Think online reputation management is only for the big dogs? You better think again!
According to eMarketer 83% of consumers say that online reviews impact their opinions about a particular company, and 8 of 10 of these people added that a unfavorable entry online is the cause of them changing their mind about that company. Even one negative review, whether justified or not, can negate all of your finest efforts if you haven’t planned an online reputation strategy to overcome it. So to help with that I’d like to offer five strategies your business, and your brand, can implement to monitor and manage your online reputation.
- Monitor your company and personal names – Keeping track of what’s being said about you and your company is of paramount importance. Fortunately, there are lots of free tools to aid in this regard, like Google Alerts, Hootsuite, Social Mention as well as others.
- Claim all your relevant social properties – Unused social media sites can be utilized by your competition to pull you down, and spread negativity. Be sure you claim all social sites that matter for your brand.
- Own as much of page one of Google as you can – One proactive way to make sure what people read about you when they Google you is to own most if not all of Google page one for your brand names. This makes it much harder for flyby attacks to have much if any effect.
- Ask for customer reviews – Customer reviews aren’t just going to show up on your website: you have to request them. Don’t be shy about asking for reviews. Quite often, your customers are going to be flattered you asked. And of course if you offer incentives, make it clear that you’re not attempting to bribe them or influence their review!
- Engage with your people – Interacting with those writing comments, Facebook posts and tweets is an excellent strategy to head off any damage from the get-go. Don’t participate in mud-slinging however, no matter how justified you feel! Thank them for their contribution to the discussion, and politely disagree, standing up for yourself. (If they’re not right, of course!)
Online reputation marketing is far more important than ever before, in this day of instant communication. Don’t neglect this one!
Tim Fahndrich is the president of thirdRiver Marketing, a digital marketing agency based in Salem, Oregon. thirdRiver specializes in Reputation Marketing for local businesses and is the creator of the whirLocal system. To learn more about whirLocal, call thirdRiver at 503.581.4554.