The Importance of Online Reputation for Businesses
Maintaining the online presence of your business has multiple facets – from routine posting on social media, updating business hours, and keeping up with website maintenance. The online reputation of your business is what can draw in new customers, build credibility, and improve brand image. However, neglecting your business’ online presence can cause prospects to miss your business or worse, make prospects steer clear all together. Developing and maintaining a strategy to support your online reputation is an important area of overall business operation that should not be overlooked – regardless of business size, industry, or success.
It can take years for business owners to develop a strong and reputable brand, but a poorly managed (or non-existent) online reputation strategy can instantly tear all of that hard work apart in today’s digital world. Buckingham explains what to know about reputation management for businesses, benefits, and how to implement a strategy tailored to your growing business.
What Is Reputation Management for Business?
Business reputation management involves the implementation of regularly monitoring, managing, and growing your company’s online presence with the intent to build business awareness, reach new audiences, stand out against competitors, and identify areas of opportunity to improve business operations.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management
Before making a purchase, customers will likely research the company they are considering and read reviews from previous customers. In fact, BrightLocal reports that positive reviews make 74% of consumers trust a local business more, and the average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling comfortable to trust a business.
A company with a good online reputation and a large number of positive reviews will likely be more successful in converting customers. Similarly, if a business has a poor online reputation, potential customers are likely to think twice before making a purchase and could even be put off entirely.
Here are benefits of implementing online reputation management strategies for your business:
- Build brand credibility
- Nurture existing customers
- Expand audience to reach new customers
- Monitor your business’ search results
- Improve social media presence
- Investigate and act upon false online information
- Respond to online reviews – both positive and negative
- Suppress negative content (employee/customer reviews, news outlet headlines, etc.)
It is not only potential customers who will be put off by a poor online reputation. Business partners and investors could also be put off, as this could be seen as a sign of instability and a lack of trustworthiness. This could be incredibly damaging to a business as it could hamper their ability to find and form successful partnerships.
How to Create an Online Reputation Management Strategy
The internet is an incredibly powerful tool and provides businesses with the opportunity to reach a wide audience. As such, it’s essential for businesses to create a positive online presence and to build a strong online reputation. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Perform an online brand audit to see what others are saying about your business
- Obtain ownership of existing social media channels
- Verify business listings (Google, Yelp, etc.)
- Have a strategy to respond to customer reviews on a regular basis
- Encourage customers and employees to leave reviews
- Promote positive content (new products, updated store hours, promotions) through social media
A good online reputation is essential for businesses if they are to succeed in the current digital landscape. A poor online reputation can lead to attacks on your business, and even lose potential customers, investors, and business partners, so it’s essential for businesses to take steps to ensure that their online reputation is positive. Doing so will help them to build trust and loyalty with customers, partners and investors, and ultimately, lead to business success.
And don’t forget – seek help if necessary. If you’re unable to manage your online reputation effectively on your own, contact Buckingham for assistance at [email protected].