People are going to talk about your brand whether you’re present on the social platforms to react or not. In today’s technology-driven society, it’s vital that positive reviews are received and negative comments are addressed in terms of online reputation management. Maintaining relationships, creating positive public relations content, and reacting to customer feedback online carries as much weight, if not more, than in the physical world. This can be done through blogs, external websites, social media, etc.
Thinking your brand will manage itself and your customers will always be positive and loyal on the internet is just plain naïve. Hey, maybe your business is really super, and does everything perfectly, and you have 47,000 Facebook fans but there will always be someone who feels they were wronged and want to share that with the billions of other people using the internet… or maybe they just want free swag. Whatever the reason for their negativity, it’s still floating around the internet, alerting others of their feedback and you cannot control that. What you can control is how you respond.
Accessibility & Connectedness
It has become outrageously easy to disclose your opinion on just about any business. Think about it: if someone posts a disparaging comment or review on Facebook about your business and tags you or posts it on your page, all of their friends will see it along with all of your connected customers. That has reached exponentially more existing/potential customers than it would have if they were to complain in person or write you a letter. And blogs? A negative review on a blog can potentially appear in Google search results. Do you really want the first thing a potential customer to see about your company to be a negative review?
Good news: You are not powerless.
If monitored regularly, these sites can be used to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to shamelessly promote your business. After a service is provided, encourage your satisfied customers to go to bat for you on these sites. The more positive comments that exist to combat the cynics, the less likely potential customers will be to be brainwashed by their negativity. Undesirable comments will still exist – if you respond to these comments in a timely, mature, transparent fashion, your organization’s integrity will outshine the negativity. It’s not a perfect world, mistakes will happen; the manner in which you handle these mistakes will establish you as a trustworthy organization.
According to a survey completed for searchengineland.com, 70% of local consumers have used the internet to find a local business. Both the volume of reviews and the sentiment of those reviews have an effect on how visible a business is and businesses that can successfully encourage their users to leave positive reviews will benefit from reaching a wider audience. At the same time, 69% of local consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. These people hold the opinions of strangers in as high a regard as the opinions of their own friends. With younger consumers, the percentage is EVEN HIGHER. Capitalize on this knowledge.
Bottom line: It’s time to control your own public image, rather than letting outsiders dictate it for you.
The Homer Group specializes on Online Reputation Management services as well as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Contact us if you’d like to know how your website is performing. Take advantage of our limited time offer of over 50% off of our SEO services. Please include “SEOMOB2″ in the “comments” box to redeem this offer.