Most of the business ventures we see now have their own website and social media profiles. The turmoil that the internet has created in the field of communication made it somehow compulsory for business holders to make their online profile for better exposure.
What does Online Reputation mean?
Online Reputation is the reputation of a person, company, product or service in the digital platforms. The status of online reputation is obtained by ratings, reviews, articles, social media posts and forum discussions across these digital platforms.
Making an online profile of businesses helps them connect easily with their customers at the same time introducing them to the large ocean of competitors. Hence, to secure the top position in the arena of competitors one must build a better online reputation that looks real, trustworthy, interactive and responsible.
Just like having a reputed personality helps to create better customer relationships in the real world, establishing a strong online personality (online reputation) resembles the same in the world of internet.
While talking about online reputation management (ORM), we are mainly talking about public relations different digital platforms like website, search engines and social media. As said, no one is perfect, businesses might have flaws and negative reviews from customers.
What the reputation management techniques deal with is suppressing the bad comments and highlighting the positive ones. However, its final target should not only be to suppress the bad image but to improve the reputation constantly by suggesting the gap between owner’s perception of the business and how others are viewing it.
Let’s jump into the points that we are discussing in order to manage online reputation.
1. Create a good web presence
The website is your physical as well as mental presence in the world of internet. There are two major factors of websites to remember for online reputation management.
Design: It is the skeleton of your personality. How strong and agile it is. Is it able to express what you are doing and at the same time user-friendly? Is the design easily navigable and smart? The quality of readability, color combination and content placements are other important factors.
Content: Contents are like your voice. What are you speaking to your customers? Are your words and intentions clear and straightforward?
If you are determined to do some serious works but your website looks childish and unkempt, you will fail to retain your impression from customers who have come to your door. Nowadays, with the multiple of platforms and free themes, you can easily create your own website at little cost. If you do not have enough time for this, you can use pay per month websites services which allows you to have a good website with fixed monthly charges.
2. Watch social media carefully
Social Media is another major platform we have to consider for online reputation management. These are the places where any good or bad news spread exponentially.
We all know major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest etc.) and know how to manage them. If you own a business, you may have already created accounts on these sites and started promoting your brand.
It’s always beneficial to have an account created on social media which maximizes the chance of getting new customers at the same time keeping track of your fans and followers. But having accounts jumbled in many social media site and not updating and interacting with people is the worst utilization of such sites.
It’s way better to be active on one platform than to enter into all of them and hibernate. You can easily expand your fan base from one platform to another if you have dedicated followers.
Things not to do in social media
- Use of offensive, mean and derogatory words/languages
- Share too much
- Copy items without consent from creator
- Post vague, unauthentic news and opinions
- Mislead audience
Be active in social media, respond to customers quickly, collect their opinion and create an image of the responsible brand.
3. Use SEO techniques to promote good points
What will be your reaction when you search your brand name in search engines and see the scandals you have been involved at the top? Probably it’s not what you want because this will make your online reputation bad.
To deal with such cases there is Search Engine Optimization (reverse SEO) for concealing your negative points in search results. What you have to do is promote your good deeds using SEO techniques so that it is placed on top search results while down-ranking the bad news.
SEO has been there since long to rank better in search engines. The techniques of SEO are also useful for online reputation management.
4. Collect and follow customer reviews
Customer reviews are the first priority for managing online reputation. This is how people look at you.
These reviews can be collected from your website, social media page and other product listing sites where you have placed your products. You have to monitor these reviews constantly in order to know your weakness and try to improve them so that no negative reviews appear in the future.
Try searching your brand name in search engines so that you can know what people are talking about it. Social media has made it even easier by hashtags.
5. Prioritize customer/client satisfaction
After all, the products and services are meant to help people and their satisfaction must be the top priority of any business. When customers/clients feel like they are neglected, cheated and treated in a less important way, you should expect bad reviews of your company.
Negative reviews are widespread all over the internet even for the well established companies and products. You can never meet expectations of all the people, but you can always respond to their queries timely and make them feel that you care and you are trying hard to solve their problems.
Be quick to respond and react on customer reviews. Solve their problems and ask for feedbacks later.
Integration is the final step to take after gathering information from various sources. The conclusions derived will help you create your own reputation management techniques. Sometimes common techniques may not work and you have to deal with your unique cases.
There are various companies available to serve as your online reputation manager. It’s not bad to hire SEO professionals, Social Media Manager and website manager for this work as you might not have enough time managing all those websites and social platforms.