Your brand is only as good as its reputation. As a small business, it’s crucial that you curate and protect that reputation. It’s how your customers see you, talk about you, and think of you. You don’t have to look very hard to find examples of how bad online reviews and negative social media have affected a company. So keeping a close eye on your online reputation management is absolutely crucial to your company’s success.
Here’s Where Your Online Reputation Management Can Start:
Social Media Monitoring: An Absolute Must
Social media is key to online reputation management and if you’re not already engaging in some level of social media monitoring, you should be. It’s the best way to keep an eye on what’s happening with your brand, your competitors, and what people are saying about you. Hootsuite makes this extremely simple with search streams, which allow you to watch brand and product mentions in real time. Anything that’s said about your company— good or bad—can be observed in real-time, which gives you ample time to take action. This also allows you to take social media engagement to new heights, since it’s much easier to meaningfully connect with people when they’re actually talking about you.
On Google: Regularly Google Your Business
Like, every single day. Online reputation management means keeping your eye on online reviews everywhere. Know what’s being said about you in places like Yelp, YouTube, blogs, and other review sites. And if something unflattering appears, you have the opportunity to do something about it before the situation gets out of hand.
Online Reputation Management Means Put the Fire Out Quickly
Let’s say you find a bad online review about your organization (it happens all the time). If you’re a small business, it’s going to sting. Do not take any course of action until you’ve established what actually happened. Investigate the situation–there’s always a chance that the complaint was legitimate. If that is the case, apologize and do what you can to correct the situation. You can right a wrong. And doing it publicly can actually improve your image more than if nothing had happened at all.
An Ounce of Prevention: Create a Social Media and Content Strategy
A solid social media strategy and content strategy can bring your brand to life and drown out the less flattering comments in the process.
Be active on social.
In addition to allowing you to address any negativity as it comes to you, having an active Twitter, Facebook, Google+ Page, and LinkedIn Page helps you rise in Google’s rankings. When someone looks for your company online, they’ll first see your active social networks, which means they’re far likely to look for more information there.
Start a blog.
And write for it often. Have employees contribute. Talk about your industry. Help people in your industry through it. Become a thought leader. Or at the very least, create something that shows you care about what you do. In addition to supplementing Google’s search results (and pushing negative results further down the page), a blog gives you and your brand a platform on which to share ideas with existing and potential clients, customers, and industry peers, as well as build an engaged audience.
Finally, relax: A bad review isn’t as bad as you think.
The best vegan restaurant in the world isn’t going to appeal to everyone. And that hot boutique shop can’t afford to have more than 3 people on staff, despite how busy it gets on Saturday. Bad reviews, tweets, and other social posts are going to happen, no matter how good your organization is at what it does. What matters is that the good outweighs the bad, and valid criticism is being addressed quickly, and with sympathy and sincerity. Hootsuite makes managing your online reputation easy, so you can take action before you have a PR crisis on your hands. It also provides you with ample tools for social media engagement, so you can build your brand and a healthy, active following. Social media is not only a great way to engage with potential customers, it’s quite possibly the most powerful PR tool available to businesses, large and small. Hootsuite’s social media monitoring capabilities make it super easy to keep a very close eye on what people are saying in real time.
Your online reputation management can start with Hootsuite Pro!