Reputation Monitoring & Management: Critical Components for Business Success Online in 2018 and Beyond
Reputation monitoring and management make up the first of three vital reputation components when it comes to creating a long-term successful reputation for your business. Managing reputation is a process that is best done through software solutions and platforms that alert you in real time, when a new review is posted online about your business. There’s too much potential for error if left to manual methods, not to mention the amount of time it would take and the impossibility of the task.
It’s more than just your reviews that need technological monitoring, as there are a myriad of channels that people have the ability to access online when it comes to obtaining and posting information about your business. There’s no shortage of opportunities for them to give feedback about your business, share their direct experiences about your company as well as find out more about your business.
For example, there are the major social channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and then there’s content publish directly to the web on your own site or blog as well as what others are saying about your business on these various online platforms, including content posted on local business directory sites.
Why is monitoring your company reputation so important in today’s online environment?
As the old saying goes…”knowledge is power”. And in the case of reputation monitoring and management, when you know what is being said or posted online about your business…when you have the ability to be immediately aware of new reviews, feedback or comments, you have the power to respond quickly to what’s being said.
It’s not enough to respond to comments and reviews about your business – timing and speed are just as critical. A good guideline to follow is 24 hours or less for posting a response to comments or reviews, whether they are positive or negative in nature. If you’re receiving alerts to your mobile or tablet in real time, you or your support staff can respond within the hour!
A powerful reason for addressing negative or positive feedback right away is the goodwill you’re able to convey to your customer base and to the people who come into contact with your company.
With the right reputation monitoring and management system in place, you have the power to turn people’s thinking around if they’ve had a less than satisfactory experience up until now, and influence their willingness to give your business a second chance.
You’re able to let people know that you genuinely care about their experience and that you want that experience to be positive.
In order to have your finger on the pulse of what’s being said and shared about your business as your online visibility grows, it’s necessary to keep pace with this growth by having reputation monitoring capabilities and strategies to match.
Is it just as important to respond to positive comments, feedback and reviews about your business? Yes, definitely it’s just as important as this builds rapport, solidifies relationships with the people taking the time to give positive information about you and works to strengthen goodwill. A timely response on your part encourages people to spread the good news about your customer service by word of mouth or by posting additional positive content about your business online.
Have You Claimed Your Business Listings?
Being proactive when it comes to claiming important business listings is imperative when it comes to reputation management and ultimately building your reputation in the way that you want it to be built. Most people don’t realize, but for many of these online directories it is possible for ANYONE to go in and create a listing for your business!
Claiming important listings such as your Google My Business listing, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Four Square, City Search and so on is something you’ll want to do sooner rather than later. If a 3rd party has created a listing on one of these sites for your business without your knowledge, it is entirely possible that reviews about your business may have already been posted.
Claiming and completing your business listings, coupled with proper reputation management is the foundation your business needs for the second reputation component to function, which is reputation building. If you don’t know it’s out there, you can’t respond, right?!
We’ll cover in a future article the many benefits that having correct and congruent business listings mean for a successful online presence but for now, you want to make sure that you are the one in control of this content. Your listings are free to claim, but there is an investment of time involved, and research.
If you want help claiming your important business listings, we provide this service. Please book a complimentary appointment to discuss your needs HERE.
A recent survey done by BrandMuscle found that 56% of retailers have not claimed their Google My Business listing, even with all of the information available that doing so is vitally important for online visibility and search rankings, as well as establishing trust and credibility.
Don’t Leave the Creation of Your Business Listings to Chance or to Online Directory Software & Automation
Claiming your business listings and making sure that your information is not only correct across the board, but is actually controlled by YOU makes your business stronger, helps consumers out and puts important safeguards in place for building and safeguarding your online reputation.
Google smiles on congruent business information across online directory and review sites and frowns upon listings that contain incorrect, outdated or conflicting information. This is a factor that can actually hurt your search engine rankings, so you want to be the one in charge of this aspect of your online presence, as well as be aware of 3rd party generated content that has the potential of being inaccurate.
Online directory and review websites have the capability of pulling in existing information about your business from different locations on the web, which they then use to automatically generate new listings about your business. The problem with this is the fact that it is being done through automation and if there are errors when these listings are generated, you’re not going to know about them if you’re not monitoring.
Make readily available the most important and accurate information about your business, such as your address, hours of operation, phone number, etc…often referred to as “NAP” information (short for name, address and phone number) when setting up your listings. Include relevant helpful images and detailed descriptions where indicated on directory and review sites.
Leveraging Customer Feedback & Reviews for Business Insights & Growth
Keeping tabs on your online reputation has many benefits as we’ve previously discussed. Why not take this information your audience is giving you and use it to self-assess and improve? Direct feedback from your target market is invaluable, inherent with the power to help you identify weaknesses in your business that need attention and adjustment.
Likewise, what you’re currently doing well will be commented on and shared, giving you the opportunity to do more of this “good stuff” in order to continue helping your customers in the ways that benefit them the most.
Even though critical feedback is hard to swallow sometimes, it’s important to understand where people are coming from and what their experiences are with your brand. It’s inevitable that once in a while someone is going to be disappointed, no matter how hard you try. With the right reputation management system, you’ll have a powerful firewall in place to address this feedback and disappointment before it becomes a negative online review and most importantly, help save a relationship.
In our next post in this reputation series, we’ll discuss the second vital component that sets the stage for propelling your business forward – reputation building.