For businesses of all sizes, establishing a strong online reputation can yield a variety of benefits, such as increased brand exposure, more customers, and exclusive market insights. Being active on the Internet as a business also encourages customer trust while affording you higher degree of control over your company’s branding.
It is important for business owners to put some effort into their company’s Internet image in order to ensure they’re making the most of this invaluable marketing tool. To assess your business’ online reputation, ask yourself the following questions about the way your company is viewed online.
Do customers see my company responding to online reviews?
Are you committed to providing your clients with quality products and services? Do your review pages reflect that commitment? The power of the customer review is now stronger than ever, and platforms like Google+ and Yelp allow customers to shape how your business is perceived through star ratings and written evaluations. Don’t discount these sites—recent studies have shown that people are more heavily influenced by reviews and testimonials than by traditional marketing strategies.
Because of this, it is crucial for companies to pay attention to the reviews they receive on the Internet. If you are not actively monitoring and responding to comments made about your business on various review sites, it can leave you vulnerable to a negative online reputation. Additionally, neglecting to respond to positive or negative comments from your customers may cause your business to appear callous and indifferent to customer satisfaction. Even if your response doesn’t placate an angry customer, it communicates to others that you care.
Are my company’s social media profiles engaging?
Can clients visit your business’ social media pages and see that you put time and effort into developing your web presence? Fully optimizing your business’ social media sites is a simple way to make your company look current and engaged with your customer base. Businesses that don’t have an account on key platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are missing the chance to humanize their image, earn a higher degree of brand loyalty, and generate more inbound traffic to their official websites.
Activity on multiple social media sites is useful, but businesses don’t necessarily need to maintain accounts on every site in order to have a good social media presence. Start by identifying the websites and applications that will give your business access to the greatest number of potential customers. Then, focus your energy on being as present and responsive as possible on these platforms.
How does my company’s online reputation compare to my competitors’?
Have you given potential customers a reason to choose your business over others? Your competitors’ reviews can help your company gain a useful advantage with a quick bit of research. Check the competition’s reviews to determine what customers do and do not enjoy about the company’s services before comparing their practices with your own. Looking at positive reviews of a competing company may also make you aware of service gaps that you need to address in order to improve your product or service. In addition, noting the competition’s negative reviews may help you avoid similar mistakes or reaffirm your commitment to the good practices you have implemented that your competitor has not.
Businesses owners should also look at their competition’s online presence in order to determine what needs to be done in order to gain an advantage in exposure, customer interaction, and brand appeal. Does your competition have a thriving presence on social media, but no blog on their own website? Are other companies producing content, but in an unappealing form? Determine the areas where competing businesses are coming up short online, then consider what you can do to fill the gap and position your company as the more modern and professional-looking option.
Is there anything I can do to improve my company’s online reputation?
Is your first page of search results on Google free from negative content? Even if it is, you can still take steps to improve your company’s online reputation by preparing for the future. Developing original, informative content and regularly posting it to a blog, asking for reviews from satisfied customers, and continuing to maintain your social media presence all go a long way toward safeguarding you against any negative press that the future may bring. The stronger your online presence is now, the more difficult it will be for damaging content to affect you in the future.
If your online results are not of the caliber that you want them to be, following a similar course of action can also help generate more positive search results on your first page. However, if your company receives bad press that can’t be mitigated, companies that specialize in reputation management can be hired to find ways to minimize or suppress the damage.