In days gone by, consumers only had information provided by a company. It was easy to manage your reputation because you were the only one talking. Then along came the Internet and brought with it social media. Suddenly, everyone had a voice and wasn’t afraid to use it. Now, online reputation management is vitally important to your company’s success. You can’t afford to have the critics, and your competition, be the only ones talking.
1. First impressions are everything
Internet search engines can single-handedly make or break your reputation online. If someone Googles your company, do you know what they are going to find? You better.
The people doing the searching rely heavily on what they find. And because search engines rank content by relevancy and not by quality, negative or untrue content can rise easily to the top. And because the vast majority of users aren’t going to look at the second page of results, you’d better be in control of the first page. That’s where reputation management comes into play.
No, you can’t please everyone and there are bound to be negative comments made online. But being aware of what’s being said will allow you to react accordingly. Not only will responding to criticism soothe the party complaining, but others will see you’re responsive to your customers. It’s when you’re unaware of the problem that things can spiral out of control.
2. It directly affects your bottom line
But why should I care what they’re saying about me online, especially if it’s mostly untrue? Well, people believe what they read online and make financial decisions based on that information.
Studies have found that nearly 80 percent of consumers will research a company online before opting to give them their business. Presumably, you’ll want to be in charge of what they’re reading about your company.
An example. A woman looking for a contractor Googles your company only to be bombarded with hateful reviews and allegations of faulty work. She then Googles your competitor and finds their website, social media pages and blogs touting testimonials from happy customers. Who do you think she’s going to give her money to? Which side of this story do you want to be on?
3. An ounce of prevention…
If you don’t control your brand online, someone else will. And you can be fairly certain it won’t be someone who has your best interests at heart.
You should be certain you’ve put your best foot forward on the web. You have the ability to choose how people view your company online. You do that by providing fresh content for search engines to display. That can include positive customer reviews, information about the company and all the great things you have to offer.
It’s your name. No one’s going to protect it but you. By being in charge of what’s said about you online will help you increase your search engine visibility. It will also make it harder for the bad to rise to the top, sealing the deal on that good first impression.
Thanks for reading,