Your business has been working to elevate its public relations profile and brand awareness by optimizing the website, engaging on social media and writing a blog. Now that you’ve “put yourself out there” you need to employ an appropriate online reputation management strategy which focuses on optimizing your website, engaging on social media and writing a blog. Yes, you read that correctly, the very things you need to do to establish and elevate your business’ online profile are the same tools you need to use to manage your online reputation.

It is not enough to simply open social media accounts, establish a blog and have a website, you have to use them, and keep content current. Word-of-mouth is still the most effective form of advertising and promotion, but instead of being face-to-face it has moved online where a customer’s praise of, recommendation for or condemnation of your product or service, is on display for the entire world to see. As the Huffington Post reports, 90 percent of customers say their decisions are driven by online reviews. How you engage and respond to your customers and other target audiences online will enhance or hinder your company’s reputation, both online and off.

Post
Seems obvious, but one of the best ways to positively impact your online reputation management is to regularly post on social media and your business blog. The more you post, the higher you will rank in feeds and search engines. In fact, every time you add to your blog it indexes another page on your website helping to increase your SEO and page rank. However, don’t forget about quality over quantity. What you post has to be timely and relevant, have meaning and add value to your brand.

Monitor
People are talking about your business. Do you know what they are saying about you? Monitoring what is being said about your business and where, is the second step of online reputation management. It is not enough to simply post. To gauge how effective your content is you have to track engagement with your content. Who is engaging? When? Where? And most important, what are they saying?

To effectively manage your online reputation you have to know where your audience is and what channels they use most frequently. You can set up alerts in the major search engines to be notified when something new about your business appears on the internet. You should also proactively monitor appropriate review sites (Amazon, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Yahoo) for your business.

Respond
Monitoring leads to the third step in online reputation management: responding. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, social media is a two-way conversation. Not only do you have to know what people are saying about your business, but respond to it.  Say thank you, congratulate, ask for feedback—establish a relationship. The same is true with negative reviews and comments. How you handle negative comments can actually be a boost to your reputation provided you:

  • Acknowledge the customer’s/reviewer’s complaint.
  • Thank them for their feedback.
  • Show empathy for their situation.
  • Provide options for addressing their issue.
  • Reaffirm your business cares about their perspective and welcomes feedback.

Listen
Step four of online reputation management is about listening. Once you have established your online presence and built relationships, you can foster business growth by listening to and acting on what your customers say they want, need or would like to see improved about your product or service. Listening can help drive your content with in-depth responses to customer questions or ideas and encourage user generated content and shared experiences. Listening can help shape the future of your company, product development, strategic affiliations and community engagement. Listening demonstrates your company is walking its talk and enhances reputation overall.

Take it One Step Further
Understandably, finding the time and resources to not only develop and post content, but monitor and manage online engagement and reputation, can be challenging. Whether you need help with your online reputation management or a digital strategy to enhance your reputation, Millennium can help. Call 877-873-7445 ext. 201 or connect via email at Lfanaras@mill-im.com.