According to a report done by Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading global public relations firms, 70% of consumers avoid buying a product if they don’t like the company behind the product. That’s almost 3 out of 4 people.

The reality is that our world is more connected than ever, meaning we are always moments from a wealth of information. And that’s thanks to the handheld, pocket-sized computers that we all know as our phones.

Phones used to be about bridging the gap via audio. Text soon came into the game and social media followed. The interconnected world that we live in has brought along a set of positive and negative things to be aware of. And that’s why online reputation matters.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at online reputation. Not only will you learn why online reputation matters, but we’ll throw in some tips on how to act and stay relevant online.

Online Reputation Matters

Without digging too deeply into why online reputation matters, it’s crucial that we define online reputation. Online reputation is the set of characteristics that define how your company is portrayed online. These characteristics can positively or negatively influence your company, but it’s often a combination of both that gives companies their online reputation.

To handle the hostile online environment, it’s important that companies be aware of anything that impacts their image. After all, image is something to be cherished because of its fragility in our social media-ravaged world.

Maintaining a positive image (which is what you want) goes hand-in-hand with staying relevant in the online sphere. But how exactly do you stay relevant? As you will see, it’s not just about marketing and advertising.

Tips on Staying Relevant Online

Knowing why online reputation matters is one thing. Actually understanding how to maintain an online reputation is another. Yet both matter, as you’ll see below.

Guarding Your Image

There is much more to your image than having a pretty website and a modern logo. Your image has to do with interacting professionally with your customers. This does not mean you should always tell your customers what they want to hear, but it does mean that you should act and communicate ethically and transparently.

Social Media…And More

Responding to questions and complains on Twitter is one of the many ways to guard your online reputation. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are just a few examples out of the wealth of options available to your business. However, there’s more to online reputation than social media, and that has to do with Google.

Google searches can either make or break your image. If a search brings up defamatory content, one-star reviews, and hate messages, then it’s time to make some changes.

Create an SEO plan to make your company’s positive reviews more relevant than the negative reviews is one way to deal with negative content. Perhaps an online investigation or removing defamatory reviews is the route to go. Whatever the case may be, make sure to do clean up your image when a google search of your company or brand name is made.

Transparency

This is easier said than done, and yet it applies to the whole spectrum of business sizes. Being transparent means to ask for feedback and to allow employees to talk about your company’s services and products publicly.

I Am Speed

It’s crucial to answer feedback and respond to questions in a quick manner. By doing this, you will show your customers that you care about them, which will, in turn, build trust for your company or brand name.

Listen, Listen

Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, a book which has sold more than 80 million copies, once said the following: “talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours”. And that goes for businesses too. Listen with sincerity to the feedback your customers are giving you because that will not only help you improve your company’s products or services, but it will also help spread the message that your company cares.

Be Vigilant

Keep an eye out for negative reviews, defamatory content, and hate sites. Social media monitoring specialists can help out with this process.

Also, browsing through the first two pages of Google can help you get a sense for your company’s standing in public opinion. Platforms like Yelp and Twitter are good places to start.

Spread the Word

Having a website with a catalog of your products or services is now a thing of the past. Creating a presence online involves maintaining a blog (and guest blogging), establishing yourself on social media platforms, interacting with your community, and monitoring online reviews.

The Three T’s

How exactly do these techniques come together? To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the three T’s: transparency, transmission, and trust.

Transparency is all about letting your customers know that you are approachable and genuine. And as mentioned earlier, it’s important to be timely when responding to customer complaints so news coverage and social media don’t inflate issues beyond proportion and ruin your company’s image. 

Transmission, or communication, has to do with getting your message across in the correct way. Bashing a customer who made an “unreasonable” complaint is one example of what not to do. Rather, responding to the customer with a simple “our team is working on it and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can” is better than an angry reply, no response at all, or even a more detailed, but late response.

Trust is where transparency and transmission come together. If done correctly, the two previous T’s will foster trust in the consumer’s heart, which will lead to positive reviews and your company’s good fame.

Moving Forward

Knowing how to manage your company’s online reputation can be challenging but hopefully, this guide has made your job a little easier. Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to managing your company’s online reputation.

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