Small business owners and entrepreneurs might be inclined to think of online reputation management as brand management, and to a certain extent they would be correct. Online reputation is increasingly important to any company interested in deriving at least some of their overall revenue from some form of e-commerce, whether it be delivery of products through a retailer, or some form of service through an independent web site.
But a more accurate evaluation of reputation management is a form of search optimization. If someone is searching for a service or product, and they come across some artifact on the web that reflects poorly on a provider of that service or product, the chances they will buy from that source are likely to be dramatically lower than if they found a series of glowing reviews.
If you are wondering about the importance of reputation management for your small business, here are some things to consider.
Reviews are King
While price figures prominently into buying decisions for most people, a larger and larger proportion of justification for buying decisions can be put down to recommendations, either from friends and family or from online reviewers.
90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase
Even in the age of social media, the opinions of others, as long as they appear genuine, can drive a great many buying decisions. The more competitive the industry, the more important these reviews can be. Together, the collected opinions of customers form the basis for any company's online reputation, which is why it is so important to put a full effort into cultivating good reviews and making sure your product or service lives up to the reputation you earn.
The other highly important facet of online reputation management is a keen sense of being responsive to both customers and the media. A public relations crisis that surprises you and your company is far more likely to be damaging than one you are prepared for and can respond to in a timely manner.
An entrepreneur who is "tuned in" to what is being said about their company, product and industry is far more likely to see problems at a distance and do something about them long before they become a problem for sales, customer relations or employee morale. Being especially attentive to the concerns of customers and others is one way to bolster the image of your organization and improve overall online reputation.
Let's face it, brand identity marketing and digital reputation management make for great publicity. If your company can find a way to turn your efforts to please your customers into a marketing vehicle, especially if you can find a social media angle for it, you'll not only get the immediate benefit of the public response to your efforts, but you may also establish a semi-permanent signpost for your company's reputation through the magic of search optimization.
84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
It is very important your management always look for these opportunities, as they are very inexpensive ways to get considerable traction and visibility in your market.
Always remember that search and social media are far more a matter of the thread of communications than any one event. A continuously updated series of "good deeds" will do far more for any reputation than a one-time stunt. If your efforts can be consistent, they will pay off in the long run.
LorDec Media Group is a full-service lead generation, marketing, and advertising agency. We develop and create high impact, industry specific, pixel perfect mobile responsive websites and direct response campaigns that are market proven to build brand and product awareness, improve customer retention, and attract new customers. Most importantly, we won't break the bank doing it!
Why not give us a call? We will be more than happy to discuss your needs and answer any questions you may have. No obligation, just a conversation!