Online Reputation: Five Questions Worth Asking


 

Some might say that your reputation is all you have in life. This is especially true for the life of your business. Classic examples of failed product launches, bad news traveling more quickly than good news, and more, have displayed the volatile nature of reputation in the eye of the consumer, especially in today’s technology controlled business place. Finding a way to manage and control the online reputation of your business is crucial to success and growth.

What makes up your online reputation?

Possibly the most overlooked aspect of online reputation is actually having an online presence. Simply having a company website is no longer enough to generate sufficient interest in potential customers, associates, and others. Times are changing, and so are the tools of online presence. Being a member or some, if not all of the following are vital to proper visibility online.

-Facebook

-Twitter

-LinkedIn

-Youtube/Vimeo

-Google Professional

Being a part of these specific networks can help you monitor your presence and “claim you location” on the web by beating the consumer to the spot. Also, social media is having such a profound effect on influencing buying habits; it would be foolish to ignore the tools that are out there waiting to be used.

What does your online reputation say about your business?

Due to the emerging social media presence in today’s business world, online reputation is as influential as ever. The old adage “Any press is good press” does not apply these days. With so many options and reviews available, negative comments or reviews about your business can destroy you before you know what happened. The key is to generate as much positive visibility and positive reviews as possible. Having a poor online reputation, no matter how well you’re business is run, can affect you.

Who are the main players?

Social media now reaches far beyond a simple tweet or Facebook update. Consumers want to get reviews, recommendations, and purchasing tips from peers in order to help judge those providing the product or service. Some of the big players in this category include: Yelp!, Google Maps, Angie’s List, CitySearch, UrbanSpoon, Superpages, and even Bing search engine is integrating reviews and opinions from your close friends into your search results to help make your decisions.

How can I utilize the main players to manage my business’ reputation?

Yelp! is one of the largest online review site on the web today. It provides instant access to worldwide reviews of restaurants, retail outlets, and more at the click of the mouse. In other words, either a glowing recommendation or a slew of poor customer experiences is out there for the world to see. It is vital to take control of your online reputation. With Yelp!, one can claim your business’ page as you own where you can announce special offers, connect with real reviewers, and accurately describe your business, instead of having others control those aspects. The more control you can gain, the higher the chances are that you will be able to well manage your reputation.

How do I manage online reviews of my business?

Because control is such an important element in online reputation, managing reviews of your business key. Be sure to always respond to reviews when appropriate, such as negative reviews. Always try to resolve an issue or a problem with a negative review; turn a wrong into a right! Try to get loyal and trustworthy customers to post solid reviews for you; never post fake reviews yourself. Many websites allow strategic positioning of reviews, so be sure to get the most out of what potential customers are seeing about you!

Online Reputation and moving your business forward

A great way to monitor your online reputation is simply by doing an online search of your business. Act as if you would be a prospective customer, and see what comes up when you search for yourself. As stated before, the best way to control and monitor social media and reputation to is take control and do it yourself, either to help spread the good word, or to manage a crisis. Final tips for ongoing reputation in an online include: Never stop listening, never stop responding, take control, and stay vigilant.

Sources:

Thanks to Arielle Babineaux for lecture notes from the Webinar “The Importance of Managing Online Reputation” via ‘Webbed Marketing’.

Special thanks to Yvonne Rayburn at Webbed Marketing

Special thanks to Christina Christian at Columbus Yelp


Arielle B. • June 30, 2011

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