Having an online presence is a necessity for modern businesses. Yet, many business owners are learning the hard way that it goes beyond that.
Managing your online reputation is a crucial aspect of building your brand. 88% of consumers trust online reviews— positive or otherwise. If you aren’t taking steps to control the narrative around your business, here is an online reputation management plan to get started.
Put Monitoring Tools in Place
To effectively manage your online reputation, you need to have tools in place to do so. It isn’t reasonable to expect to stay on top of the various channels without systems in place.
To protect your reputation, invest in a platform that allows you to monitor reviews from around the web. Google, Yelp, and Facebook are common sites to focus on during this exercise. It’s also worth setting up Google alerts that notify you when topics related to your business arise.
Social listening is another integral part of managing your online reputation. Look for a social media platform, like Hootsuite, that lets you set alerts so you can respond to random Tweets and public Facebook posts.
Take some time to consider what you’ll be monitoring as well. In addition to your business name, you might consider adding product names, the names of high-profile employees and leadership, or even notifications about your competitors.
Craft Your Messaging
Next, think about your messaging when interacting with customers. You might have different approaches based on the nature of the interaction. For example, a review left on Google is static, meaning that you likely won’t have a conversation in real-time. On the other hand, responding on Twitter could be a live conversation with a user at the peak of their frustration.
Think about how you want to respond to a negative review, if at all. Look at negative reviews as a way to prove your compassion and empathy or to humanize your brand. Remember to respond to positive reviews to thank customers for their loyalty and improve customer retention rates.
Create a Proactive Customer Service Process
Customer service has traditionally been a reactive process. More companies are exploring the value of creating a proactive customer service process. By doing so, they can nip a proverbial problem in the bud.
How can you be proactive in customer service? Start by reaching out to the customer before they contact you. Follow up to see how their purchase is serving them and offer additional training or support. This approach is especially valuable for those offering SaaS products.
Consider automating this process to the best of your abilities. You can schedule a post-purchase email flow or have scheduling triggers that notify you when it’s time to send a message.
Ask for Reviews
Remember that online reputation management isn’t just about mitigating bad reviews; it’s about pursuing positive ones. As a part of your proactive customer service plan, remember to ask your customers for a review. Not only will this help improve your conversion rate, but it will also impact your SEO. In other words, the better your reviews, the more likely your business will be at the top of a Google search page.
The key to collecting reviews from your satisfied customers is to make it as easy as possible. Outline the steps, add the links, and do what you can short of guiding their hand.
Track and Adapt
While the primary goal of online reputation management is to control the customer-facing narrative, don’t let the data you collect go to waste. Track common trends among reviews and use this information to improve. Customers can provide valuable insights about gaps in your business. Each negative review is an opportunity to become better.
By putting an online reputation management plan in place, you’ll be able to refine your brand and boost your profits over time.