Your online reputation is a big part of your business brand. The internet has revolutionized pretty much every business sector and today’s shoppers are depending more and more on customer reviews, recommendations, blog posts, forums, and various other online content to inform their buying decisions.
With more than 80 percent of consumers performing an online search before making a purchase, there has never been a time when controlling the conversation about your brand was so important. For B2B businesses, the numbers are even higher. SimilarWeb reported that 94% of B2B buyers perform an online search before making any purchase. To ignore the need to take deliberate action to manage your online reputation in such an environment is to commit business suicide.
There’s no need to worry, though. Managing a business’ online reputation isn’t rocket science. You can control or be an active participant in the conversations going on on the net about your brand by just taking a few simple steps. Here are some effective tips you can put to good use starting today to start managing your business’ online reputation.
First, Build a Business Website
The easiest way to claim significant online real estate as far as your brand is concerned is to have a great website. Having a website puts you in a better position to rank high – usually in first position – when a search engine user searches for your business or products. Google makes business websites more pronounced when serving them to users through the use of site links.
The beauty of having your own website is that you have 100% control over the messaging done on the site. If you are resourceful enough, you can also create a blog to write about topics your customers are likely to be interested in.
Set Google Alerts for Brand Terms
Google Alerts is a powerful tool to monitor what people are saying about you online. The process involves telling Google to notify you through email any time someone mentions certain words or phrases anywhere on the net. You can set Google alerts for your company name and the names of products you offer so that you are immediately made aware anytime your brand name or products are mentioned in a news article, review board, forum, or blog post.
Setting up Google Alerts is pretty simple. Just follow the steps below:
- Go to google.com/alerts
- Enter the keywords you want to monitor in the white box denoted with the words: ‘create an alert about…’
- Customize how you want Google to alert you by clicking on ‘Show Options’
- Define the options you want: frequency of emails, web sources to monitor, language, region, and quality of results.
The first page you will encounter in the process looks like this:
Create Social Media Pages with Your Company Name
Did you know that over 30% of the time people spend online is spent on social media? You have no choice but to develop a social media strategy for your business even if you consider your business niche boring.
The first step you should take is to create accounts in all the major social networks in your company’s name. You don’t want a random person on the net beating you to good twitter name and leaving you with no option but to create an account that starts with @real…XYZ.
One of the main reasons you want to have social media pages is the social proof that comes with having an engaged social media audience. If you are a good business, you will definitely get fans that will like and comment on your posts. When a random person searches for your company and lands on your social media page to find an engaged group of fans, they will be more open to buying from you due to the social proof your social media following creates.
Actively Monitor and Respond to Reviews
It is hard to find an activity that will help you learn what online reputation management is all about than actively monitoring and responding to reviews. You will learn how to accept compliments with grace and how to respond to criticism. how to manage aggressive and vindictive customers, and how to deal with malicious competitors. This is especially true if you are in a business that heavily depends on leads from sites similar to Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Customer reviews are an important part of online commerce and cannot be ignored. More and more online shoppers now deliberately search for customer reviews before giving their business to a company. Being part of the conversation in review boards is not an option any more. You have to take part or the conversations may go in directions harmful to your business.
Create and Share Valuable Content
Content marketing is one of the most impactful things you can do for your business. Creating valuable content establishes you as an authority in your business niche. It gives search engines a reason to serve your pages when users search for things related to your business. It also provides a basis for email and social media campaigns. Finally it makes it easy for you to build a following through email lists.
Since content marketing is way cheaper than most marketing methods, the ROI can be tremendous. All you need to start creating valuable content is a laptop for articles and a camera for photos and videos.