Every day there are countless stories, social media posts, and comments that negatively influence a business and its brand. One of the best things you can do to generate a positive online reputation or a brand-neutral reputation is to avoid engaging with these kinds of negative content.
This is because our digital footprints will always be there and can be exploited by anyone looking to harm your reputation. Whether or not a social media post or comment reflects negatively on your brand, a link back to it in a Google search result can result in your name and your business being linked to in the worst possible light.
Three common types of online reputation are potentially at risk or cause for concern. The first is reputation with people.
This is the online reputation with the most direct impact on your business. If people don't like you, like the things you sell or vote for you, then that's your reputation problem.
The second type of online reputation is reputation with organizations and professionals. This is your reputation with your business partners, your suppliers, your other professional services such as law firms, accountants and architects, the government, politicians, and advertisers.
If someone views your website and you offer a poor value or service, then that's your reputation problem.
The third type of online reputation is reputation with machines and technology, especially computers, software, and artificial intelligence. If your company has a poor online reputation, such as the platform you use to collect payments or work from your home, this is your reputation problem.
Knowing that your reputation matters, if you take care of it and do everything you can to keep it positive, you can build a good reputation. The concept of reputation management can sound complicated, but it's not that complex.
This is really about education and awareness of your customer's expectations and what you can do to improve on that.
There are a couple of steps to take to build a good online reputation. Firstly, make sure your online identity is consistent.
This includes photos, your company's name, the name of your products or services, and the logo or branding. Your online identity shouldn't be a spelling mistake or inaccurate name.
Second, you should have clear and descriptive descriptions of the products or services you offer and provide references for each.
Finally, be honest and accurate in your company reviews. People will notice if you say you sell designer clothes and actually sell those from a rubbish skip.
Once your reputation is established, you should provide your customers with education. This may be simple education such as educating them about your business, your products or services, or telling them why you have chosen to do something.
Educating customers is the number one way to build positive online reputations. Sometimes the education may come from the customer themselves, but more often, it will come from you, the business owner.
You should make sure your online reputation is always positive.
The management of your online reputation should be a full-time business task. Online reputation management involves setting up regular monitoring, social media monitoring and feedback, and resolving issues.
It requires a good education, monitoring, and training of all the staff in the business.
Take care of your customers, and your reputation will thrive.
If your customers are unhappy with your company, then your reputation will suffer, and that will mean that they will be less likely to use your products or services, and if they do use them, they may not return. Your reputation also affects your current customers.
This leads to a vicious cycle.
On the flip side, if you treat your customers well, treat them with respect, and are honest with them, then you may get a happy customer or two, and it will often spread like wildfire.
You probably don't think too much about your online reputation. People expect you to be honest and on the up and up.
The customers you deal with are your potential customers. If you can gain a reputation for being honest and professional, then you should.
The downside is that the negative reputation doesn't die. You can't avoid it forever, but if you have a good online reputation, you can ignore the negative reviews if the customer is unreasonable.
Or you can turn it into a positive by educating the customer.
How can you manage your company's online reputation to avoid losing customers? Well, you need to address your customers' concerns and address the negative complaints.
You must respond to these complaints and resolve the issues quickly so that the negative review disappears.
The way you deal with these issues will depend on your company's nature and size. The ones who may need to be concerned are those who are:
Small businesses: You need to consider whether you can deal with the complaints and what sort of advice you would offer the customer if the problem were a big one.
For example, if your business sells children's items, you should know how some people view your company's business practices.
A good place to start is by getting feedback from happy customers. This will give you an idea of whether people actually think it is a good idea to purchase children's products from you.
You can ask them to fill in a short survey online if they want to do this.
You can also ask people to post a positive review if they have bought a product from you. You could also post links to your good reviews on your website.
When a customer leaves a negative review, you have several options. You can try to resolve the issue privately; you can reach out to the customer to ask for a response, remove the product, and issue an apology.