If you are a business owner, you know that being online is absolutely vital to your success. While the goal a few years back was simply to get online, the goal is now to make sure the online presence is a good one. You need to know how people see you, and whether that is actually how you want them to see you. This is not something you should just do on the side. Rather, online reputation management should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Essentially, it is the practice of making sure the reputation of your brand on the internet is a good one. This means you constantly have to monitor what is being said, and that you must address any negatives so that your reputation doesn’t become tarnished. This is achieved by drawing attention to the good, and pushing the bad away.
Why Does it Matter?
The world is online. Your customers certainly are and they use social media to check you out. Your competition is also online, and they are on social media. And your customers are always on the lookout for reviews. You simply cannot escape it.
Did you know that at least 75% of people use the internet to find reviews before they decide to shop somewhere? And did you know that if there is just a single bad review, 80% will go to the competition? This shows just how important it is that you work on those reviews.
How Do You Manage Online Reputation?
Managing your reputation has to be done through a proper strategy. The amount of time and work that is involved in this will vary greatly as well. However, there are three consistent elements to it:
- What is your current reputation and what do you want it to be?
- What damage do you need to fix in order to reach your goals?
- How do you keep your goals once you have reached them?
What Is Your Reputation?
You must start by figuring out what your current reputation is. You can figure this out by answering some of the following questions:
- What does your target audience already say about you? Social media is a very good source to figure this out.
- What goals do you have in terms of how people perceive you?
- Do you need to conduct an audit in terms of the reviews you have received?
It is generally recommended to work together with a professional reputation management company. They understand the ins and outs of the online world and they know where to look for anything that is said about you, good or bad. They are also able to suppress anything bad that is said about you, but in an ethical way. If you use underhand (black hat) tactics, you will get found out and you will get penalized for it, as well as instantly seeing your reputation drop.