With stats showing that 92% of consumers are more likely to trust customer reviews than the media, and that 85% wouldn’t buy from companies with negative reviews, it’s more important than ever that you manage your online reputation properly. You can’t opt out – people can and will talk about your business online – so if you’re not already doing so, you need to engage with online reputation management (ORM) in 2017.
– Make sure you’re active in all the right places. As a minimum, you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, as well as the web, but you might also want to have video content on Vimeo and Youtube, or business-to-business content on LinkedIn. And don’t just start a page and stop there; you need to keep building your online content and to engage with your customers. Social media is like a conversation – you can’t just come out with a chat-up line and then go all quiet, you need to keep talking and to keep your customers interested.
– Monitor what’s being said about you and your brands online. You need to pay attention to what’s happening on the internet, wherever it’s coming from. Letting a Twitter storm blow up in your absence makes it look as if you don’t care, and makes it twice as difficult to get your side of the argument across when you finally do notice.
– Keep relevant and don’t get distracted. While social media allows you to back up your brand with interesting related content, make sure it’s relevant to what you do and that it supports your brand values. An estate agent writing about interior design trends or good local schools is getting it right – start talking about rock music or politics and you could easily lose your audience if not your reputation.
– Engage with negative reviews in a positive way. If something went wrong, try to put it right instead of being defensive. There’s no happier customer than one who has made a complaint and actually got something done about it. If a complaint or comment makes you change the way you do things, make a song and dance about the fact that you’ve changed – and explain why you’re now better than ever at what you do.
– Make sure you manage the reputation of your people as well as your brand. If you have a subject matter expert who gives regular interviews you need to watch what people are saying about them. If your CEO gets involved in politics, or crashes her car while drink-driving, it’s an issue for the business, not just for the CEO.
– If you can’t do all this on your own – and many businesses don’t have the in depth skills that are required – then get good competent help from people who know what they’re doing. Your reputation is too important to be left to chance.