How Online Reputation Management Gives Voice to Your Brand
It can be very dangerous today for any business to ignore or neglect their online reputation since this is the primary way that most consumers will learn about them. In fact, it is estimated that roughly ninety percent of local consumers are likely to do online research prior to making a decision regarding a purchase. These consumers’ view of the business and brand is shaped by what they encounter about the business and brand online, which most definitely includes customer reviews. As true as it is that good news travels fast, bad news can travel even faster on the internet, and a business or brand can quickly suffer as a result of their poor online reputation.
Why Online Reputation Management is Important
An important part of online reputation management includes cleaning up your online reputation wherever necessary. It also includes building a strong, positive online reputation through the collection and publication of volumes of honest reviews. These and other types of online reputation management are incredibly important because they give a voice to your brand–the voice you want to give it. Without giving this voice you fail to claim your business and others will try to fill in the holes to claim it for you. Unfortunately, they will just as likely spread negative information as positive information, sometimes causing very extensive damage.
Giving a positive voice to your brand is important at any time for any business, but can be especially important when a business is just starting out. Without an extensive marketing budget, it’s possible that the only members of the public who know about you are your friends and family members. This means that consumers among the general public and within your target audience who come across your brand online may pass over you in favor of competitors who have built some trust authority with their brand. Fortunately, this can be changed.
Conversations about a brand and business can happen in many different areas of the internet that a business simply cannot control, including on a variety of forums, websites and social media networks. These conversations will start, progress and end even without a business’ input, which unfortunately means that if any false or defamatory information is entered into the equation and is not disproven, the brand will inevitably suffer. However, through online reputation management a business can join these conversations, giving a positive voice to their brand and increasing trust authority as a result. Consumers can quickly discover that the business has a strong voice and is both willing and able to speak out across the internet. This can help to address many issues that sometimes arise for the business. For example, customers who were unhappy with some aspect of their relationship or interaction with a business may not always make the business aware of this directly, but may spread the information elsewhere in the form of a review on social media or some other forum. If a business is participating in active online reputation management they can become aware of this issue and take quick action to resolve it well to the customer’s satisfaction. Not only can this impress other potential customers, but according to Vendesta roughly ninety-five percent of unhappy customers will actually return to a business that has worked hard and honestly to make things right.
One may wonder how a business can possibly monitor all the various ways that consumers can speak out about them online. Fortunately, there are a couple of solutions: Google Alerts and SocialMention. Once it has been set up, Google Alerts can send email notifications to a business whenever it is being mentioned in their search engine so that they can go to the site and respond as needed. SocialMention works in a similar manner but for social media sites, again permitting the business to go to the site where they have been mentioned and respond as needed. These options are yet another way for a business to give voice to their brand as they work to manage and improve their online reputation.
A Final Thought
While it’s certainly true that effective online reputation management can be both time-consuming and costly, failing to take any action to establish, protect or maintain your online reputation can be even more costly and devastating. It is far better to manage and give voice to your brand than allow it be neglected and then harmed by others.