Do you have an online business presence? A website, a blog, or any social media account(s)? Would you be in a position to handle any negativity directed towards your business and your products or services? Online reputation management is very important, as it influences search engine results pages about you, therefore influencing your sales.
Despite the upward trend in running businesses online, you should always be on high alert for any negative comments or reviews on your pages. Your capacity to run your business successfully online depends so much on your ability to manage your online reputation in the midst of negativity. Your business’ name online represents your brand. You must therefore do everything possible to maintain a good brand name. This means working round the clock to uplift your brand.
To ensure that your business prospers, even after an unfortunate situation, you may consider all the tips highlighted here:
- Build your presence on relevant media
You must carve out a niche for your products. To do this effectively, you should create and boost your presence only in relevant areas of the web. There are many avenues online and you can be easily sucked in or lost in a wrong medium. Depending on your products or services, choose your best social media platform. The platform should be competitive to grow your business by reaching the target market.
Some of the main media outlets for your business include Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. LinkedIn is a good platform for professionals and executives in your business. For visual impact, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube or Flickr will be helpful.
- Be active on social media
You should never neglect your social media accounts. Just because your business has a Facebook, Twitter and Google+ page doesn’t mean that your business will be successful or your customers happy. You must manage these accounts and be able to interact/ engage with customers at all times. In most instances, just explaining a simple problem or apologizing for a mistake made results in a good online standing with your customers.
A positive standing online builds trust with search engines like Google and directly result in higher ranking on search engine result pages.
- Create a business blog
Almost everyone with a business and an active social media presence has a blog. Do you have one? You should. Blogging has been shown to be the best arsenal for local SEO. Articles and short pieces with keywords associated with your business boost your local rankings. You can share news, current market trends, tips, or opinions about your market and products or services. As long as your name is mentioned, there will be traffic generated to your page.
You should also consider guest blogging. There are several authentic and authoritative websites and influencers who allow guest features and blogs. Prominent blogs are great at pushing down negativity. And, with your blog on another website, backlinks to your site will increase traffic to your page.
Most tests are failed because of not listening. There will be many complaints online that will need your listening more than shouting for the situation to die down. For bad reviews and online complaints, especially when the frequency is high, consider keeping quiet and listening.
The old adage ‘the customer is always right’ is true. By listening to your customers, you may realize that there is an actual problem which if and when addressed will increase your sales. Your creativity will also be rewarded because you may come up with a better alternative that will actually save money or beat your competitors.
- Say sorry
The phrase ‘I am Sorry’ is often undervalued. It always seems hard to say sorry yet these are the words that could easily turn around the negativity on online life. If your business makes a mistake, you should own up to the affected.
This has been and will always be the best way of diffusing criticism and negativity in tough business situations. It is an exemplary crisis management strategy.
- Encouraging positive feedback
The best way of gathering positive reviews and customer feedback is by asking your customers to submit their reviews on your products or services. You may ask your customers to write what they liked most about the services received or the item purchased. This way, if there are any complaints, you get to handle them immediately before they flare up. You should always know that one negative review can turn your profits into big losses.
- Avoid arguments
You can easily get sucked into situations. Even when you are right, technically or otherwise, avoid any form of arguments and confrontations. This is because you can easily come out as petty and/or unprofessional.
You are highly advised to take such communications offline and find ways of reconciling. The worst that may happen in confrontations is that your online presence and brand name gets smeared, especially if the customer is actually right. Your professionalism in handling such conflicts could win your business more customers.
- Invest in reputation management
Businesses with strong online presences have invested a lot in reputation management. You will have to spend a lot of time and money so as to have a positive online reputation. Research on the best online crisis management tactics and previous tactics that worked. You should also invest in online reputation tools such as Social Mention.
Hiring an internet and social media manager may cost you some money but will prove effective in managing your online presence.
- Monitor conversations
You have to eavesdrop. If you have a big online presence or a renowned brand, then someone will mention your name. So, even when not posting, just watch and listen because someone will talk. Customers could be complaining. Therefore, you should be alert, listen and avert any problems that may occur.
- Implement authorship and protection of proprietors
This strategy involves close association of a business with its founder. With the individual’s name and picture on the website, trust is easily gained. This works well especially on Google+.
You should also have a strong social media presence for the founders or all persons associated with the business. Even if these individuals prefer a low-key profile, extreme privacy opens doors for defamers. A name associated with a business drives sales up.
In conclusion, a strong online presence is pushed and built by professional online reputation management. Besides SEO strategies, you may also consider taking legal actions against anyone posting defamatory messages. These will cost money but they will protect your business and save more money in future.