Social media websites are shaping the way individuals view brands. From Facebook fan pages and Twitter profiles to review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List, customers have access to unbiased critiques of your business. Referrals from satisfied customers are the best source of new business, yet negative reviews can stop customers dead in their tracks. What steps do you take to manage your business’ online reputation?
Managing your online reputation requires monitoring the online conversation, engaging with customers and the marketing savvy to effectively promote across digital platforms. Here, we outline how you can manage your business’ online reputation:
Search your business name on engines like Google and Bing, then review your results. Were you easy to locate? If you have a website, blog and several social media accounts, are they current? Next, peruse review sites such as Yelp, Google Local or Epinions to monitor reviews being posted on your business. Document every negative review and devise a strategy to respond if it’s in your best interest. Finally, you should use Google Alerts to receive notice whenever your business is mentioned online. The service will automatically email you the results at your desired frequency (i.e. everyday, once a week, etc.)
After you’ve listen to your customers’ conversations about your brand, you then need to begin to manage it. First, claim your company name on all social media platforms and complete each profile—the more detailed your profile, the more your business will appear in search results. Secondly, while you don’t need to respond to every single review, you need to attend to negative reviews in a respectful and positive manner, even if they make you irate. Keep in mind, depending on the circumstances of the review, you can choose to respond publicly or privately.
Social media platforms do more than help you protect your reputation; they also serve as tools for marketing and analytics. Becoming an online advertiser can buy you more visibility. Since benefits vary by platform, investigate which advertising service would best suit your brand. Advertisers on Facebook, Twitter and Google generally get more prominent display and garner more engagement.
S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at@sociallyahead.