If you’ve ever read a review online or if you’ve searched Google for a product, then you can understand the importance of online reputation management for a business. And you’re not alone – 84 percent of people trust customer reviews online as much as a personal recommendation — 58 percent think a business’ star rating is most important.
Even regular people are using reputation management services to make sure their public images don’t prevent them from landing a good job. In 2016, 49 percent of hiring managers who use social networks said they found information that caused them not to hire a candidate.
These days, most of us need some degree of good online reputation management. If you run an online business where you sell products or services, it is absolutely essential. Online ratings and customer reviews can be both a tool for viral growth and also a source of frustration and complaints.
Local business owners have known all along about the importance of maintaining a good reputation in their community, so it only makes sense this would be true for online businesses also.
With the ability for anyone to leave a review of you where millions can see it, understanding your customers and addressing their complaints is more important than ever.
When you make the management of your online reputation a key part of your overall marketing plan, you’ll be adding direct value to your customers’ experience, publicly showing you care about their experience and increasing the value of your online business.
1. Own Your Search Results
You should already have a content marketing plan and good SEO on your own website, whether or not you’re interested in online reputation management. But being successful at marketing your online content can also help you own search results for your business name, crowding out unwanted results, whether those be competitors, trolls or negative reviews.
Maintaining profiles on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest is also a lot of help for owning your own search results. Google loves social media profiles, so you can be sure they’ll help you own Google’s front page for your name.
2. Go Where Your Customers Are
You need to have your finger on the pulse of conversations about your business that your customers are having off your website. If you you’re an online retailer, the most important will be the places you sell. Customer reviews on Amazon, Ebay or any site where you sell things.
Online customer reviews are amazing resources for getting thoughtful feedback, not to mention new ideas for new products or services. But don’t merely monitor these sites for new marketing strategies; actively look for ways to improve each customer’s experience. Offer technical support, or a way to get a refund. Say thanks for a nice review. Give them an extra level of attention that will get keep them talking about your business – in a good way.
3. Use Images
Images, whether personal moments or cynical memes, have become more and more important as the Internet has matured. Posting photos to social media regularly offers a good way to help define how you want your business to be perceived by your customers. When considering your online reputation, it seems obvious to not post images that could lose you a job or a client. Projecting a professional image that speaks to the values of your customers is an essential part of doing business.
It’s important to regularly post photos about your current projects, so your online customers see the human side of your business, which is often lost in online interactions. Printful is a great example of an online business that uses socially-shared photos and snapshots to tell a story about their everyday operations, and show the human side of their business.