Have you Googled your business lately? If not, you need to do it right now. Why? Because we live in an era when your online reputation can be either your biggest business asset or your biggest liability.
So, you need to be aware of what people find on the web about you.
You’d think that a few negative Google results about your business won’t affect your sales. Well, if you think that, it’s time for a reality check. Guess what? Data shows that brands risk losing nearly 22% of their sales when potential customers read one negative article that appears on the first page of the search results.
And, if you think no one is going to Google your business, know that over 90% of consumers search for and read online reviews before visiting a business. What’s more, these online reviews have been found to impact nearly 67.7% of consumers’ purchasing decision. But that’s not all. 65% of Internet users actually see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and brands.
With that in mind, you still think that a few negative stuff on the Internet about your business isn’t that relevant? We’re hoping not. Just like Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. And, like it or not, this couldn’t be any truer.
Online reputations of businesses are really easy to ruin these days. All it takes are a few negative reviews from unsatisfied customers, a scandal, or a mistake of one of your employees to throw all your reputation management efforts and invested time at the trash can.
So, without further ado, let’s see how you can manage your business’s reputation adequately.
Monitor your social media accounts
What are people saying about your business on social media? Not sure? Find out as soon as possible because you may be losing on sales if you’re not there to protect your business’s reputation.
These days, everybody is sharing their thoughts and experiences on social media, including their experiences with brands. So, the chances are that if your customers have something bad to say about your business, social media is the first place they’ll go to vent out.
For this reason, regularly check every corner of social media where your business might be mentioned, from posts comments to relevant hashtags, reactions to your posts, and, obviously, the review section which is an absolute gold mine for understanding your brand reputation online. The quicker you spot negative feedback, the quicker you handle the situation and turn it into a positive experience with your brand for the sender.
Engage with social media influencers
Speaking of social media and its power, you should know that much of its power is driven by influencers these days. Social media influencers are, well, internet celebrities whose opinions matter a lot to today’s Internet users. Influencers have already built trust within their audience, who see them as reliable sources of information. So, you definitely want influencers to be on your side.
Publicly engaging and partnering with some of your industry’s most famous influencers can help you gain trust and build a good reputation on the Internet.
Hire online reputation management services
If you lack time to stay online and see what people on the Internet are saying about your business and respond to their feedback, this doesn’t mean that the online stops there. People will continue to talk about their experiences with your brand and probably about your inactivity as well. Over time, you’ll probably start to notice a decline in numbers at the end of the month.
So, what options do you have? Well, if you lack time to do it yourself, you can hire an online management company that works with customer insights and data, such as BrandVue, to help you find out how your customers feel and what you can do to improve their experiences.
Stay positive in all communication
Positivity in communication can get you a long way, whether you are facing negative or positive reviews or comments.
For example, when you receive a negative comment, the gut reaction is to respond to it immediately and likely to explain yourself in the comment. Well, instead of that, maybe it’s best to take a step back and analyze the situation, find the problem, and take steps in solving it to make the sender happy again.
Also, never, but never simply argue with a customer, especially in the comments section where other people will see it too. Instead, ask your customer about their experience and problem and come back to them with a solution. Even if you are 100% sure that your customer is wrong and your business is right, never put it this way. It’s best to display an attitude that shows a willingness for improvement than to be perceived as arrogant or closeminded.
What’s more, you should not forget about positive feedback as well. Make sure you respond to positive comments with “Thank you” and a personal touch.
Constantly ask for feedback
Here’s the thing: no business will ever be able to satisfy every single customer it has. Some things are a matter of personal taste, so it may not be your business’s fault for a poor experience. Or, you may deal with a difficult customer that will never be satisfied with anything. That’s normal, and if you’re realistic, you shouldn’t expect to satisfy every single customer.
Yet, even with difficult customers, there’s one thing you can do that might tame down their urge to leave you a negative review or comment: asking for their feedback. Asking customers for feedback, especially before they get the chance to express their content or discontent online, shows that you care about their opinion.
Both negative and positive feedback is important. While from negative feedback, you can learn what improvements you should make, from positive feedback, you can learn what your business is doing well and should keep on doing. But when you are the one asking for feedback instead of waiting for the customer to offer it, you likely succeed to keep the negative feedback out of the online.