If you’re working hard to build a business, you may think that you can’t afford to pay attention to your online presence or reputation. Actually, the truth is that if you’re working hard to build a business you can’t afford to not pay attention to your online presence and reputation. After all, we currently live in a world where consumers are more than likely to run an online search for a business prior to making a choice about whether or not to enter into a relationship with that business. Reputation building is therefore absolutely critical to the success of any business, whether they are just starting up, working to grow, or stabilized after many years.
The Importance of Online Reputation Management
Waiting for your online reputation to be a mess before taking action to resolve it is waiting too long. You will build more strength and power for your business by taking control of your online reputation from the very beginning, so that you can determine just how it is shaped. Imagine a consumer goes searching for your business online and all they find is a series of small-time review sites with little to no reviews, or even worse, poor reviews. It’s safe to assume that they won’t waste any more of their time considering your business, and will move on to look for something else somewhere else. This means that without even having interacted with the consumer for a second, your business has already lost a potential conversion. Even if this only occurs once a week you can see how it can quickly add up over the course of several months or a year. Research has even suggested that businesses can lose about twenty percent of business when potential consumers find a negative article about them online, a little more than forty percent of business when potential consumers find two negative articles about them online and just around sixty percent of business when potential consumers find three negative articles about them online. So what can you do? Consider the following online reputation management tips:
- Find out what you’re dealing with. Running a Google search on your business can give you a very good idea of how your online reputation currently looks. You should take a look at the first few pages of search results, and at least the first page of images that come up so you understand what irrelevant and negative content you will need to handle.
- Clean up your search results. You may find that some of the content that comes up in your Google search are unflattering photos and inappropriate or embarrassing status updates on social media. This is a good time to go ahead and delete them.
- Create a website. If you don’t already have a website, now is the time to create one. If you do have a website but it’s tired and outdated, it may be time to have it professionally updated. The goal is to give consumers a place to go to get the best information about your business straight from the source. This website should have an easy-to-find URL (such as your business’ name), an About Us page, a regularly updated blog, a call-to-action and easy to see contact information.
- Set up social media accounts. Social media provides an excellent way for a business to interact with current and potential consumers, and it can also help to ensure that more of the top search engine results can focus on those sites you control and maintain.
- Find out what your target audience truly needs and wants. You can spend tons of time, money and effort on promoting your business and its products or services and wonder why you are not getting the traffic and conversions you expect. However, if you take the time to find out what your target audience truly needs and wants, you may be able to restructure your content marketing strategy so that it effectively reaches out to and engages consumers, leading to conversions.
- Manage your online reviews. Relying upon third party review sites for effective reviews about your business is risky, especially since this will lead consumers to the third party site instead of your website. Manage your own online reviews and draw consumers to your door.
Effective online reputation management can make a great deal of difference in the success of a business. Those businesses that are aggressive about establishing and improving their online reputation are highly rewarded for their efforts.