Having an excellent online reputation is essential for any business. Whether you're a new entrepreneur or running a multi-million-dollar corporation, it can be hard to keep track of what people say about your company online.
Sure, you can Google your name and see what comes up, but that's just a first step in helping you improve your reputation.
In this article, we will look at how to improve your online reputation with 10 actionable steps that will help increase the popularity, credibility, and trustworthiness of your business.
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Why Improving Your Online Reputation is Important
Your business’s reputation among your audience on the internet is crucial when you're trying to grow your business online. You need your customers to trust you and be confident in your services or products. After all, 90% of customers' buying decisions are based on reviews they read online.
Without reputation improvement or management, firms will find it harder to reach their ideal customers and earn profits. If you have a fantastic product or service and make this widely known, your reputation can follow suit.
There are ways that you can use different strategies to help with this process. Here are 10 most efficient methods of managing and boosting your online reputation whilst benefiting your company across the board.
Step #1: Track Your Competitors' Reputation & Strategies
Keeping track of your competitors and how they interact with their online presence will provide insight into things they’re doing right and wrong, what resonates with your target audience and where you can outdo them.
If a rival brand is failing to produce quality content, you can swoop in and leverage your social media channels to win over customers by providing them with a superior alternative.
Conversely, if one of your competitors is killing it online, it’s a good idea to pay attention so you can emulate their strategies in your own business efforts. It all comes down to reputation - so make sure yours is on point.
Step #2: Be Transparent
Honesty and transparency are other keys to improving your company's online reputation. If you are transparent about your brand values, your products and services, people will know exactly what to expect from your company which builds consumer trust. This can also help to reduce rumors or speculation about a company in crisis.
Additionally, leaders need to be honest with themselves as well. Not being honest with yourself will also hurt your business' reputation because it is disrespectful to your audience and shows that you do not value them enough to be true.
A great way to be transparent is to make a values-based commitment to your customers, which will not only improve your reputation but also increase engagement and loyalty.
When you support causes that align with your brand’s core values, you can attract potential customers who are looking for a business that aligns with their own values. And through your values, you make your customers feel more connected with your brand.
Step #3: Work with Influencers
Working with influencers can be a great way to engage with your audience on your behalf. Some brands work with influencer marketing agencies.
Influencer marketing has been one of the key industry trends nowadays. It allows you to expand reach, drive engagement, and ultimately, improve your online reputation by using the platform of social media personas that have a huge following and are authorities in their (and your) niche
This type of marketing can also offer a unique way of engaging customers by building relationships with content creators who are already talking about your brand or products on their social media platforms.
Step #4: Respond to All Feedback
One of your most important tasks as a business owner is to respond to all customer feedback. Whether it’s positive or negative, you need to communicate with your customers and handle every complaint or laudation professionally.
You’ll often find that responding to even one negative review will bring some positive comments your way. Even disgruntled customers will appreciate you taking the time to tend to their dissatisfaction and address the issues they may have. According to research, 90% of customers are likely to purchase a service or product again from companies with great customer service.
If your product or service falls short or your social media team misjudges your audience’s expectations, learn from it, address the corresponding feedback professionally and make it right for future customers. It will win back some of those who complained about you in their reviews.
Step #5: Develop and Maintain a Brand Identity
Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How would you describe your brand if asked? Is there a key message you want customers to remember when they think of your brand?
Think about how most people decide which brands to buy from: Does that process usually involve browsing at random until something catches their eye? Or do most consumers rely on referrals from friends or websites to lead them directly to products that meet their needs?
Developing and maintaining brand identity is a powerful way for building online recognition. If people online have an accurate description of what you are as a brand or company – and you deliver on your brand statements and promises -they will feel better about their experience with your services.
By ensuring that your brand has an identifiable image through online activity, you can show your customers that you care about them. This positive perception will cause more of your current and potential clients to choose you over another company with similar products and services.
