For a small business owner, it’s easy to say “I don’t care what people think” in the offline world and go about your day. However, the world today has radically changed. It’s a world of websites that are isnteractive and are no longer static brochures. An online world that thrives on user-generated content is. Everyone refers to online reviews before making any purchase decision and regular interactions on social networks are vital to any business success.
No matter the size of your business, they (prospects, customers, clients…anyone and, potentially, everyone) are talking about you. They are constantly searching for your service online, tweeting about your latest product, leaving a comment on your blog, posting a Facebook update or writing a review about their customer experience, and much more.
As you grow your business, you are going to hear more and more about the importance of having a positive online presence and with that will emerge a need to manage your online reputation. You working hard on your business isn’t enough today. You have to protect it and benefit from the advantages of having a great online reputation and for all that you’ll have to put some energy into managing your online presence.
Positive online reviews are a crucial part of how customers will find you and judge you. When you are providing a great product and stay committed to top-notch customer service you need to spread the word through online reviews. Consumers are searching the internet looking for the best place to spend their money so you need to ask yourself:
- Am I visible to my prospects when they look at preferred reviews and compare sites?
- What is the potential buyer seeing about me that would convince him to choose me over my competitors?
- Is my business at the top of search engine local search results with high star reviews?
Building a strong web presence with positive reviews establishes your credibility as a reliable business, gives consumers a base for comparison against competitors, and gives your business broader exposure on the internet. Beyond the obvious advantages, your online reputation also serves as 24/7 advertising. Consumers trust these more than any web content or advertisement you could create and disseminate.
Aggressive SEO is mandatory because if a customer googles your name, appearing on page 1 and 2 of the search results is much more crucial than your business card or website. They will make quick purchases on seeing several high ranking web sources talking about you. When 90% consumers search online before making any purchase and refer to only top 11to 14 results , your search engine game is too important to be ignored, and it is the first step in restoring your image.
Developing a comprehensive social media strategy will help you manage your online reputation effectively, as well as ensure you are using the right platforms, engaging with your target audience and monitoring your accounts appropriately. No matter what social media platform you use, following these rules in your strategy will help you succeed:
- Stay focused when choosing a target audience by looking into their demographics, behaviours and interests.
- Stay authentic and don’t view social media as a marketing platform, imagine you are talking to someone in real life and then make a statement
- Stay meaningful in the content you publish or your target audience they will not read or engage with it.
- Stay aware and listen to the conversations happening on social media about your business and your industry. Its amazing how many insights it will bring.
- Stay relevant when selecting a platform that is most appropriate for your business.
- Stay active and create conversations and discussions on your social media pages o enhance audience participation and engagement. Keep sharing events and promotions on a regular basis
Start blogging as a blog helps build your profile as an industry expert and leader. Blogs are all about sharing useful information with your clients and customers, which will also attract more traffic to your site. Blogs are extremely easy to start up and use, making them an ideal platform for your business to publish quality and interesting content. What you write is up to you, but try to spark discussion and share experiences, ideas and relevant information. To build traffic, read other blogs and comment on them so that it links back to your own blog.
These four strategies are the pillars of your online reputation and are critical for client acquisition. Get started on these, and with an initial push your online reputation will get you more customers and more profits in no time. After all it’s what your consumers count on!