In today’s information age, consumers are very likely to research a company online before they actually buy a product or service from them. In fact, a study on online reputation management showed that 85% of customer use the internet to research before making a purchase. (Source: Nusani).
So if you own a local business and are searching for ways to build a favorable reputation online, then these essential tips can help you manage and improve your brand’s reputation on the web.
1. Monitor Social Media mentions
Monitoring your brand’s mentions will make you understand how well-known your company is and can also give you some insights about your target audience regarding their likes and dislikes for instance.
More importantly, it will give you what is being said about your brand by your audience. It also gives you the opportunity to respond to the negative reviews before they spiral into something bigger.
We know that it is difficult to constantly keep a track of every mention about your business on social media, and this process could be immensely time-consuming, especially if your business is present on more than one social media platform.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free tools available to help you track social media conversations with ease. Have a look at the top tools provided by Social Media Examiner.
2. Reply to comments – even though they are negative!
Did you know that for some businesses, more than 80% of reputation damage comes from a mismatch between the buzz and the reality? (Source: Nusani).
In other words, your business could potentially lose 80% new customers due to false negative statements made against your company online. This shows how crucial it is to tackle negative comments or feedback about your company whenever the situation arises.
You can even respond to positive statements for that matter to build a more effective rapport with your audience and boost your reputation further.
3. Make your business transparent
It shows consumers you have nothing to hide and ensures them that your company follows honest and ethical business practices and no hidden dealings.
It slowly and surely develops and strengthens your reputation as well.
4. Encourage clients to post testimonials
Using testimonials from your current and past clients will also help tell your audience that your products and services are one of the best out there. So, don’t hesitate to ask your clients to share their testimonials about their experience of doing business with you.
You can also encourage them to post their reviews about your company on local online business directories or popular review sites like Yelp.
5. Ensure your employees have a positive image
In business, an image is everything. Be it that of your business itself or even the employees who work for your company. Each employee represents your brand, so if anything negative about one or more employee gets posted on the internet, then it could tarnish the image of your brand.
The only way you can make sure your employees have a good image is during the hiring process. Conducting quick reference and social media profile checks before recruiting an employee could help you understand the nature of some candidates before you hire them. (And exhibit how online reputation is crucial even at an individual level)
Let it sink, my friend!
6. Take help from the professionals
If you have tried using all of the above tips, but are still not seeing any significant increase in your brand’s reputation, then you can always take a little assistance from professionals in online reputation management specializing in local businesses.