Will Your Online Reputation Cost You Business?
It is a new year and you have undoubtedly been thinking about all the tasks that await you over the next 12 months. So, have you taken a moment or two to think about the importance of your online reputation and more specifically, is it really what it should be? If the answer is no on both ends, then you definitely have some work to do moving forward.
In a day and age when many more consumers turn to the Internet to browse and buy goods and services, your online reputation needs to be as clean as possible.
Take note of the fact that 97 percent of consumers turn to online media when reviewing goods and services in their local area, according to a survey from BIA/KelseyGroup. Meanwhile, 90 percent of consumers report using search engines, with 48 percent turning to Internet Yellow Pages.
With those numbers in mind, stop for a moment and think about how a bad online reputation for you and/or your business could hamper your ability to pull in more customers. Whether the information is true or not, it could have serious repercussions for you and the business you have spent so much time building.
So, how can you go about determining if your online reputation is positive or negative?
Among the factors to keep in mind:
# 1. Define the problem
Your first task in understanding why your online reputation needs first aid is targeting the problem. Do you have an unhappy employee, upset customer or rival making bad waves for you online? If so, is the information they have put out there true or false? If it is the latter, you may think about possible legal action. If it is true, what can you do to combat this? Always know what and who you are dealing with before acting. It may be something as simple as a customer spoke negatively about you and your business in an online forum and the information has spread;
# 2. Fix the problem
Oftentimes the biggest challenge is how to properly address and rectify the matter. You will likely first ask yourself if you or an outside consultant/firm are best suited to handle the problem. In the event you do the work in-house, do you or your team know how to go about it? You may hesitate in spending money to hire outside help, but it could be one of the best investments you make over time.
Should you choose that option, be sure you get quotes from several companies, check their background history of serving customers, along with financial stability, and make sure you fully understand what they will do for you and at what price. Most consultants/reputation companies are trustworthy and qualified to fix your Internet reputation, but always do your homework when searching for one.
# 3. Pieces of the puzzle
Once you determine who will fix the problem, the next step is putting the pieces of the puzzle together. In order to tamper down negative details about you and/or your company, make sure you fill the Internet with the good stuff. Items including blog posts, testimonials from satisfied customers, press releases, and any other positive material should be placed online. As this material gets traction, it will become more prevalent when consumers Google your name. In the meantime, the negative material will begin to descend in the search engines, meaning it will not be the first thing people see when inquiring about you or your business;
# 4. Don’t make the same mistake twice
Once you have worked to repair your online reputation, try avoiding to make the same mistake over again. Maybe you were not spending enough time overseeing what others say about you online over the last 12 months. If that is the case, take the time during the year to Google your name and that of your company, checking to see if any negative comments are coming up. If you focus in on having a positive online reputation, you could very well see the results in an increased revenue stream.
What suggestions do you have to enhance your online reputation?