It’s all out there, your business is exposed and judged. Visitors from around the world will seek out, or stumble across your business, and many of them will contact you and inquire into your services.
While most people will be looking at your site positively, there are always a handful of customers who have something less than positive to say. Some trolls and competitors play dirty tricks to bring down the reputation of the business, but a robust online reputation management plan will counteract these harmful results.
Think of it as a sort of “Digital Vaccination” against a virus of “fake reviews”.
Keeping your guard up online can be just as important as house insurance or the flu jab. It’s preventative and vital. Without it, you may be vulnerable to online attacks, loss of mental health and income. Just like any vaccination, it can also be relatively painless.
● 72% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends and family.
● 70% of people search online reviews or ratings before ordering a product or service.
● 80% of people change their decision after reading a negative review.
● Reputation is Crucial
Most people research a company or product online, and they do this well before they even consider buying. Online reviews are one of the primary sources for unbiased, genuine opinions. Social proof is found in reviews and star ratings influence the buyer more than any advertising campaign, no matter how innovative.
However, when online reputation is dismantled, either by mistake or because of a customer with an agenda, it can be incredibly difficult to climb back up.
It can end small businesses that rely on the internet for e-Commerce, or brand recognition. Typically, most sites don’t even alert you there are new reviews– so if you’re not checking every platform, this could all be happening whilst you’re blissfully unaware.
Reputation management can even improve a company’s status when appearing in search engine results, and other high-traffic online spaces. Implementing good SEO improves a business’ image instantaneously, so creating information that plays to specific keywords (both negative and positive) can help protect your business when people are looking for the worst.
● What to Do When You Get a Bad Review
As you should know by now, never retaliate against a bad review. Retaliating looks petty and is a sure-fire way to damage your online reputation further; how you respond to a negative review or comment is crucial. As you deal with a bad review, always apologise to the person with the negative experience.
When you discover that your reputation is not what you'd like it to be, there are a few things you can do to take initiative and improve your online reputation.
Since the revolution of social media and the internet, our digital lives are under closer scrutiny. Online reputation management isn’t the easiest way to ensure success, but it is incredibly effective and long-lived success is more of a guarantee.
Addressing bad reviews, seeking out personal images and content that could undermine your professional success, and engaging in meticulous online behaviour will ensure that your personal brand is positive and enhanced. It’s difficult but immensely rewarding.
Never underestimate the importance of your reputation; it’s what’s used to define us. Your online reputation is like a relationship, except it’s a relationship you have with hundreds of thousands of people.
Be conscious of what people think of you, reflect on their feedback to improve yourself, maintain your reputation, and be honest and reliable. It may not always be easy; but it’s simple.