What Is Your Online Reputation

Online Reputation: Know what you need to look after your brand

reputación online

Wondering what people think about your business?

Interested in using different media to improve your online reputation?

In this article you will learn how important it is to create a relevant digital footprint to gain the trust of your customers, let’s get to it!

Well, online notoriety determines how others perceive your business when they search for it or come across it.

Therefore, online reputation management proactively influences the information people will find.

For example, various techniques and strategies can help you push harmful and damaging content further down Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) by ranking your own or more desirable third-party material above it.

Why is this important?

Because the top five positions in Google’s search results receive approximately two-thirds of all clicks.

However, online reputation is not just about managing search engine content.

It is also about managing negative business reviews and encouraging satisfied customers to contribute more positive feedback.

online reputation data

Considering these statistics, the importance of your personal and professional online reputation cannot be underestimated. Here are the four different digital marketing channels involved in your digital footprint:

Channels to optimise your online reputation

Paid media

Paid media includes all marketing efforts that require payment to present your business on external websites and networks.

This includes PPC advertising with Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and sponsored posts on industry/influencer blogs.

Paid media expands your reach and drives traffic to your web properties by building new relationships with partners and customers.

Earned Media

Earned media describes coverage of your business on external web entities that you did not pay for.

It requires you to stand out from the competition with great content, products or services that users find worth sharing, mentioning, publishing and reviewing.

Social media

Social media pages and profiles are “an extension of your brand and create additional avenues for people to interact”.

When it comes to social properties, it is important to dedicate the resources to stay active on them by engaging in conversations and posting fresh content on a regular basis.

As a rule of thumb: don’t have a profile on a particular network.

It is better than having an inactive one.

Ownership properties

Your business websites and blogs are owned properties, which means you have full control over them.

Of course, the more properties you own, the better your chances of building your digital presence effectively.

 

Steps to building your online reputation

Here are 3 steps on how to use these digital marketing channels to start building and managing a healthy online reputation for your business.

1: Decide what you want your digital footprint to be

The first step is to decide what you want your notoriety to be – do you want to be perceived as an authority in the industry, adopt the position of market leader, or be known for your responsiveness and excellent customer service?

2: Assess your current status

You can start by determining what your real reputation is.

Ask your friends, family, customers, clients, partners and shareholders what comes to mind when they hear your company name: What do people think of you?

Does your digital presence match your reputation in your offline network?

Knowing this, list five tools to help you research and assess your online reputation.

3: Develop a social media policy to guide engagement that supports your branding objectives

The next step to building an A+ online presence is to have an effective social media policy.

Social media policy refers to how a company and its employees interact online.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when creating your digital footprint:

  • Do not allow staff members to freely post whatever comes to mind, particularly if the content is associated with your business.
  • One reason for this is to protect your reputation. The other reason is accountability. To keep it simple, you can ask your employees to label all their posts as “personal” or to create a pre-approval process for content, if necessary.
  • Sensitive data should never be shared with the public, including financial, legal and private client information.
  • A reputation is based on professionalism. This also applies to posting content on social media.

Some techniques to optimise your online reputation

Taking cues from a team of marketing experts, here are some of the best techniques that can help anyone manage their online reputation.

Create a presence on each and every web property

First and foremost the ORM technique, your company should already have at least Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. If you are in a highly competitive market, you definitely need to be active on social media channels.

If you have visually oriented products, I suggest you use Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr.

You can also create a great marketing presence through video sharing on sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

Always keep your responses positive

Make sure you always keep your responses positive, authentic and concise.

Thank your customer for positive feedback and respond to online complaints or bad reviews by considering that there may be some weaknesses in your process that need to be addressed.

Listen and engage

Try to listen and engage your customers. Being a businessman, I hope you know this quote, “The customer is king”. Listen to what the king demands and what he expects. By showing a genuine interest in their opinions, and experience, you can often resolve the issue without taking further action.

Never delete negative comments

Another important online reputation management technique. Business transparency is in high demand in today’s digital world and showing the timeliness of your response goes a long way to offset any negative comments or criticisms.

Really don’t delete comments and respond positively to them.

Try to apologise if necessary.

Invest

Reputation building requires an investment, both in time and money.

Most small local businesses are either ignoring proactive reputation management or are doing it themselves, with minimal expense, and as they need and as they have time to do it.

The bottom line:

Building and managing your online reputation means actively influencing the impression your business leaves on users.

The first step towards a solid reputation is to decide how you want your business to be perceived.

Paid media, earned media, owned assets and, most importantly, social media are channels that will help you shape your digital footprint.

But… What IS Online Reputation?

