The Internet has become the new business directory or better put, “word of mouth” advertising platform. According to BrightLocal’s 2014 Consumer Review Survey, almost 9 out of 10 consumers consult online business reviews before choosing between companies. What does this mean for your business? Consumers trust reviews – 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
You as the business owner needs to take control, if you don’t control your online brand image, consumers and competitors will. Neglecting online reputation management allows negative reviews to prevail and makes your company seem disengaged.
Be ahead of the curve: 58 percent of executives agree that reputation management needs to be addressed, but only 15 percent dedicate time to the task. What steps can your company take to ensure its online reputation remains positive? Good reputation sells: Reliability and professionalism are the two qualities valued most when consumers compare companies.
Things to do proactively:
Monitor the conversation: Consumer feedback is a key part of online business reputations. Keep an eye on what your customers are saying about you on sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google
React quickly: Maintain transparency with consumers by responding to their comments, positive or negative.
Develop trust: Connect with your customers on a personal level through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If your product is visually pleasing, consider Pinterest and Instagram also.
Encourage engagement: Your businesses website is the most reliable place for consumers to find information. Make it easy for consumers to reach you through your website. (make sure to have your phone number on the first page along with the address.)