3 Helpful Tips to Make Sure Your Online Reputation is Protected
Your business’ online reputation can literally make or break your business success. Why’s that? Because, statistically speaking, around 90 percent of all consumers use the Internet to research businesses when they are looking for a product or service. Your online reputation will determine whether those consumers choose you or one of your competitors. You can also be sure that if you do not manage your online reputation, it will be managed by other people, who will inevitably post reviews, comment on your business in forums and social media sites, publish blog write-ups concerning your business, and more. For this reason, you need to do everything you can to ensure that what people see when they find your business online is as positive as possible. How do you do that? Here are three helpful tips to make sure your online reputation is protected:
Monitor your reputation. Make use of social media monitoring tools like HootSuite, and web monitoring tools like Google Alerts, to find out what others are saying about you, when they say it. When you know what you are facing, it makes it much easier to address it in a timely manner, and also to assess your best approach.
Participate. It is inevitable that people are going to talk about your business (if you are doing things right). Your best bet is to involve yourself in the conversation. Make it a point to respond to both positive and negative feedback, and also to volunteer information that will help keep online conversations about your business going. Establish your social media presence, maintain a website, write a business blog, or more – the possibilities are really only limited by your imagination (and the amount of effort you are willing to put in). Just remember that participation is key.
Optimizing your responses. Once you have developed the habit of monitoring your online reputation and have established yourself as a willful participant in the development of your online reputation, you need to make sure you are participating in a way that is most conducive to bettering that reputation. As previously mentioned, participation is key. However, there are some best practices to consider, especially when it comes to handling negative items: respond in a timely manner (NEVER ignore negative feedback), be diplomatic and fair, avoid using a defensive or demeaning tone (stay positive!), and offer viable solutions.