“If I google the name of your company, what will I find?” That is a question that should make you take your online reputation management serious.
If you are a business person who does not get sales and make money through the internet, you should be concerned about online reputation management. If you are already making through the internet, you should be concerned about the subject as well.
More and more people can now afford to use the internet. Consequently, your customers are also on the internet now, including the ones you did not treat or serve right. If your customers are treated right, they will probably say something nice about you online. But if they are not treated right and they feel hurt by your business, they will likely write something nasty about your business online. Studies have shown that dissatisfied customers are more vocal than satisfied ones.
Therefore, one of your most crucial duties as a marketer or a businessperson is to find ways to encourage your satisfied customers to “talk” about their satisfaction with doing business with you and make it available on the internet. At the same time, you have to find ways to handle the dissatisfied customer to ensure they do not write about their dissatisfaction on the internet.
To have a stellar reputation online, one will need to be conscious of what ends up on the internet about them. You need to have a foolproof online reputation management strategy.
To design an online reputation management strategy for your business, you need to do a few basic things. Let’s study some very pressing ones.
- Pre-ORM Strategy Search
- Google Alerts
- Google Maps
- Membership on various forums
- Well ranking web pages
- Nice website themes
Pre-ORM Strategy Search
When you first make up your mind to take your online reputation management serious, you have to search for yourself (or business) on the internet. The reason for this search is to find out where you currently “stand” in terms of what is known about you on the internet. This is actually you trying to find answer to the question “if I google you, what will I find?” If you find anything negative, there is no need to panic. Simply write it down with the link address and search for more. If you do not find anything, don’t be dissappointed. Its usually better to find nothing than to find something negative.
You can ask Google to inform you whenever your name or the name you are doing business with pops up on the internet. In that way, you get to know whatever people are saying about you online. It is very easy to set up. All you need is a Gmail account. Go to www.google.com/alerts and you will be walked through on what to do to start receiving alerts on any subject that concerns your business or online reputation.
You probably already know that blogging is important because of the traffic it can send to your website. That traffic can then be converted to buying clients. But blogging is also a very important tool for online reputation management. Blogging gives you the opportunity to engage in authority marketing. Authority marketing is simply using your expertise or affiliation to a recoginized/respected reference point to promote your business. Starting a blog for your business and updating same regularly can contribute immensely to your online reputation. It’s like hearing something from the “horse’s mouth”. Your blog can help to eliminate rumours and correct assumptions that can hurt your image or that of your business.
Having your own blog where you write relevant stuff about your business is great. But it is also great if other blogs write about you. You can achieve this through a variety of ways.
- The most common way is to inform the blogging community in your city of any significant matter that concerns your business. It is important to send them relevant photographs if applicable.
- Another way to do that is to actually write something and pay for that content to be published on another blog that has a large following. In some cases, the blogger will indicate that it is a “paid post.”
You may not have noticed but your online reputation is greatly boosted if your business can show on Google Maps when it is searched for. Showing on Google Maps results will greatly increase the number of businesses you get on a daily basis. Apart from that, it is a great tool for online reputation management because the perception a business that shows on Google Maps during a search gets is superior to the perception another business that doesn’t show gets. This is why all my businesses are on Google Maps.
Membership on Forums
The internet is full of forums. Look for the one that is most used in your country and have at least one account there. It pays for everyone in your marketing department to have accounts on the most popular fora sites in your country. When they are registering, they do not need to disclose that they have affiliations with your business. Whenever they need to post something about your business on the forum, it is important for them to write it as though they are not staffs of your firm. In that way, people will see what they post as independent opinions. That will inspire positive opinions from people who are not even on your payroll.
Membership on these forums will also be an avenue for your team to counter any negative comments while you are officially working on winning the customer’s heart to you.
Well ranking web pages
Your online reputation will be greatly enhanced if your webpages are ranking for keywords associated with your field. The fact that people can type their need on a search engine and find you on the first to second page will definitely affect how they relate with your brand. It will determine brand trust. Apart from that, it will bring new customers into your business on a regular basis.
So how do you make this happen? Ensure you learn how to handle SEO for your website. This is not something you outsource to someone else if you don’t know how to measure performance. It took me some time but I now know the subject well. The webpages of ALL my business websites rank well and I get businesses through them. Don’t trust your website designer to do this for you. I know SEO more than my website designer. Watch out. I will do a post on SEO in the next couple of weeks.
The more your webpages rank, the more you will become a trusted authority in your field.
Beautiful Website Themes
Having a great looking and easy to navigate website theme is important if your online reputation means anything to you. Therefore, ensure your website designer shows you various themes and pick the one that you think represents your brand best. Many website designers, especially those who are programmers still take pride in “designing from scratch.” It is not bad. But if they must design from scratch, they should use a model you show them. Personally, I always tell my clients to insist on WordPress. The reason for that, apart from the many other benefits of using WordPress, is the availability of variety of themes you can choose from.
A good looking website will contribute better to your online reputation management plan than a bad looking one.
Let me know what you think about this and how you are using it to improve on your online reputation. Kindly leave your comments below. You can also leave your questions down there. I will answer them all.