For any business operating online, there are few things more important than online reputation management. It used to be the case that customers found a business and developed trust through recommendations from those closest to them, trusting the judgement of family and friends.
Today, however, the landscape is very different. In the modern world, the reputation of your business accrues through multiple online platforms, from social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to aggregate review sites. As a modern day business owner, it’s vital that you take a keen interest in your online reputation as this enables you to regulate some of what potential customers learn about your business. Do it right and your business can benefit from a sterling reputation and increased trust. Do it wrong, and it can severely impact your bottom line and brand.
Below, we’re going to focus on five common mistakes, giving you a clear picture of the practices to avoid.
Neglecting Your Online Reputation
This may seem broad, but many businesses aren’t actually aware that they have any kind of online reputation, perhaps because they haven’t willingly registered for a review service such as TrustPilot. The reality is that whether you are a proactive member of a review platform or not, people will be talking about your brand online and sharing their opinions in a range of outlets.
Consumers will talk about a business, whether the business itself is part of that conversation or not. So, it makes sense to ensure you are part of guiding your online reputation, rather than leaving the whole thing up to chance. You have no control whatsoever over the outcome if you just ignore the entire practice of online reputation management. Failing to respond to reviews, such as those left for you on your Google My Business profile means that you won’t be aware of smaller issues before they become a bigger crisis. A lack of response because you’re neglecting the online reputation side of your business can also have a direct impact on your search engine rankings.
Avoiding Bad Reviews & Complaints
Many businesses – even those with a well-planned social strategy – will fall foul of this simple issue. But you should always meet complaints and bad reviews head on, rather than ignoring or trying to bury them.
The problem is that many businesses confuse bad reviews with ‘trolling’. They feel that if they engage, the situation might grow, fester and dominate their social media page, potentially turning off other customers. But this is just what will happen if you don’t respond.
Every business receives complaints, and that’s because no company is perfect in everything it does. The best approach is to respond promptly and try and rectify the issue. This way customers can see that you care and will act quickly if they ever have an issue. In short, it shows you offer excellent customer service.
This is one of the critical areas to avoid and committing this cardinal sin could have a very real, adverse impact on your business. In the event that you are alerted to a negative review, it can be easy to react instantly and come out all guns blazing. Don’t fall into the trap of getting into a war of words with those who don’t leave a five-star review. If their claims are fake or malicious, it’s much better to flag them for removal to the platform concerned then have a heated discussion for all to see online.
Not Maintaining Consistency
When you build a brand for your business, you do so with a clear, consistent voice and style. It wouldn’t do much good if you chopped and changed your branding on a weekly basis, and the same principle applies to online reputation management.
You need to develop a tone of voice that carries over to everything you push out on social media, on business pages and your website. And this includes video content, blogs and everything else you do. This is how customers and visitors get a sense of what your business is about and what your brand represents.
Unfortunately, this is something many businesses take part in, thinking it will boost rankings and ratings on platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews.
But these platforms have algorithms on-site to find and weed out fake feedback, making the whole process a waste of time and money. Modern consumers are also very savvy, and they can separate the authentic from the fake very quickly, and if they do that, your brand could suffer from a tarnished reputation and an untrustworthy label.
Genuine reviews – where you have guided and cared for a customer – are far more valuable and demonstrate your business has a genuine approach to everything it does.
We know that managing your online reputation can seem like a mammoth task, and may not be one you have the time or experience to undertake in-house. If that’s the case, get in touch to find out how we can help.