What is online reputation management and why is it important?
We’ve all done it. Whether in our professional or personal lives, we are considering working with a company (or individual) or maybe we are thinking about buying a particular product or service. What’s the first thing we do? Whip out our smart phones or laptop and gather whatever information we can. We check social media, conduct online searches, and read online reviews.
No real surprise then, according to a 2018 TripAdvisor survey, 97 percent of business owners surveyed said managing their online reputation was important to their business.
You don’t need to be a PR or marketing genius to know that online reputation management is vital for any business to survive in this digital age where first impressions are often made in the virtual world before a potential customer, client, or patron even decides whether to do business with you – or not – in the real world.
This goes far beyond having a cool website with compelling content (which is important, in and of itself). There’s an entire digital landscape that needs to be mapped out and covered.
Here are six online reputation management areas of concern we advise our clients to consider:
1 – Website Development and Updates. Even if you are all brick-and-mortar and don’t sell anything online, your website is the front door to your business or brand – usually the first place your customers and/or potential customers visit when looking for information about who you are and what you have to offer. If your website isn’t up to par or it can’t be found, you can bet a chunk of your bottom-line that they’ll start looking at competition.
2 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is insider lingo for increasing your visibility in search engine results. If you’re website or online content can’t be found easily, your business will be out of sight and out of mind.
With SEO, you increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
3 – Online Audit. It’s essential to assess exactly what your online reputation is, across all platforms. Only after this is done can you determine what needs to be done to enhance your reputation or counter any misperceptions that may be giving your brand a bad name or not on brand with your marketing goals.
4 – Social Media Monitoring. Review your social media accounts to ensure they accurately represent your business across all platforms. It’s also important to monitor what people are saying online about your brand, competitors and customers in comment sections and posts.
5 – Online Reviews. There are hundreds of review websites across the Internet. It’s important to be aware of what your customers are saying so you have a proactive role in managing your online reputation. Create a plan on how you’ll manage these websites, monitor reviews, increase positive reviews, and respond back to customers.
6 – Create a Strategic Plan. Once it’s determined how your business is ranking online and what your objectives are, it’s time to formulate a strategic plan to shape, influence and drive how your you want your business to be perceived.
The bottom line for your bottom line: It’s important to build and protect your online reputation. You don’t want to realize the importance of this after a crisis presents itself that may threaten severe reputational damage. Nor should this be considered a one and done project. Online reputation management is an ongoing process, as search engine and social media algorithms are constantly changed and updated; new technological tools come in and out of vogue, and your competitors are always looking to one-up whatever you are doing.
If you are interested in learning more about online reputation management and how to stay on top of it, please reach out to us and we’ll show you how it’s done.