When the internet began establishing itself among society and businesses followed by refining their processes to fit a digital world, you were right along with them. The truth is, those who not only adapted, but strategically leveraged the modern behavior are in a much stronger position than those who lingered-or opted out entirely.
The same is true across all internet focused fields- social media, websites, pipelines, storefront, and your online reputation. The moment that you created your website and its counterparts (blogs, videos, etc.) you may have mistakenly believed that you have full control over your online reputation.
This is not an isolated incident.
Be honest, have you ever entered your own business name into a search engine? If you’re like the majority, you have, and -depending on your situation- may have felt alarmed when you saw the results.
While you do retain control over your website and social media pages, other outside information connected with your business may seem to appear from nowhere. This outside information can include images, reviews, and queries. While the potential for reputation tarnish can feel daunting and out of your control, there are some steps you can take to limit possible disapproval.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Reputation management is the practice of safeguarding the online reputation of an individual, company or organization to shape public perception. Your online reputation refers to the impression people feel from your company based on their online searches. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo don’t disguise or suppress anything pertaining to your business, and you can expect that your customers will practice their due diligence in researching that you are a respectful and reputable company.
The 7 Reasons You Need to Monitor Your Online Reputation
Similar to the rapid escalation of rumors, internet information constantly changes, and your online reputation is no different.
We’ve put together 7 reasons you should keep your reputation in check
Anyone Can See Your Online Presence
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Google reviews, TikTok. The list of different online platforms for your customers to find information about your business can go on. These digital platforms allow you to share and engage with your audience, however, this increase in customer conversation can quickly lead to danger if you’re not careful. We’re not saying that you should hide away, in fact, it means you should utilize a proactive approach and embrace it by joining the conversation. MCDA CCG CEO, Mike Rash, states, “It’s important that when your customers leave some sort of digital contact on your online platforms in the form of reviews or comments, respond to each in a positive and professional manner.” How you respond shows others that you care.
Always Respond to Reviews
Your online reviews can make or break your business in this digital world, where people trust an online review as much as a word of mouth recommendation. To demonstrate the authenticity of your business, responding to all reviews-positive or negative- will help improve your engagement.
It’s crucial that you respond to negative reviews in a cautious manner, by communicating that you are working to address and improve situations no matter how small they may seem.
People Trust People
This brings us to our next point: online reviews are powerful. They prove that people will always trust the words of other people, even if the words err close to near incomprehensible. In fact, just setting 5 star reviews on your website, social media, and other platforms can convert a visitor into a client or customer with ease.
Equitably, a negative review can have just as much influence over your online visitors/
Our team at MCDA CCG, INC. recommend that-depending on your business- showcase your client list and demonstrate that your business is trustworthy.
Word of Mouth Is Always Moving
The ‘word of mouth’ term has evolved over the years, where social media earns its ability in encouraging word of mouth and user experiences to constantly travel. Think about the downfalls of huge conglomerates as part of failed social media efforts and the lasting impressions on their online reputation.
First, ensure that you continuously post content aligning with your beliefs and ideals. While this may not seem too difficult, this is where many businesses fall the hardest.
Next, always monitor the activity of your social media channels. It’s not just rogue employees that can affect your posts but the comments to each post on each platform could range from inappropriate spam through to slander.
Attract The Best Talent
Online reputation doesn’t specifically apply to your customers, it plays a crucial role in appealing to quality employees. Because of this, you must ensure utmost employee satisfaction to keep your business thriving in today’s competitive marketplace. Statistics prove that 70% of employees will reject a job offer from a company if they have a negative online presence.
Unknown Website Listings
Today, there are numerous online directories replacing the out-of-date Yellow Pages. Yelp, Trip Advisor, even Facebook pages can become a platform of misinformation and negativity pertaining to your business even if you haven’t listed it yourself. We strongly recommend that you and your team keep track of all directories which may be linked to your business to track any platforms or users who may have gone rogue.
7. Anyone Can List Your Business Online
Yes, you read that right. The same way we purchase our domains and create business accounts on social media platforms, anyone can do the exact same. Unfortunately, it’s common that businesses become targets of impersonation, however, there are steps you can take to reclaim control. While many sites are prompt in addressing false accounts, the process may take some time.
During this time you may need to provide various forms of identification and verification to prove yours and your business identity. And unfortunately, you have no additional control over online occurrences.
8. Stay Away From Automated Content Tools
With instant gratification influencing our expectations and competition grows by the second, time is becoming more valuable. Because of this, we are seeing more businesses rely on automated tools to manage their social media accounts.
However, as algorithms continue to evolve in favor of consumers, a substantial amount of this content will go unnoticed. Ensure that if you are using any of these tools that you continue to monitor the authenticity of and relevance of your content.
Unlike tracking your real life reputation, online reputation is not so easy to forget or ignore. Whether your negative reviews come from dissatisfied customers, ex-employees, unethical competitors or spam, your business can very easily come under attack. Because the internet doesn’t forget, it’s imperative that you proactively evaluate your business footprint.
As with many digital marketing solutions, dedicating yourself or your team to these efforts can become costly and time consuming. Contact our team at MCDA CCG, INC.-headquartered in Placentia, Orange County, California-to help you gain reputation control- where you can confidently thrive knowing your digital image reflects those in real life.