It is absolutely essential that you focus on your online reputation. So much so, in fact, that if you are a business, it is recommended that you work together with a reputation management firm to ensure it is maintained at the highest possible standard. Essentially, they will make sure that you have a positive brand image, which is essential for profitability.

Why Online Reputations Matter

Everything and everybody is online nowadays. All your customers have Facebook, your competition has a successful blog, and people are discussing you on forums, whether you’re online or not. Online communities have a huge amount of power and these communities are now the go-to place in terms of finding out whether or not a business is worth supporting.

Before your consumer decides to shop with you, they will look at reviews of not just the product itself, but you as a business as well. 75% of people will go to the competition if they find that you have one negative review or more. Imagine how many customers you are losing right now!

You must take control of your brand, so that your customer sees the image you are trying to portray, in other words.

How Do You Get a Good Online Reputation?

  1. Understand what your goals are. How do you want people to see you, and what do you believe will make your customers happy?

  2. Closely monitor your brand image online. Do this by setting up a Google Alert so that you are always notified whenever someone says anything about you, be that on one of your personal websites or social media channels, or externally.

  3. Take action on any information you have received. If you get positive reviews, you need to thank the people in a professional and honest manner. You may also want to share the opinion on other channels. If the review is negative, you should also reply, however, since there is only one thing that will make a disgruntled customer even more disgruntled, and that is being ignored.

  4. Respond to negative reviews. As said, this is vitally important. You have to be professional and calm in this case, no matter what type of abuses is being hurled your way. Start by apologizing, even if it is only for the customer feeling the way they do. Then, explain your point of view and offer them a solution.

If you receive negative reviews, and most of us do at some point, you may feel devastated. In reality, however, you need to see a bad review for what it actually is: a constructive criticism. Nobody likes to be told that they did something wrong, or even that they could have done better. The reality is, however, that everybody does things wrong every once in a while. Those aren’t signs of failure or weakness. Rather, it is a sign that you still have things to learn and that you can continue to grow and develop yourself.

Photo courtesy via joethegoatfarmer.com