Online Reputation Management
Why does online reputation management matter to a business? Because online reputation management affects profitability, brand image, and SEO efforts.
There’s hardly a business out there that doesn’t have an occasional issue arise with a customer. Ideally, businesses can resolve issues with disgruntled customers before they post a negative review. Unfortunately, the internet has made it so the barriers between one customer and another are far reduced — word-of-mouth can now travel almost literally at the speed of light! Online reputations not only affect customers and potential customers they also play a key role in a company’s SEO optimization.
Lori Randall Stradtman, author of Online Reputation Management for Dummies, tells what she calls a “geek joke”: Where do you hide a dead body? Answer: On the third page of Google results (Forbes, 2013). Small business had difficulty getting lost behind the companies who pay to improve SEO. Many small businesses have limited online marketing budgets and resources. Google uses online reviews, social media mentions, and online talk about a company in their search engine algorithm.
You Cannot Opt out of Online Reputation Management
For many small businesses, the complete lack of proactive online reputation management leaves them in the position of a sitting duck. With little more than just a website to represent you online, you’re in a precarious position if anyone creates a site to target you or even just posts something on social media, as those items could rank for your business name searches. For established businesses, people are frequently searching for the company by business name. Bad comments affect potential customers and profitability.
Online reputation management and repair have been a burgeoning segment of online marketing for years. There are plenty of firms that offer online reputation management options. A few notable ones are: Reputation.com has many options for different budgets and Reputationx.com is dedicated to showing multiple companies that offer online reputation management.
Here are a few tips that can help a small business optimize its Online Reputation Management
Create A Presence On Any And All Relevant Web Properties:
Small businesses should already have Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts, at minimum. Additional social sites include YouTube and Instagram.
Don’t Neglect Your Social Media Accounts:
It’s important to build out social media accounts. Having a Twitter, Facebook and Google+ account or page for small business is insufficient. With ongoing development, businesses can build social media accounts in order to interact with customers and to increase a businesses influence and engagement scores. Improved influence and engagement scores directly affect a company’s SEO on Google and Bing. This helps to improve a company’s potential profitability and exposure.
Protect Individuals Associated With The Business:
Develop a strong social media presence for a company’s founders’, owners’, or executives’ names, particularly if they are distinctive. There are quite a few businesses where the company’s identity is fairly entangled with its executives. Having a solid online reputation management strategy is vital. Consumers often search by name for doctors, dentists, and lawyers (to name a few), so create collateral to rank for these individuals.
By creating a blog, a company can speak directly to customers, critics, and competition about issues that affect the company. A blog offers the opportunity to expand a company’s brand. A business’ blog helps create usable content which will improve its ranking with search engines.
Don’t Get Into Online Arguments:
Online arguments are unprofessional and can hurt a company’s image, as well as upset other potential customers. People can say very mean and offensive things with the whole goal of sucking a company into an argument. These type of fights can go viral in a second, causing long term damage to a business’ bottom line. Things said on social media are permanent. The best advice in this situation is to avoid the argument or deal with a disgruntled customer offline.
Make The Investment:
Reputation development requires an investment, both in time and money. Most small, local businesses are either ignoring proactive reputation management or they are doing it themselves, on a shoestring, and on an as-needed and as-they-have-time-to-do-it basis. Social media and proactive online reputation management should be considered vital elements, not nice-to-haves. Hence, spending money on online reputation management is more important than many other online marketing options. In conclusion, I would suggest this is the most important area of all online social media marketing.
LePage, E. (2014, March 8). A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Strategy [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://blog.hootsuite.com/guide-to-creating-a-social-media-strategy/
Smith, C. (2014, July 10). 10 Pro Online Reputation Management Tips For Local Businesses. Retrieved from http://searchengineland.com/10-pro-online-reputation-management-tips-for-local-businesses-182230
Cateora, P. R., Gilly, M. C., & Graham, J. L. (2013). International marketing (16th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Richards, R. (2013, January 16). Online Reputation Management WTF?! How to Get and Market a 5-Star Reputation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZjEcpgiMhE
Category: Social Media Marketing 201