Why Social Media and Online Reputation Management Go Hand in Hand

While social media does play a role, online reputation management encompasses more than just what customers tweet about your brand. Online reputation management is a proactive approach to monitoring what is being said about your business online and responding appropriately with positive material in order to bolster trust and credibility.

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Brands need to take an active role in developing, not just managing, their reputations. There’s always going to be that one angry customer who simply doesn’t like your business. Great reputation management is the difference between that one customer triggering a tidal wave of bad publicity or inoculating the public with a positive image of your brand to combat potential PR problems before they occur.

When looking for something to purchase, many consumers use Google, and whatever pops up in search results is their target. Your location does not matter to Google, but your online presence as a whole is important. As soon as your name pops up, your reviews will as well. This is an important step in making sure that your reviews are what you want them to be. Locating and finding good information when searching helps people to build trust in your brand. A great review of your company and products results in people trusting you whereas a bad review or negative customer service feedback might just send them into the arms of your competitors. Worse still is this prospective customer finding information about a competitor who is located in a different state or, come to think of it, a different country and ordering online.

On average, a satisfied customer will share his or her experience with 4 to 6 people. For dissatisfied customers, that number explodes to 9 to 15 people. How can you capitalize on that? Many of these customer service complaints could be easily avoided by more responsive care. Seventy-five percent of consumers in emerging markets actively search for info on a company. This can cause problems for you if you are not handling your dissatisfied customers correctly.oqra2

When customers are angry, frustrated, or disappointed, they want a source for venting these frustrations. Set up Google Alerts for your brand and industry keywords. Check back on review websites, like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others, regularly. Make a list of where reviews might be kept and check back regularly. If there is a negative review, steer the conversation offline or to a direct message, which will help shield your brand from a negative PR onslaught and also make it easier for you to address customer concerns. Be sure to act quickly because the longer they are waiting, the worst it will become. Offer to make it right and give a real apology or just don’t apologize.

Prospective customers gain confidence when they read other reviews and feel more comfortable taking a risk on your business—no heavy price discounting required.

You should always take control of your reputation online by actively participating online and planting the seeds of your future reputation. Using social media positively is a great example of working on your reputation; just don’t get drawn into negativity. You can also use podcasts, blog posts, and discussion forums to get your message out. And remember, you can ensure that the positive outweighs the negative if you make a concerted effort.

In the digital age, responding to customer complaints is insufficient; brands need to proactively bolster trust and credibility through reputation development. This starts with communicating with your customers where they are. Monitor social media and be ready with a prompt response. Offer online live chat to address complaints securely and privately. Next, put the power of online reviews to work for your business.

Encourage customers to leave feedback and let them tell your story in their own words. According to a Zendesk survey, 90% of participants claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions, and 86% said their decisions were influenced by negative reviews. Many businesses focus on what to do about the one or two bad reviews, but the most effective way to combat a few negative words is to load up on rave reviews. And do you want to know the best way to increase the number of reviews for your business? Just ask! Your customers understand how important reviews are to your business, and as long as you provide an excellent product or service, they won’t be annoyed if you ask for a review. Don’t wait too long because customers are more likely to give you feedback right away. Offering a small incentive is a good way to show your appreciation.

Building a strong reputation through genuine customer engagement is the best shield against potential negative reviews and comments. Building and maintaining your online reputation is an important way to build your brand, improve your business, and make a massive difference to your bottom line. Simply work on it, measure it, and respond positively to those negative comments and you won’t be unhappy.

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Chef Brian West

80% reduction in negative online reviews