Your reputation as a business owner is everything, right? Think back a couple decades ago when it was hard enough then to maintain a solid reputation. Fast forward to today and the challenges are all-encompassing due to all the many pervasive digital connections. Screw up once and guaranteed, everyone will be hearing about it. It’s not about being perfect, though. It’s about how you manage those online reviews and posts that’s more important.
In fact, you can actually use those blips to your advantage so you come out on top anyway.
From social media platforms to your own website, maintaining a positive professional image for your agency is important for your existing clientele as well as potential ones. A negative review about the quality of your services, products or experiences puts you at risk of turning off customers, putting a damper on your ability to grow and thrive.
What used to be spread locally through word of mouth is now shared globally, instantly, irretrievably. This is due in major part to online review sites, blogs and social media, which make it way too easy for people to let everyone know what they think about you. While this can be an impactful way to market your business, it can damage your business just as readily.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. You have powerful tools at your disposal that can influence the conversation about your brand, points out Inc.com. You have to consistently provide exceptional customer experiences, of course, but there are many other opportunities you can take advantage of to add value.
Reputation Management: Defined
In a nutshell, reputation management is all about how you improve and maintain your agency’s reputation online. A poor reputation online can follow you for years if you’re not on top of managing your online presence every single day.
The statistics are sobering: Forbes says it takes 12 positive experiences to repair the damage brought about by a single unresolved negative one. On top of that, 22% of people who have had a bad experience will say something about it online; however, just 9% who have had a good experience will do the same, according to Social Media Today.
You could handle all this yourself but it takes a lot of hard work and persistence. However, people like hearing directly from the owner of a business. It gives them a sense of accessibility and accountability. Or, you could hire a reputation manager to act as your own PR agency, protecting you from online negative reviews and social media rants that can put a big crimp in your reputation. This can get expensive though.
Online Reviews: A Far-Reaching Impact
Online reviews can have a far-reaching impact on your company. While reviews on your Facebook page are critical, the ones that appear on outside official review sites are even more so, such as Yelp.
It’s only natural: users tend to gravitate to the businesses with the highest number of positive reviews. Google now ranks companies more favorably that have high numbers of positive reviews, so you can’t afford to miss the boat on this one.
Search Engine Journal says 84% of all consumers read online reviews, browsing an average of four to six reviews before they start trusting a particular business. Failure to maintain a trustworthy image can negatively affect not just your bottom line but your ability to remain a viable presence in your industry.
The worst part of it all is that the issue isn’t always a direct result of an action you have taken. Many times, it is misplaced frustration on the part of a past client, or it may be a big misunderstanding. Either way, you have to deal with it because in the end, it’s your problem. How you handle it will make all the difference.
Yet another option is to hire a professional writer, blogger or social media poster. They can stay on top of your social media presence, monitor it and ensure your website gets regular, accurate, compelling content. Check out the many professionals we have here on Content Runner to help you!