97% Of Business Owners Ask …
Why Online Reputation Management Is Important
Here’s How To Keep Up
Managing the online reputation of companies is definitely one of the primary concerns of business owners. For a long time, this management has been a burning topic of conversation. And now, thanks to a new study by TripAdvisor, we can see exactly how easy it is to reach the tipping point.
The study which came from the partnership between TripAdvisor and Ipsos MORI included asking owners of travel agencies and other businesses related to travel that operate around the world to explain which trends in their industries they consider to be “Top-Of-Mind” for them for the year 2018.
The survey clearly shows that businesses believe that the importance of their online image is becoming an increasingly dominant factor in their decision making. They also believe that digitally connecting to their customers and potentials is a must. To be more precise, only 3% of respondents said that they don’t focus on online reputation management. And when it came to the importance of having a social media presence and good online reviews, the results were similar. It is quite clear that managing your brand’s image online is crucial when it comes to staying in business.
Of course, these trends do not limit themselves to travel businesses. Across all industries, buyers are making their decisions through information they get online. Whether they make online searches to find out about the products they plan to purchase or if they are simply consumers of digital content, and as such, they have seen numerous advertisements for specific products they are buying, they are still focusing their efforts on the online world. In fact, even startup companies that are looking for new investors are focusing on filtering anything that can be found about them online.
For those reasons and many more, business owners are turning to modern technology to attract customers. Social media and mobile platforms help target the audience and increase revenue.
But keeping up with the times is not a simple matter. So, to help you out, we have created a list of six things you should be doing.
1. Deep Audits
If you really want to know what your current online reputation is, you should do a really thorough deep audit. That way, you can actually find out what your customers see when they Google you. And as we know, customers tend to believe the first results Google shoots out. For that reason, you want to ensure that they see new, positive, and clean news articles or reviews of your company on a regular basis. If they don’t, there is a good chance that the first impression could be destroyed.
The statistics are actually scarier than what most people would expect. A single negative online review that shows on the first page of Google can cost a business up to 22% of revenue. And if among those first-page results your customers find three negative reviews, the loss goes all the way up to 59.2%.
The issues don’t even stop there. Sure, those are the worst effects, but your content also has to be effective. Any inconsistencies or flaws in your content and calls to action can further damage you.
And lastly, you should always dig around in your own history for two main reasons. The first reason is that your older pieces might be outdated. And if they are, it might be a good idea to remove or update them to look more modern and keep them fresh.
The other reason can be a lot more important — your old content might be taken out of context. Sometimes, companies reach for jokes in order to reach a wider audience. If you do that correctly, the results can be astonishing. However, sometimes humour doesn’t age well. So make sure to check all of your older posts to see if they are still acceptable in today’s society.
You can start by doing the first bit of auditing manually. Go through your old posts and search results to see how your company is standing. However, if you feel like a deep dive is required (and for most companies, it is), you should hire a professional. Also, you can utilise tools that can automatically go through all of your social media posts and scan for any potential red flags.
Once you feel happy with the results of your “audit and adapt” campaign, we would recommend setting up Google Alerts. Remember, you want to stay on top of everything regarding the name of your company, your executives and your industry.
2. Online Reviews
Reviews are one of the most important engines that drive online sales. People simply don’t purchase products they can’t check out online. If you are recruiting new talent, you want to check reviews of your business on platforms like Glassdoor. And if you are trying to improve your sales, make sure to stay on top of any Yelp reviews. In fact, there are platforms for most sectors of the business world.
Studies show that a vast majority of people relies on online reviews to learn about products. In fact, they believe those reviews as much as an average person believes a personal recommendation. Unfortunately, people are not keen on leaving positive reviews. If the products are working perfectly and the customers are happy, they will just go on with their lives. It is when they are angry or unhappy that they resort to leaving reviews.
For that reason, you should focus on encouraging your customers to leave reviews. Even if they leave single-word positive reviews, you will benefit from those.
3. Valuable Content
Believe it or not, three-quarters of customers said that they choose their vendors according to the content those vendors are putting out. Of course, to people who have been in marketing for a while, that is not too surprising. People across industries are informing themselves through online content.
Nowadays, customers can make a majority of their decision before they even contact a sales representative. Not so long ago, customers were relying on sales representatives for information. But now, they go through two-thirds of the purchasing process all by themselves.
Essentially, you want to offer digital content that is answering their burning questions. If you don’t, they will just go to your competitors that can help them.
At this moment in time, no particular method of digital content is the one to rule them all. Customers are individuals, and as such, they prefer different types of content. For some, webinars and case studies are the way to go. Others, however, prefer personal approach and blog posts. Some people prefer entertaining content, while others focus on educational pieces. We would recommend testing out different approaches or otherwise researching your consumer base to find out which approach will work for your company.
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4. Social Media
If you are trying to maintain your online reputation, you can’t allow customer relations to suffer. So, you can’t leave the customer messaging and your social media posts behind. In fact, those deserve your full attention. And you can’t just ignore social media either. If you try to do so, you are essentially just hiding away from your customers. Most of them won’t see that as a good sign, and you might jeopardise the relations altogether.
Instead, you should use your social media profiles as small windows into your company’s inner workings. Showcase everything that is good about your company. Highlight the values you hold dear and give your customers regular updates.
Remember, the customers that engage with your social media are your most loyal clients. Make sure to engage them and show them that you care. That way, you can maintain the Top-Of-Mind Awareness for those customers.
However, you should bear in mind that something as simple as a brand name can be difficult to get on social media. With billions of accounts out there, it is quite possible that another entity will take up your brand’s name. And if that happens, you might find yourself in a tough spot. So make sure to register your name on every social media channel you can think of. And that includes any fringe platforms most people don’t know about. There is always a chance for those platforms to blow up, and you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity.
Naturally, nobody is expecting you to slave away trying to be active on every single social media platform available to man. Instead, we would recommend focusing on those that are proven to work for you. Focus on the process and aim to continually improve on it as you go
Customers want to know as much as they can about your company. You would be surprised if you knew everything that is included in their decision-making process. So be ready for them to investigate your executives. Depending on how big your brand is, it is very likely that your customers will google your executives. If your company is relatively large, a large chunk of your market value can rely on the reputation of your CEO. In fact, for some global companies, the CEO’s reputation can carry up to 44% of the market value.
So, before you hire a new executive officer, make sure to audit their digital footprint as well. Make sure to do so for your business partners, notable employees, and even influential customers.
When you find a new executive officer that is perfect for your company, you will want to advertise them. Remember, people will potentially google your staff. And if they do so, it wouldn’t do you any good if the search results don’t show your company’s name. So make sure to have a way to convey the news to your general audience. If your new CEO has a Wikipedia page, make sure to update it. Or, try to contact third-party publications and organise a mention of the news.
Having your company under constant scrutiny can cause a general feeling of unease. Unfortunately, that discomfort is something you can’t avoid. There will always be details that remain outside of your control. But you should remember that those details are a positive force for you. If brands had complete control over the media, online communication channels would lose their credibility. That would make smaller companies unable to leverage that credibility and grow.
So focus on controlling what you can control and maintaining your positive online reputation.