Reputation is Everything.
Your online business reputation can literally make or break your business. The Internet is arguably the most powerful marketing platform there is. A large part of establishing a strong online presence for your brand is managing your online reputation – it’s how potential customers see you. Your business WILL have an online reputation, whether or not you choose to manage it. If you choose not to manage it, you can be sure that the public will. Leaving such a major determinant of your business up to others is risky.
What Is Reputation Management?
Simply put, your reputation is how others view you and your business. Managing that reputation is the complex process of tracking and responding to online opinions of your business.
Why Reputation Management Is Important To Your Business
- Studies show that over 90% of all consumers use the Internet to research businesses when searching for services or products. Your online reputation determines whether those consumers choose you or one of your competitors.
- If you aren’t proactively managing your online reputation, it will be managed by the actions of others. For this reason, you need to do everything you can to ensure that what people see when they find your business online is as positive as possible.
- Most Internet users never get past the first page of search engine results. They pay most attention to what they see at the top…and if you aren’t at the top, or if the top search results are not complimentary to your business, you are losing potential customers.
How Your Business Reputation Is Formed Online
There are a number of review sites that exist solely for allowing your customers the opportunity to post their experiences with your business. Online review sites include Yelp, Bing, Urbanspoon, Foursquare, etc. Google Places even provides a dedicated space on your Places page for customer reviews. In addition to the review sites, your reputation is affected by comments in industry forums, social media sites, online articles, blog posts, public record documents…and don’t forget sites like the Better Business Bureau, ComplaintsBoard.com, etc. These sites are where your reputation can be made or broken.
Which Comments Or Reviews Matter The Most: review sites, blogs, websites, forums, or social media networks?
In a nutshell, they all matter. Anyone with Internet access can affect how others see your business. Even when negative reviews aren’t valid, they still have power to contaminate your business within hours.
What You Can Do
- Search for your business online. Also, search for your brand, product and/or service. (You may also want to search your name and the names of your high-profile employees). What do you find? Do you like what you see? Is your web presence positive? Would you choose your business over the competition? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you need to manage your online reputation.
- Once you know what’s being said about your business, you can make a plan for managing your reputation. If most of what you find is indifferent (or if you can’t find much at all), you need to work on building your brand’s positive reputation.
- Participate! Involve yourself in the conversations online about your business. Make it a point to always respond in a timely manner to both negative and positive feedback. Once you are aware of a negative review about your business online, promptly respond. NEVER ignore negative feedback. Be diplomatic and fair and avoid using defensive or a demeaning tone. Offer viable solutions. Volunteer information that will help keep online conversations about your business going.
Can Negative Reviews Be Prevented Online?
- There is no way to prevent negative reviews online. There is also no magic wand to make negative reviews disappear.
- If it’s not a valid review, you can contact the webmaster to review it who will then determine whether or not the review can stand. After a period of review, it will either be removed or left online. Even if the review is removed, it can remain in the search results for months or even a year.
- The bottom line: It’s in your best interest to protect your business reputation. Through Easy Street Reputation Management, negative reviews can be suppressed and replaced with positive affirmations of your business credibility.
How Long Will It Take?
It depends on several factors:
- The amount of negative content that ranks high on search engines. The more negative content, the longer it takes.
- The amount of positive content you have online, especially on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as press releases and online articles. The more positive content, the better.
- How long the negative reviews have been online, the amount of content, and the amount of links pointing to the review and website where the review is located.
Positive content, delivered consistently over time (viewed by search engines as natural and “real”), results in long-lasting effects. Your investment in your business reputation is worth it, don’t you think?
You will find other companies offering faster results, sometimes within days, while also claiming to improve your reputation by removing negative reviews quickly. We ask you to strongly reconsider using such companies since removing reviews is considered to be risky and unethical.