Since first introduced to the public in 1989, the internet has been growing exponentially. Just seven short years ago, approximately 2.2 billion of the 6.9 billion people on the planet were estimated to have and use the internet on a regular basis. That represented just 32% of the world’s population. Today, it is approximated that 4.48 billion people have internet access. While the number of people on the planet has risen to 7.7 billion, the percentage has jumped to 58%. With that many eyes on the internet, online reputation management companies need to make sure their clients are well represented.
With that understanding, we can delve into the more specific reasons that you or your company needs to have a reputation management plan. It is no longer good enough to rely on word of mouth or not have an online presence. In fact, more than ever before, you need to make sure you have all your bases covered online. You have customers and potential customers looking for a way to interact with you. If you do not provide them with a digital avenue to communicate with you, they will simply move on to a company that will give them what they need.
There are many other reasons why it is vital to have a reputation management plan, but I am going to provide you with a few of the significant reasons. So, join me on this short journey of reasons why you need online reputation management.
As I stated above, customers are online looking for information about your product or brand. In fact, many people will not buy a product or do business with a company that they cannot get information about. Don’t think of online reputation as a chore that you have to do with limited returns. Having an online presence will ensure that you have more customers in your place of business. I don’t think that I need to tell you that merely having them there is enough to make sales go up.
The majority of businesses don’t start to investigate a problem until they realize there is a problem. At this point, regaining momentum is a monumental task they simply do not want to tackle. The loss of sales of a product or service can be enough to discontinue a product or put a company out of business. Staying ahead of the curve will ensure that you don’t have to search for a way to be relevant again.
Build Trust and Credibility
The number one component to success is having the trust of your clients. They discuss all of their purchases with their family and friends. Additionally, they will take to the internet and tell complete strangers about their experience with your company or brand. Mostly, the internet has made everyone a journalist. They are more than willing to tell people exactly what they experienced while visiting your place of business or using your product. Negative interactions can spread like wildfire if they are not taken care of quickly.
Think back to about a year ago when Starbucks got negative attention for one of their “partners” called the police on two men in their shop. Before long, they were issuing public apologies and closing their stores to have tolerance training.
While this no doubt resulted in a dip in sales, they are a multi-billion-dollar company. They can withstand a small storm. You, however, may not be as lucky. Remember, if you are not there to defend your brand, you may rapidly lose customers and ultimately your business.
Showing Your Best Side
For the same reason that we like to dress up when we go on a date or to a job interview, you need to show the best side of you on the internet. Remember, you are not only trying to impress current clients; you are attempting to get more. On top of that, investors, your competition, banks, and many others are looking to see who you are as a company. If you are trying to go from a Mom and Pop Shop to a worldwide brand, you are going to need investors. These investors will be more interested in what you are showing the public than regular customers. After all, they are the ones that are going to be footing the bill to make you bigger than the Beatles.
On a daily basis, you need to make sure you are in the trenches showing your customers who you really are. This can be anything from posting on Facebook to interacting with a customer on a review site that had a bad experience. Even when you think no one is paying attention, you need to be doing the right things. Don’t think for a second that no one is watching. In today’s culture, someone is always looking.
It is more than challenging to talk to each and every one of your clients. That is where the internet comes into play. You will be able to receive just as much information about what your clients are interested in as they are able to find out about you. Using your “Insight Trackers” will allow you to tailor your content to the things your customers want to see from you. Remember, each platform is different. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit.
If you are not actively looking to see what your customers want, your competitors will. When they provide them with the information they want, your customers will simply navigate away from your site or find themselves in your competitor’s store. Use all the information that you have at your disposal to make your company the best it can be.
As you can see, online reputation is mostly based on what your customers think of you. However, there are many ways that you can take steps to make your brand better. The best way to do this is with a reputation management plan. Take the above points as a way to start making your clients happier. The happier clients are, the more they will talk about you – and in the right way!