Many business owners regard online reputation management as a way of protecting their business against negative reviews and comments. Goodwill and a strong reputation can take years to build, and they can be seriously harmed if chatter on social media doesn’t reflect the truth about a business.
In these days of smartphones and social media every customer has a voice, and there’s very little regulation over what’s said.
However online reputation isn’t just about protecting your good name, and smart business owners are now using the tools and techniques involved to increase their sales and revenue.
The evidence is clear that the majority of customers now carry out some online research before dealing with a business. A customer will typically make a quick search on Google before visiting a restaurant, and carry out more in depth searches before booking a foreign vacation.
If a customer finds negative reviews and comments about your business, they are likely to move on to one of your competitors to make their purchase. If you are proactive in online reputation management, you can make sure that potential customers will have confidence in dealing with you.
These 3 online reputation management and social media marketing techniques could deliver substantial growth for your business.
1) Spying on your competition.
Always remember that customers have a choice. You can’t afford to be complacent about other businesses competing in your market. Social media marketing techniques are ideal for building and maintaining customer loyalty, and they can make it much harder for new competitors to tempt your customers away.
Keeping in regular contact with your existing customers via Facebook, Twitter and other platforms means they won’t forget about you.
Online reputation management tools used to monitor your own business can also be used to look at your competition. If you start to see very positive reviews for your competitors, try to understand what it is that customers are happy about.
Is it their service, a product they are offering or something they are doing differently? If you can understand what customers love about another business, you may be able to adapt your own to be as good or better.
2) Encouraging customer reviews.
The value of word of mouth advertising has long been recognised, and this takes on a new form thanks to the Internet. Research proves that people are far more likely to trust recommendations and reviews from customers than traditional advertising.
If a potential customer carries out a search online and finds comments from happy customers, they are as good as sold.
The first step to encouraging customer reviews is letting people you will use them. Displaying comments on your company website and social media pages is often all that’s needed for people to join the conversation and contribute.
Don’t make it too difficult for people to add their own content, or they will give up. There’s nothing wrong with offering incentives for people to contribute reviews, and a discount coupon or offer of a prize draw can generate a flood of material.
3) Developing your brand.
It isn’t just large corporations that need to think about the brand of their business. Brands are very powerful, and they are a tool for engaging customer emotions.
What do customers feel when they see your company logo or hear the name of your business? Does it stand for quality, reliability, innovation? A company’s brand is made up of many different things, and online reputation management techniques can be used to influence these.
Positive reviews, photographs of customers using your products and recommendations in forums all contribute to your company’s brand. If you deal with negative feedback in a positive way, your company will be regarded as one that cares about its customers.