Your online reputation is made up of all the opinions generated by your company, creating a general perception about your business, its credibility, and its trustworthiness. Because the web provides a wide array of channels to make those opinions public, it is up to you to keep tabs on all the conversations happening that involve your brand.

The very first step in gaining a grasp on your online reputation is establishing boundaries, which is achieved by controlling the amount and type of information you make available. Remember that absolutely everything you do or post online leaves a digital footprint which can become permanent and have a lasting effect on your online reputation. Making sure your company is on top of its content generation process will be vital. This is true as much for businesses as it is for individuals.

Once the information is out there, though, the real work begins.

There are usually three main areas that impact your online reputation, with degrees of weight depending on the type of business:

  • Social media
  • Search results
  • Website comments/reviews

Understanding these three areas, monitoring them, and ensuring the process of communication in each is frank and effective will be the deciding factor when it comes to managing your online reputation.

Hold On. I Get It: People Talk. So What? Why Should I Care?

Because if people do not trust you, they will stop doing business with you. It really is that simple.

And what others say about you online, repeated enough times, will be perceived as true even if it is not.

Edelman’s Trust Barometer has consistently shown the weight search engines have on public perception, with trust for results through that channel ranking as high as 65% in 2019:

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Think about that. Search engines are toe to toe with traditional media. Given that visible trend, do you think those numbers will go down over the next few years?

And if you are thinking that because social media ranks low on that chart (though 43% is still a significant number), then think again. Social media still matters for your business for two very important reasons:

  • Conversations had about your brand can still reveal areas where your company is weak and can grow.
  • Matters brought up on social media have the potential to go viral, which, if negative, can deal your online reputation the kind of damage that takes years to recover from.

Finally, do not underestimate the power of comments and reviews, which several prospects point to as influential in their eventual decision of whether or not to proceed with a purchase or business. In fact, according to BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey, 68% of users said that positive reviews are more likely to make them buy a product.

Numbers do not lie. By now it should be clear that proper online reputation management is necessary to stay ahead of your competition or even stay afloat, depending on the situation.

Need to elevate your brand identity?

So, What Can I Do To Help My Online Reputation?

Once proper controls and measures are in place to effectively filter your online actions and the information you generate and promote, the actual work of managing your online reputation comes into play.

Social Media

Social media is all about the conversations being had with or about your company. This means that the key to success in managing your online reputation is effective and timely communication.

So, first things first, you need an active social media presence. Having one will make it easier to monitor those conversations, to respond quickly, and to create a loyal audience that is both interested in what you have to say and that feels valued enough to trust it. Even if other sources claim otherwise.

Here are some best practices you may want to keep in mind:

  • Always be true to your voice
  • Be transparent and sincere
  • Respond politely and in a timely manner to any comments, good or bad. This one is important. Never, ever lose your temper if you feel offended or attacked. An overreaction could lead to more negative attention, which would spell disaster for your online reputation.
  • Be consistent with your generation of positive and key messages

If you stay on top of social media conversations, you will be among the first to learn if something is going wrong and fix it, which will prevent further damage down the line.

Search Engines

Search engines now enjoy as much credibility as traditional media in terms of the information found and how trustworthy it is, which means using Google to look up your company is a very effective way of measuring your current online reputation.

The real challenge here is the fact that search engine results can in fact be manipulated, which means your company better have an impressive SEO strategy in place to stay ahead of any potentially negative exposure and to properly manage crises should they arise.

Much like any proactive content marketing campaign you may be engaged in, it is important to remain proactive and consistent with the generation of material in order to conquer search engine results.

Comments/Reviews

When it comes to comments or reviews, there are two main types:

  • Sincere opinions, which reflect what users or customers honestly feel about your services or products
  • Insincere attacks, which are created specifically to damage your reputation

You can usually tell these two types apart by the quality and detail of what is written or said. Attacks are usually repetitive and short, because they are only there to bring your numbers down. The best way to deal with the latter is to report them. Review websites are often good at filtering out bots or posts that are clearly meant to damage online reputations. If it is happening on your own website, you can clear them out yourself, though be absolutely sure they are indeed attacks or you might risk conveying that your company wants to silence critics.

In the case of honest reviews, the key is to listen/read. If these users had issues with your business, this is an opportunity to address them, show them you care, and learn from their feedback in order to improve your own quality of service.

Again, never lose your temper and remember that the best way to squash negative perception is to show people you respect their opinions.

Online reputation management can be tricky business, which is why it should be taken seriously. How others perceive you will define how they interact with you, which is quite important if you are a business looking to grow your customer base.

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