can greatly mitigate the impact of negative reviews and other similar problems.
The Value of Being Proactive About Your Online Reputation
Most small businesses don’t have a proactive approach to online reputation management. Although most entrepreneurs understand that a broad digital marketing strategy can be crucial their success, too many businesses still limit their online presence to a company website.
With such a shortsighted approach, it’s likely that a negative review will be the first thing that comes up when someone searches for your brand. Established local businesses are especially susceptible to this risk, as they are often searched by name.
Businesses that fail to invest in brand identity services are likely to pay more for damage control, lost revenue, and rebuilding their online reputation.
Six Online Reputation Management Strategies
What would be worse than having no online reputation whatsoever? Having a poorly managed online presence that reflects negatively on your business.
If you’re unable to conduct yourself professionally online to raise your brand’s value, your online reputation will suffer.
With this in mind, take a look at these six strategies to help you manage your online reputation proactively.
Expand Your Internet Presence
Focus your attention on which social media platforms your audience is likely to use. Then, establish a strong presence there before your competition can beat you to the punch.
Any B2B-focused company will reap significant benefits from a LinkedIn presence. Here, you can create professional connections with potential prospects. B2C companies. on the other hand, might find more success by showcasing their products on an end-user platform like Pinterest.
By expanding your reach on social media, you will find it easier to connect with more people. It will also give you more control over the search results associated with your brand.
Polish Up Your Social Media Accounts
It’s not enough to create profiles on leading platforms and walk away. You will need to maintain and nurture your friends and followers if you want it to help generate business value.
You can increase your online influence by publishing interesting and relevant content on your social media feeds. This will also expose your brand to potential customers.
So always work to keep building your social media presence, so your profiles will be strong enough to outrank negative reviews or postings that would otherwise be front and center for organic searches.
Make Your Brands and Products More Visible Online
If you own brands or products that carry their own brand recognition aside from your company name, you’ll want to build a web presence for each of them as well.
Create social media profiles, or even find a web designer and build websites for any part of your business that prospects may search for by name.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to claim ownership for ALL brands you own. Aside from managing your reputation in advance, it will also prevent another person or company from claiming the profiles for use with their own products later.
This risk is real even if you own a trademark, because small differences in how they brand the business may make it impossible to wrestle those profile names back down the road.
Take Care of Your Employees’ Online Presence
Depending on the nature of your business, potential customers may reach you by searching your employees’ names rather than the name of your company.
In this case, consider building up separate social media profiles for each of your employees. This strategy can really help you take control of your online reputation in advance.
Understandably, your employees may want to keep a low profile and avoid social media platforms. Unfortunately, that attitude might make it easier for others to tarnish your company’s reputation with just one negative review or comment.
Don’t Neglect Online Reviews
Positive online reviews provide an enormous amount of value for your brand and online reputation. As many as 87% of consumers checked online reviews for local businesses during 2020.
Considering this fact, it’s easy to understand why you should ask your customers to provide reviews on Facebook, Google, or other platforms.
But don’t just focus on accumulating a large number of positive reviews. Your reputation will depend heavily on how you handle negative feedback online.
Never ignore negative reviews, and aim to avoid confrontations. Always start with an apology and offer a way to make amends for whatever made the experience unpleasant for them.
Show others that you care about customer satisfaction and are willing to accept responsibility. Sometimes you’ll be delighted to encounter reviewers who are willing to update their original review and rating based on how you handle the situation.
Frequently Update Your Blog
Blogs are excellent tools for online reputation management. Why?
First, regular blog posts allow you to showcase your expertise and demonstrate leadership in your field.
Secondly, by blogging, you can build a loyal following by giving readers well-crafted answers to any questions they might have about your company, as well as your industry as a whole.
Finally, a blog will boost your SEO rankings and provide you with plenty of content to share across your many social media platforms.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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