Can you say with 100 percent certainty as a small business owner that you and your company’s online reputation are 100 percent clean?
If the answer is yes, than you have little to worry about. If, however, you are not quite sure or the answer is no, maybe you should be more than a little concerned.
Given the benefits of internet reputation management, more companies today are able to fix a little leak here or there related to their online reputation before it becomes a full-blown gusher.
As studies and business owners are quickly learning these days, more and more customers are taking to the web with their complaints, passing on the old standard of writing a letter or calling a business up to complain about a product and/or service.
So, how can your business benefit from reviewing your online reputation, fixing the problems along the way?
Keep in mind:
* Customers are online – Whether they are browsing, shopping or even talking about you, customers are online more than ever. As a result, you need to review your online reputation on a regular basis to make sure you are now being dragged down by negative press. Make note of the fact that in the “old days” for example, a customer could complain about your business in a letter or call and maybe a handful of people would find out about it. Now, a customer turns to the web and puts out a social media post or makes it directly on your website. Next thing you know, it spreads like a wildfire, leaving you to do spin control. Ignoring the problem is not an option, so do you have a plan of attack?
* The search is on – Once some negative content spreads about your business, it is likely to work its way up the search engine ladder, eventually standing out as a means to define your company. While you know that your company is not and should not be defined in a negative way, negative information is getting out there as a result of unhappy customers, disgruntled employees, or even a competitor or two. Whether you do it yourself or hire an internet reputation management company , make sure you regularly search your company and personal name to make sure they are in good standing on the web.
* Respond in a positive light – While you sometimes may want to get into an argument with an unhappy customer or wage war with a competitor, stay above the fray. Should a bad online review about your company hit the search engines, deflect it with as much positive news regarding your company as possible. In a short amount of time, you will find the search engines pulling positive copy on your business higher up the charts. As a result, what was once very bad news for your business, begins to work its way down the pages. While that information remains archived for some period of time, it is not as noticeable as it once was.
* Make your brand the focus – When you engage in rebuilding your online reputation, you have the opportunity to interact with those unhappy customers, plus gain feedback from them so that you hopefully avoid whatever it was to bother them initially the second time around. By engaging with the customers, you are seen as understanding and caring, two traits that never hurt a business. Keeping your brand in the focus, show current and potential customers that they would be wrong to turn away from you and towards the competition.
* Do you need online reputation management assistance? – Lastly, are you a prime candidate for internet reputation management services? If you can answer yes to having been targeted for bad reviews, your number of visitors to your website is steadily dropping, and word on the street (the online street) is that people are skeptical about doing business with you, the answer is very likely yes.
Your online footprint is much bigger than you may realize. If you are leaving footprints of doubt in the minds of consumers, take the time to review what is being said about you online.
Not investing the time in reviewing your online footprints could end up leaving you walking to the point of no return, return on investment, that is.