In today’s digital world, a business’s online reviews are powerful enough to make or break them. This medium has been around for years in the form of word-of-mouth marketing as reputation management companies — or public relations companies as we know them in the traditional marketing world — will attest.
Word-of-mouth marketing might have a new home in the digital realm, but that doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel on management strategies. Keep reading for four secrets that today’s online reputation management companies have borrowed from the PR companies of off-line media.
4 Secrets to Know About Managing Your Reputation
1. Establish a Strong Presence Everywhere
The internet is a big place with an infinite number of ways that customers can find your business. Regardless of whether they find you on a maps app on their smartphone or a social media site like Facebook, your business should have a consistent, accurate, and robust profile.
As search engine algorithms evolve, reputation management companies emphasize the importance of having positive reviews across many online networks. Not having a strong presence will put your business at a serious disadvantage both with customers and with search engines. For example, Google now features reviews from Google My Business and Yelp alongside a business’s information in the prominent maps section of the results page.
2. Be Active and Engaged
If you want to create a strong and positive online reputation for your business, get started as soon as possible. The longer you wait to establish your presence, the more opportunities you miss to connect with customers.
Even if you don’t have any online reviews, being proactive in the online review space will reward your business in the form of new customers. Online review sites routinely show visitors other businesses that relate to ones they are viewing, and your business’s page will probably show up, especially if it has a physical address near other shops.
When the time comes that you get a negative review, it’s important that you take a deep breath. Negative reviews can be used to your advantage. Research shows that customers trust businesses more when they see a few bad apples in the list of reviews as it is more authentic.
After all, it’s statistically impossible for everyone to love your business! Your goal is to limit the damage a negative review can cause by reassuring customers that your business is actively addressing the problem and working to improve based on the feedback.
3. Do Your Research
Before there was Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad there was DiGiorno Pizza and the hashtag #WhyIStayed. Back in 2014, DiGiorno’s social media team didn’t do their research around #WhyIStayed, and, with a considerable lack of awareness, used it to advertise their pizza.
The internet quickly descended and reprimanded DiGiorno for making light of a domestic violence hashtag. Domestic violence is no laughing matter and clearly DiGiorno jumped on a trending hashtag bandwagon and didn’t do their research first. You never want to be like DiGiorno (or Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad), so do your homework.
4. Listen to Feedback (Even the Negative Reviews)
Listen closely to the feedback that customers provide to you on review sites. Multi-national corporations pay top dollars to bring in product reviews who provide feedback in real-time, and your customers are giving it to you for free!
Reputation Management Companies Can Help
As with every customer engagement opportunity, it’s important to take feedback in stride: listen to it and keep it in the back of your mind to see if any patterns emerge. Nobody is suggesting you overhaul your entire product or service line because of one customer review, but if you start to see a pattern, it might be worth exploring more.
You can do even more with the right software, so try Affluent Solution’s Reputation Management software. With it, you can analyze positive and negative reviews using sentiment analysis, giving you deeper insights into your customers’ feedback.