Online reputation management is vital in today’s internet-savvy society. What people are saying about your products and services has tremendous impact on how potential customers view your business. A comprehensive local social media marketing plan will address these challenges and provide protection and growth.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is a facet of local internet marketing that combines public relations with positive internet visibility. Being aware of how your company is represented across the internet and knowing how these representations affect you is essential to the health of your online presence.
The goal is to have positive information about your business rank highest in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Although the majority of internet users rely on search engines like Google, they rarely browse beyond the first page of results. You must be willing to put time into your online reputation management to ensure that the results they do see are advantageous to your company.
Monitoring Your Brand
Online reputation management involves monitoring what is being said about your and your company. There are several avenues involved in this:
- frequent searches of Google, Yahoo, Twitter, and Technorati to alert you of content relating to your company
- careful tracking of relevant brand, product, and company keywords
- being aware of what customers are posting on review sites like Yelp and Foursquare
Without careful monitoring, it’s possible for a poor review or nasty comment about your business to reach millions of people in a short period of time. Facebook users alone share over 30 billion pieces of content a month. All it takes is one negative remark going viral to ruin your company’s credibility.
Over 60% of consumers rely on product reviews before buying a product. Reviews are just one form of consumer generated media (CGM); internet media content created by end-users. Other CGM, such as blog posts, comments, and forum discussions can also have a huge impact on the health of your online credibility.
The best way to respond to negative content is to contact the author directly. Establish a dialog and see if you can offer a solution to or compensation for the customer’s problem. In the case of erroneous or malicious attacks on your brand, consider contacting the website administrator to have the content removed. Excessive false information may require legal action.
In addition to your main website, establishing a solid social media presence gives you more control over the primary sources of information about your company. Having a local social media marketing plan in place will provide the tools for interacting with and receiving real-time feedback from consumers. If keeping up with this vast amount of content becomes overwhelming, there are local internet marketing companies that can aid in managing your online reputation.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management
Proper online reputation management has far-reaching effects even for a local business. Positive search results can drive both local and visiting customers through your front door. This can boost sales and lead to constructive feedback. When these customers have a good experience, they’re likely to create positive consumer generated media (CGM), which will, in turn reinforce your great online reputation.