Do you know why your business online reputation is so important? To some, that’s kind of a silly question to ask. Yet, even after how long the Internet has been around, there are still businesses just coming online for their first time, and they just don’t know of the possible problems waiting for them.
Many offline brands enter the online arena thinking they don’t need to waste time or money on something like reputation management, and yet it’s the sage advice of a decidedly offline guru that sums it up. Warren Buffet himself likes to say that it can take 20 years for you to build up your reputation, but it only takes 5 minutes for it to get ruined.
When you consider that, you can start seeing how you need to be doing things differently. Keep reading to learn specific reasons why the online reputation of your business is so very important:
Google Has A Lot To Say About Your Reputation
When people online need to look up information, most of them turn to Google. There are some that use Yahoo or Bing, but most turn to Google. They do this to look up restaurant menus, store closing times, coupons, and business addresses. If you haven’t made this information available through your website, then you’re risking ceding the top search results to negative reviews, fake information, and your competition.
Social Media Also Has A Lot To Say
You can probably name the major social networks off the top of your head: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Do you know how many users they have? More than 2 billion! With that many people talking online, odds are good that some of them are actually talking about your business and brand. If you don’t have an online presence somewhere in social media, then you have no one out there answering questions or responding to comments. You’re losing brand loyalty among your customers. You’re also losing customers. Neither is good for business.
Avoid Letting Bad Reviews Tank Your Brand
Another major component of online reputation management is having someone monitoring all of the online reviews about your business. The popularity of sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, PissedConsumer, and RipOff report continues to rise. You need to see what people are saying about your business so you can build on your strengths and perfect your flaws. Some sites even let you respond directly to bad reviewers in an attempt to set things straight, which makes you look good. This is crucial, because 90 percent of consumers use reviews to decide who to do business with, and 84 percent of them trust online reviews from their peers.
Prevent Others From Claiming Your Business Listings
Anyone can actually list your business online, and it takes time to claim those listings back. By the time you get online, you might find your business name being used on Facebook by a group of customers angry at your business, your domain name being held by a squatter that wants big bucks for the URL, and what should be your Twitter handle getting used as a parody account. You might even find competitors pretending to be you online so they can make your business look bad. Get in there and claim your turf.
Word Of Mouth Moves Fast
Word of mouth can be great for you, if it’s positive. In fact, even in the online world, word of mouth advertising is still free in many cases, and that means it’s still the most cost-efficient form of advertising. However, when it goes negative, it can be corrosive to your reputation. Think of the last time you saw a big business ‘fail’ across social media. Their reputation hit wasn’t something that happened then and then faded over time. Just one bad screenshot can go viral and stay floating around as a meme for years.
Content Can Make You King
There are plenty of tools for automatically releasing content through social media accounts at prescheduled intervals. There are even tools that can automate content creation. However, online users see it all the time and just scroll past it. Worse, they might unfollow your accounts. They don’t follow any business just because they like them or want ads waived in their face, they follow them because the brands can be helpful. Your content shouldn’t just be relevant and authentic, it also needs to be interesting and useful. Put out content that makes people’s lives easier, that solves problems, and that saves them time or money. When they know you’re thinking of them first, before they ever spend a dime, when they do spend money, it’s going to be with you.
Catering to Google is essential for your business, especially if you have brick and mortar locations. Be a part of the conversation about your brand in social media. Make sure the online names that match your business are actually yours. Manage the word of mouth about your business, and generate customer loyalty through great content.
Doing these things not only honors the importance of your online reputation but will take advantage of it too.