If somebody did a search online about your business what would they find?
In the old days, if you had one dissatisfied customer who was not happy with your product or service, they may have told on average 7 to 12 friends about it.
However, times have changed. With the invention of the internet and social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, that one person can now tell hundreds or even thousands of people about their experience.
It is so easy for your potential customers to type your company name into Google and see anything from quality reviews and recommendations to reputation-damaging complaints and unresolved issues. What is more, all that information stays there for the entire world to see.
It is a company’s worst nightmare for an unhappy customer to start telling the world about their complaints. Many companies have seen their profits wiped out, simply because a group of customers have rallied together and given them a bad name.
According to eMarketer, consumers trust other consumer reviews almost 12 times more than they trust the manufacturer’s celebrity-endorsed sales pitches and technical jargon.
Managing your online reputation is no longer optional. If an issue concerns your customer then it should concern you, because if not, they are going to tell the world.
The simple truth is your brand, your reputation and your business are on the line every time a customer walks away unhappy.
Here are 10 online reputation management facts that you need to know:
1) Professional Marketers Say “Trust” Is Number One Important Factor For Making A Sales-Worthy Impression.
The 1×1 Xchange Panel conducted a widespread survey among businesses and a whopping 84% of them believed that building trust online would be the primary focus for marketing efforts in the future.
Most marketers feel that gaining a potential customers trust is the key to getting a sale. Do you trust somebody with a bad reputation? No? Well neither do your customers.
It is essential that your business is not only trustworthy but is reflected to be trustworthy online.
2) Most People Use Social Media To Decide What To Buy.
It is no secret. Social proof is powerful. One good recommendation can generate an inordinate amount of extra sales, but equally, if your social media is lacking and your name is being tarnished your profits will plummet. To emphasise the importance of social media, Pew Statistics revealed that 4 out 5 people said that they had received advice via social media regarding what product or service to purchase.
3) More and More Large Companies Are Hiring Full Time Online Reputation Managers
Do you want to know what big companies thing about reputation management? According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, they think highly enough of reputation managers to hire them full-time and pay them handsome salaries. The US Bureau of Labour puts the average salary of an online reputation manager between $38,000 – $72,000.
4) More Adults Are On Social Media Sites Than You Think.
You can’t dismiss social media as a young person’s world any more. Again, the Pew Statistics reported that 46% of online adults are actively involved with social networking sites. Yes, the people with the money and the spending power are moving online and making decisions based on what they find there. It is vital that your site is well represented online.
5) The Public Trusts Social Media
The same Pew Statistics report said that almost half of online adults (48%) agree that getting to know new people is easier and more meaningful because you can learn things online about the people that you meet. Do you wish that your customers could get to know you better? If they knew you better then you know that they would buy your product or service. This is where Internet savvy companies involved with social media are doing so well. They interact with their potential customers and get the sales. By becoming involved and looking after your online reputation you will do the same.
6) People Are Using Social Media To Gain An Edge On Their Competition. That means You!
It could not be easier for your completion to get the edge over you online and snatch the lion’s share of customers. All they need to do is search your name or your companies name online and read the paper trail that you have left behind from responding to customers to how you act on social media sites like Facebook. How often do you think that you are being searched online by your competitor or a fellow colleague or employee? It will be more than you care to think. The Pew Statistics report revealed that 31% of employed Internet users have admitted to searching online for information about co-workers, professional colleagues or business competitors. What will they find out if they researched you online? Are you caring for your online reputation as well as you should be? You can no longer be complacent and need to act now.
7) Social Proof Is King And Traditional Advertising Is Dying
It’s true. The results of the Pew Statistics Report showed that a huge 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations but only 14% of them trusted an advertisement. What that means for businesses is that no matter what ads you are running or how many professional looking shiny banners you put on your website, it will be the recommendations of peers based on your reputation that will bring customers to your door or website ready to buy.
Your online reputation goes before you and only social media and reputation management can ensure that your company is well represented online.
As a business owner, you only have one of two choices:
Choice A: You refuse to take your business online and miss out on the huge potential that so many other businesses are experiencing. The internet is not going to go away. Online sales are increasing year on year. People – your customers – are addicted to social media sites and now that they have found their voice they won’t be silenced. If you ignore them or don’t engage with them, then your brand and company is going to be history.
Choice B: Under the guidance of a professional online reputation manager you engage with your existing and potential customers by taking your business online using savvy internet marketing and reap the massive rewards for doing so. Manage your online reputation and you WILL make money.
THREE TIPS ON PROTECTING YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
1) Monitor your brand
One internet writer described not monitoring your online reputation like leaving your 5 year old child unattended at the swimming pool. You just wouldn’t do it. In the same way, it is irresponsible on today’s social marketing platform to ignore what is being said about your brand, company or name. This applies if what is being said is positive as well as negative. Remember that a poor review is always just one tweet away and 40% of these come from mobile devices so you need to be on the ball and monitor your online reputation.
2) Respond Quickly
When a customer is unsatisfied with your service, you still have the opportunity to turn things around. In fact, rather than being a bad thing, you can make a negative situation into a positive simply by taking the necessary effort to make sure that each customer complaint is handled promptly and politely. 90% of disgruntled customers will stay with a company if they feel that their complaint is being taken seriously and resolved promptly. Even more amazingly, 50% of them will even advocate your brand in the future by telling their online followers how impressed they were with the way the complaint was handled.
3) Personal Attention
If customers make a complaint, they want to know that you care. You only get one shot at your brands reputation so make it count. You know what people say about first impressions, so remember this when you make a response to any complaint or negative feedback because any first impressions will be amplified. Don’t react against the comment but have a proactive approach. Your goal is not only to get the customer back on side but to show the potential thousands of other observers that you DO care about your customers and that they CAN trust you.