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With the growth of social media and online review sites, it’s getting increasingly difficult to manage your online reputation. Whether you’re a small company, mid-sized agency, or leading brand, a solid reputation is key to long-term success. What’s more, Google and other leading search engines are paying more attention to online reviews, rewarding reputable businesses with higher search engine rankings. The good news is that you can build and protect your brand’s reputation without needing a big budget.
The Fundamentals of Reputation Management
Put simply, online reputation management is about knowing what people are saying about your company online, where they are saying it, and how to repair any negative feedback. It’s about controlling how your brand is perceived and then protecting your reputation. It can be broken down into three parts:
Building Your Reputation
1. Claim your business listings on major online directories. It’s free, and you remain in control of the content relating to your business. Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, and Google My Business are just a few of the most reputable. Having a presence on all of these can significantly improve the search results for your business name and push any negative content down in search engine results pages (SERPs). Being easier to find on search engines will also drive more traffic to your official website.
2. Get social. Take time to create accounts on the social media platforms where your potential customers hang out. Regularly updating your social media accounts with useful, professional content will ensure you present your company in the best light.
3. Create quality website content. Deliver content to your audience that is in tune with their needs. People don’t want to read promotional content all the time; they want useful content that addresses their key concerns. You need to come across as a business that cares for its customers, so you need to be more personable and transparent. A blog is a great way to build your credibility and drive engagement.
Maintaining Your Reputation
4. Be consistent. If you have an online presence across various online platforms, your image should remain consistent. Make sure your company information is consistent across online directories, and your company voice is the same across social networks.
5. Monitor how you’re being perceived online. First, search for your business on Google to see how you come across in search results. Next, set up Google Alerts on your business name to get emails notifying you when your business name appears in online content. Finally, for just a few dollars per month, you can use an online reputation management tool such as Social Mention, Topsy, or Trackur to track what is being said about your business.
6. Encourage user reviews. According to a 2014 BrightLocal survey, around 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. https://www.brightlocal.com/2014/07/01/local-consumer-review-survey-2014/. Ask your customers for reviews, especially if they were impressed with your service. As well as learning how people feel about your company, products, and services, it gives you a valuable opportunity to respond to your customers and show you’re listening.
7. Use SEO best practices. Having website, social media, and online directory listings optimized for search engines is key to making more of your positive content show up higher in SERPs. Make sure you’re delivering content that is in line with current search engine guidelines. Basically, create excellent content that is relevant to your business and serves your customers’ needs.
Protecting Your Reputation
8. React in the right way to negative reviews. When faced with negative comments, it’s crucial to respond professionally. Listen to comments, acknowledge the problem, and see if you can fix the problem, or at least explain your side of the story. This way, you can use a negative post to ultimately show your company in a positive light.
9. Respond quickly to negative content. Any delays in responding to negative feedback can make your company look bad. Try to appear accessible to customers on social media and review sites by responding to comments as soon as you can. It’s a simple way to show you actually care what people think.
The Bottom Line
Most businesses will encounter negative feedback at some point. By following these suggestions, you should be able to mitigate any long-term damage to your brand and optimize your online reputation.
If you want to make sure your company is shown in the best possible light, with cutting-edge website design that reflects your brand’s personality and puts your audience at ease, contact Steven Milanese today.