In 2020, businesses are under more pressure than ever to have a website, maintain a blog, create content, be on social media, and the list goes on! If your business isn't online, you're missing out on a goldmine of potential customers.
However, being online can be risky business if you're not careful to uphold your reputation. Creating and sharing great content online is simply not enough. You also need to have strong online reputation management.
Keep reading to learn what online reputation management is and how to develop your own system of online reputation management!
What is Online Reputation Management?
Just like businesses manage their reputation and appearance in real life, they also need to manage their online reputation.
This essentially means that you want your business to have a good image anywhere that it appears on the Internet. Your business website is obviously a big part of this. However, your website isn't the only thing you need to look at when managing your online reputation.
Your online reputation is also made up of your social media presence. That includes the social media posts coming directly from your business, as well as what others are saying about your business on social media. Reviews of your business (especially Google reviews) are also an important factor in a business's online reputation.
As a business, the easiest way to build up a good reputation is by consistently providing high-quality services and useful content. However, even the highest-quality businesses run the risk of "losing face" at any moment.
After more than 20 years of working with businesses of all sizes, we've seen how fragile any brand's image can be. This is why proactive online reputation management is a must-have for any business
Online Reputation Management and SEO Strategy
Your online reputation, marketing strategy, and SEO strategy go hand-in-hand.
In today's online world, the first page of Google is basically your business card. What do people see when they run a search for your business name? By implementing a firm SEO strategy, you can remain largely in control of what people see in the search engines about your business.
Always follow the basic search engine optimisation rules:
- Do your keyword research, but create content that is written for the user. Avoid keyword stuffing!
- Pay attention to metadata and alt-tags in your website's backend. SEO involves more than just the written content!
- Provide high-quality, in-depth content that is well-organised and broken into appropriate headers and sections.
- Name any site images with the name of the keyword you want to rank for
- Optimise all site pages for fast loading speed
Perform regular audits of your business website to ensure that your SEO strategy remains on target. If this is too much for your business to handle, consider seeking out affordable SEO services to assist you.
Business Reviews, Local SEO, and Online Reputation Management
Most businesses that exist in the online sphere already know the importance of basic search engine optimisation, but do you know how important reviews are for your local SEO strategy?
Think about it from a consumer's perspective. How often do you check the reviews before purchasing a product or service online? Most people want to see what others have to say before they make a decision.
In fact, a whopping 90% of shoppers report that they are influenced by user-generated content when making a purchase! That means that no matter how great your copy is, they're still going to want to get a user's opinion before they do business with you.
Remember that search engines exist to serve consumers. It only makes sense, then, that reviews play a factor in search engine rankings. Businesses with multiple good reviews rank higher than others.
How to get business reviews? Try asking for them! Create an email funnel that follows up with online purchases by asking for a review of the product or service provided.
If you need assistance with creating these emails, our reputation management service can help. We show you how to get good reviews on websites that matter. We implement tools like onsite survey kiosks and feedback links that you can share anywhere.
Video content ranks well on Google. Product-based businesses might want to consider building some "video unboxing" content to build your brand's credibility and rank higher on Google!
If you're a brick-and-mortar business, hang up a sign in the shop asking customers to leave reviews for you on Google or Facebook. Better yet, engage with them directly before they leave. If they had a positive experience in your business, ask them to leave a positive review! If they have not had a positive experience you can engage them directly in person.
Social Media Matters for Your Online Reputation
Have you ever seen those promotions where a business is giving out something for free in exchange for a post on social media? For example, maybe a bakery gives you a free cookie if you Tweet about their business.
This is another form of user-generated content. It's a type of marketing that helps to "spread the word" about your business on social media. It's a chance to encourage spreading a positive image of your business.
As a brand, it is also important for you to appropriately maintain your own social media platforms. Always be mindful of what you post.
Before sharing any content on social media, ask yourself: is this relevant to my audience? Is it helpful to them? Does it promote the brand image that I want to promote?
When Things Go South...
You might be thinking Okay, this all sounds great, but what about when people share negative content online about my business?
This is where online reputation repair comes in. You need to have a plan in place for when the inevitable negative comments appear.
When customers leave negative reviews online, use it as an opportunity to improve your business. No matter how scathing the feedback, criticism always opens up opportunities for growth.
What went wrong for this customer? How can you make it better? If it's a public negative review, be sure to leave a public reply with an apology, an explanation, and a way that they can get the support they need.
One great strategy we've seen for proactive review management is to ask all customers to contact the business directly before leaving negative reviews. Sometimes simple miscommunications can be ironed out before any online reputation damage is done.
We Can Help!
As Warren Buffet said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
After reading this article, do you see some things that you need to do differently with your business's online reputation management? Contact us today to schedule a consultation!