Remember: when your company's reputation takes a blow - due to an insensitive public relations campaign, for instance - your customers' expectations will do, too.
Step #6: Be Vocal on Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms are perfect for interacting with potential and existing customers that may or may not yet follow your social media pages. Among many platforms, statistics show that Facebook is the most widely used.
As a business owner, you have to be authentic and consistent on your social media, while taking into account the differences in your demographics on each social media (your TikTok audience may not be of the same age and communicate the same as your Facebook audience). A good start is to keep a consistent social presence through unified, recognizable messaging, tone of voice, and visuals. It is essential to engage in conversation with your followers on your posts, comments, and DMs.
If your company has a newsletter, include customer quotes in future newsletters or send digital cards after a positive transaction. When you talk about other people’s work, you’re highlighting their skills and showing your community that you’re genuinely interested in helping people succeed.
Step #7: Ask Partners to Vouch for You
You’re good at what you do. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that your customers and clients will talk about you without a little help.
Ask a client or partner to talk about their good experiences working with you. Let them know that you can offer them support in return for their help. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to give a testimonial when asked.
Since trust is an important factor for purchasing decisions, let potential partners know that if they mention your business on social media, it could lead more customers to them and also back to you.
Ultimately, communicating online is essential for improving online reputation and developing customer loyalty. People want to feel heard and acknowledged, even when they have complaints or suggestions for improvement.
Step #8: Build Customer Loyalty
The one thing that leaders can do to improve their company's online reputation is to create customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty is priceless. When you have loyal customers, it shouts superior products or outstanding customer service. Loyal customers are your best walking talking advertisement and brand advocates.
To build customer loyalty, focus on creating a great, potentially personalized customer experience. Your online reputation should reflect how well you treat your customers in person or over the phone as well as through email or social media.
You want to be able to demonstrate that you go above and beyond for every single customer with whom you interact in order to build trust, respect, and loyalty within your community.
Customers who feel valued will share their positive experiences with others who might become future customers too.
Here are some tips on how to build customer loyalty:
- Know your audience
- Score and rank your most valuable customers
- Build a loyalty program
- Set up membership events
- Run a referral program
- Establish support activities
Step #9: Expand Your Online Presence
Expand your digital footprint and make sure your business has an active profile on various platforms. Regularly review and update your online profiles as well as your business information on directories like Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo Local, and others that are relevant to what you do.
Also, consider a PPC campaign for an effective digital marketing strategy. It’s important that you take a proactive approach when it comes to expanding your digital footprint because consumers are increasingly more likely to Google products or services before buying them.
This means if they don’t find what they want from you on these platforms, they may just go ahead with their purchase from a competitor instead. Many consumers will get rid of one bad experience by telling 10 other people about it; so be sure that these experiences reflect positively on you.
Step #10: Monitor Your Online Presence
It doesn’t stop at expanding your online presence - you also have to monitor it. This entails looking at your company's social media accounts, monitoring for new mentions, and engaging with customers that have concerns.
There are a variety of tools available for free or for a fee that allow you to monitor mentions of your brand on social media, news outlets, and search engines.
You'll likely want some sort of reputation management software (RMS) as well if you plan on reviewing any negative information online. There are several options out there; some do more than others in terms of providing the content. You can also use tools like Glassdoor and Manta to check what people are saying about your business on third-party sites.
It may not be desirable for you to manage every aspect of your online reputation, but there's almost always something you can do on a daily basis. For example, you could retweet positive customer feedback and acknowledge negative comments publicly (but politely), in order to resolve disputes before they escalate.
How to Improve Online Reputation Takeaways
Online reputation building should be an essential part of your digital marketing and branding strategy. By following the steps outlined above, you can better control and influence what consumers think of your business and its products or services.
Good or bad, they will still think about you; you just have more control over your company’s reputation. A strong online reputation can mean increased revenue and more loyal customers –which is worth continuing to market online and on social media.
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