6 Steps to Improving Your Online Reputation. The internet is an amazing invention. Through it, we can easily communicate with our consumers and gather the data necessary to make smarter business decisions. Some businesses even achieved success through an online exclusive model. However, the internet is a double-edged sword. If we’re not careful, it can even lead to the downfall of your business.
Why online reputation is important
All businesses, big or small, should be concerned about the online footprint they leave behind. Consumers are growing ever more reliant on the internet before any purchases. Investors do stringent background checks before making any decisions. Any bad press could discourage people from supporting your business. According to a Moz study, businesses lose 22% of potential customers if the first page of their search engine results turns up any negative articles. Google also states that a positive online reputation leads to a higher ranking on search engines and an increased likelihood that you’ll be included in Google Maps’ 3-pack on local searches, thus the need for online reputation repair.
How to improve your online reputation
97% of business owners acknowledge the importance of online reputation management, but how does one improve their online reputation? Here are some steps you can accomplish.
- Provide adequate online support
Now that most customers do their transactions online, whether by choice or due to the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, your business must have the right infrastructure in place to give the customers the assistance they need if they have any complaints with the products or services they received. Usually, customers will reach out via private channels when there’s an issue, so if you successfully resolve the problem at this stage, you won’t have to worry about it escalating and reaching the public eye. Sometimes, even if there was a problem with the order, a good enough customer service experience will be enough to encourage the customer to still leave a positive review and purchase again.
- Respond to all reviews
You must encourage customers to leave reviews to boost your company’s online reputation. This can be achieved by sending them emails or prompts once the transaction is complete. Make the review-writing procedure easy for them by providing a link where all they have to do is type. A long review process is discouraging to users, especially since they get little to no benefit in doing this. You can offer them something in exchange for the effort, like a discount for their next purchase.
However, in encouraging reviews, you must also prepare to receive negative ones. Not even the highest-rated company is free from service mishaps, so when an unhappy customer airs their grievances by giving you a one-star review, you must approach with sympathy and professionalism. Avoid hostile behavior. Engaging in a fight with an unhappy customer will come off as unprofessional and will discourage customers and tarnish your reputation further. When a customer is unhappy, they expect you to resolve the situation, not to throw the blame onto the customer. Should you or your employees lose your temper when dealing with a customer online, it’s best to reach out to online reputation repair services to deal with the fallout.
The way to deal with negative reviews is not to delete them or ignore them, but to offer a proactive response. Offer them an avenue for them to reach out to you and once that customer does, ensure you resolve the situation quickly and satisfyingly. By doing this, even if potential customers see your negative reviews, they will also see that you took the effort to resolve the situation. It’s more important to a customer to know that a company will be ready to assist if something goes wrong.
- Monitor your online mentions
Usually, negative posts about a business go viral and gain media attention because the business was slow to take action. The sooner you can contact the person who made the post, the less likely it will escalate. Take advantage of social media monitoring apps so you can easily be alerted when there’s anything negative being said about your brand.
- Educate yourself and your employees
What some business owners, especially older ones, fail to understand is that whatever you post on the internet is permanent, and can influence how consumers perceive you. This does not just apply to your business website or social media accounts, but yours and your employees’ as well. If you or any of your employees make racist, sexist, or other controversial remarks online, it will negatively impact your business. This is why it’s important to provide your employees with adequate training to eliminate any implicit biases.
- Adopt to more favorable business practices
The growing popularity of ethical consumerism among Millennials and Zoomers means that if you want to capture this market, you must adopt more ethical, sustainable, and eco-friendly practices. There are various ways you can do this, from donating to charity to supporting fair trade suppliers. Consult with experts to determine how you can do better, and listen to your employees if they have any concern about their working conditions.
- Invest in professional online reputation management services
Besides negative articles, you should also worry about any off-color Tweets or social media posts you may have made in the past. The prevalence of mob mentality and the permanence of anything posted online means that once the wave of hate rolls in, people will find anything they can to pile on to the fire, even posts made years ago. If you’re concerned about any of these posts coming to light, an online reputation repair service can audit your social media to ensure all undesirable posts are deleted.
For the good of your business, you must actively work to ensure your brand has a good online reputation. It may be daunting to know that you have no control over what’s being said about your business. In the age of misinformation and mob mentality, things can easily get misconstrued, but there are various avenues available to assist with these concerns, from online reputation repair services to professional PR agencies.