According to eMarketer 83% of consumers claim that online reviews influence their opinions about a particular company, and 8 of 10 of these people added that a damaging entry in the search engines has caused them to change their opinion. One negative review, whether true or untrue, can thwart all of your best efforts if you don’t have an online reputation strategy prepared. Keeping that in mind, we would like to offer five strategies your small business can use to monitor and enhance your online reputation management.
- Monitoring your brand names – Listening what’s being said about you and your organization is of vital importance. There are lots of excellent free tools to help in this regard. Check out Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and Social Mention among others.
- Claim all your social properties – Unclaimed social media sites can be used by your competition for nefarious exploits. Be sure you claim all social sites that pertain to your brand.
- Dominate page one of Google for your brand name – One great way to make sure what people see and read about you when they Google you would be to own all the virtual real estate! If all they find when they Google you is great stuff about you and your brand, you’ll not be harmed by the random attack.
- Ask for client and customer reviews – Clients and Customer reviews aren’t just going to magically appear: you need to actively court them. Make a point of prompting your clients and customers to write reviews, and do everything you can to make it easy for them: links to review sites, examples from other clients and customers, etc. And 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 technique to head off any issues from the get-go. Don’t participate in mud-slinging however, no matter how justified you’re feeling! Thank them for their contribution to the discussion, and politely disagree, standing up for yourself. (If they’re not right, of course!)
Online reputation management is much more valuable than in the past, in this day of instant communication. Don’t neglect yours!
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