When the internet changed our life drastically and affected how we do business, it has completely overhauled how a business must be kept and maintained to make sure it lasts long. Businesses on the web enjoy a very tight competition among them, which is usually addressed with intensive SEO research and content marketing.
Due to the rise of internet use, its mainly positive uses have also paved the way for negativity. The internet has been known to be so fast paced, where the power lies on your fingertips. Anything done on the internet is bound to be spread in such a short span of time, anything—be it positive or negative.
Since social media gained popularity, it has also been considered as a venue for business and marketing. There are now websites dedicated only for product and company reviews, which should always be carefully reviewed and monitored. Any negative review about your company that can possibly be seen by a potential customer could pose danger to your business status.
Why is online reputation management important for business?
Anything negative written and posted about your business is seen as a red flag by your customers. A person can instantly change his mind about your business once he sees a negative review, and could very likely quash a deal that is about to be sealed.
Yelp and other review sites make great venues and ways to market your business. An abundance of great reviews from past and existing clients will automatically give your online reputation a boost. Your sales can multiply and there will also be a higher chance of a bigger market you can have as regulars.
However, the promptness of having great reviews be viewed by thousands is just the same as to how fast negative reviews can also appear in the internet. When not constantly reviewed, businesses can suffer long term effects of negative reviews, which could range from a drop in website traffic to a huge dropdown of sales and profit.
What are examples of online reputation management?
- SEO research about your company. Researching about your company online is a good first step if you want to take online reputation management seriously. Google Alerts is a very useful tool in monitoring your brand’s current reputation. A negative review or blog post can destroy your business in the blink of an eye, which can be disastrous. Anything posted on the web that can cloud your reputation and put your company in a bad light must be immediately removed before it can be seen by your target audience.
- Content management. Most websites allow its site visitors and guests to leave comments on its blog posts. It is great for backlinking and link exchange programs, but can also be dangerous if not monitored properly. People can post malicious content on the comment boxes, and are automatically tagged relevant to your brand. It should be imperative for any website owner to tweak a site’s settings so as to not automatically publish posted comments.
- Online investigation. There are companies specializing in being a detective for your site to be free from any negativity. They closely monitor your site, and also make sure there are no mentions of your business in the web that might spark red flags in the eyes of your consumers.
How do we jumpstart managing our online reputation?
- Always remember that your online reputation is your branding for your business. Taking a business online requires you to monitor your online activity and really know what people on the web think of your services. Once a negative write up gains attention, it can be a huge business blunder which can result to a long term drought.
- When facing negative and destructive criticisms, consider replying to them—but do it promptly and respectfully. We know what they say, respect begets respect. Repairing your reputation by facing and countering them can be a good thing for your business, and can also give the notion that the write ups are not entirely true.
- Take a lesson or two from the criticisms you receive online. While most negative feedback can be regarded as senseless and baseless, it has to be noted that they weren’t given just to destroy your brand. It could be there because the person who posted wanted the business or services to improve and be able to serve its customers better. Sometimes, it is also great to take opinions with a grain of salt and also learn from them. Then again, negative review removal must always be exercised.
- See your website as your business card. Online businesses sure cut our consumption of written marketing materials such as flyers and pamphlets, but marketing is still very much alive. When you decide to completely run your business on the web, you have to know by heart that your website automatically becomes your branding. Any negativity published on your website can destroy your business in a jiffy.
- Don’t click on websites publishing negative content and commentaries about your business. This goes with SEO and backlinking. The more you click on these websites for whatever reason you may have, the more Google and other search engines think they are relevant to you, which could only worsen the problem instead of eliminating it all together.
Running a business both online and offline needs effort and maintenance to make sure it keeps swimming in an ocean of competition. There are plenty of things to be considered, and the reputation should always be at the top of the priority list.
There are now a lot of companies providing high quality online reputation management services, which can take the task off your shoulders so you can focus on other areas of your business which also demands attention. If you, however, want to skimp a little on this part and decide to do it yourself, it is also possible. There are online tools available for websites to use to make sure their companies enjoy a clean reputation.
One eCommerce blog said that online reputation is forever. It could be, when you do not take online reputation management seriously. Make sure you review every single post, and take proper action when doing so. To remove or to make it forever is always up to you.