In life, reputation is an important thing. It's the intangible component we use to shape our thoughts and actions toward each other. A reputation is built, little by little, over a lengthy period of time. The more effort you put into the cultivation of your reputation, the stronger it will be.
It's the same way in business. As consumers, we often decide to deal with brands we trust (because they have a good reputation). In the workplace, we partner with companies that have an established presence within an industry. We do this to feel safe and comfortable with our decisions.
Reputations in the the digital space, however, are a different animal. There are so many more people online that each interaction is that much more impactful - for better or for worse. In the digital realm, you always need to influence your reputation, and remain aware of the external perception of your reputation so you can manage it when necessary.
The digital world can sometimes be tough to navigate, so in our latest digital marketing video, we wanted to show you How to Master Online Reputation Management:
Step 1: Listen to Your Customers
The people who have had direct interactions with your brand - in other words, your customers - are the best bets to amplify your reputation. But you better ensure your reputation is positive in the mind of your current customers or else there's no use in having them spread it.
A great way to make sure you always know what your customers are thinking is to design a feedback system. Whether it's a survey by email, a quick phone call or simply asking them in person, giving your customers an easy way to tell you what they're thinking - and then listening to them - is extremely valuable to your business.
Step 2: Target Relevant Review Websites
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
After seeing this stat, there's only one thing you should be thinking: how to get more digital reviews.
Reviews are not only important for generally building up your reputation, they're also a really powerful sales tool. Potential customers will buy from you simply based on the fact that other people - other strangers - have said buying from you is a good idea. If you can find out what channels and sites your customers use to review your business, you can then send potential customers there by featuring prominent links to the positive reviews.
Step 3: Gather Customer Feedback
For whatever reason, if you can't seem to get your customers to leave reviews on relevant sites and they don't fill out the surveys you send them, you might have to take a more direct approach. A real, human interaction might be the best time to gather customer feedback, so whether it's asking during a one-to-one transaction, or taking a client out for lunch, being direct is the best way to generate honest feedback.
And if you don't like what you hear? Ask customers how you can improve and then promise them you'll work on it. Negative feedback in the form of constructive criticism is just as powerful as positive feedback.
Step 4: Share Your Customer Feedback
Whenever you receive praise from customers, don't get all bashful and keep it a secret. Let the world know when a customer praises you. Whether it's through a written testimonial displayed on your site or a photo or video shared on social media, use every channel at your disposal to spread the word about your overjoyed customers. Leveraging a positive reputation is a sure-fire way to generate new business.
Step 5: Learn and Improve
I said it earlier and I'll say it again: even negative feedback can be a positive thing. Instead of getting defensive, embrace the negative feedback of your clients and promise them you'll learn and improve from the experience. And don't just say you'll make improvements - go out and actually improve. Striving to continually make your product or service offering better can never be a bad thing.
If you would like more information on reputation management or professional help developing an online reputation management strategy, get in touch with your local WSI Digital Marketing Consultant today.