Online reputation management – Key to local SEO marketing

The time has come for every business to seriously consider the importance of their Online reputation. Do you really understand the power that customers have when they interact with social media?

Over the last 10 years, the usage of social media has exploded. Now more than 80% of people are using more than one social media platform to interact with family, friends, colleagues or businesses. Now more than ever people feel comfortable expressing their experiences and views online, so you can’t afford to ignore your online reputation.

It is estimated that 92% of people trust the views of their peers over brand marketing when considering a new purchase. This means that your online reputation may bring consumers closer to your business, but also may push them towards your competitors if you don’t have an effective online reputation management strategy in place.

An effective strategy employs a process of monitoring relevant online mentions and reviews that take place relating to a business’ services, products, and employees. Research shows that 86% of consumers hesitate to purchase product or services from a business with negative reviews. How is your online reputation affecting your business?

Below are four things to consider regarding your online reputation management:

1. Your current online reputation

Analysing your existing online reputation begins with researching what is being said about you online. Remember, we aren’t just talking about search engines, you need to also consider social media, blogs and review websites, including previous campaigns, hashtags and social handles. Basically, you want to record anything that exists on the web which can be easily found by consumers.

2. What works best

Decide which social media platforms or review websites give you the best chance of improving your online business reputation. Things to consider are:

  • Creating more content – content that is based on facts will dilute negative comments, while also giving your supporters more information to comment on.
  • Listen and learn to what people are saying about you online. This will generate an understanding of the most effective ways to improve your online reputation.
  • Are your existing marketing efforts enhancing your online reputation or is it time to switch your focus to a productive media platform?
  • Initially start with a focus on one platform, but if you don’t feel like you’re targeting the right audience, you can expand your reach.

With the vast array of social media, blogs and online forums available there are endless opportunities for you to test your online reputation strategies. Remember the key thing is to make a start and refine your methods over time, crafting your online reputation as you go.

Social listening tools also offer you with valuable insights on how your brand’s reputation can be improved.

3. Creating an online reputation strategy

An online reputation strategy should include fresh new content, targeted platforms and focused opportunities, but the key is to always involve the community while enhancing your online presence.

In the world of SERPs new and relevant content will always help your website rankings, but it is also a key driver of pushing down the rankings of any negative content. So include regular content creation into your strategy and go about actively promoting your business with the focus to becoming an authoritative business in your niche.

It’s important to ensure that you claim and maintain your local online listings (Yelp, My Business in Google, Facebook, Google+ and more). This ensures that your business is represented properly online and is easily accessible by consumers via the most popular online platforms.

A smart strategy uses customers to promotion your online reputation by encouraging them to post reviews and testimonials. The key is asking for their assistance at the right time in your sales process and generally offering a small reward such as a discount may also be needed to compensate them for their time. Would you consider offering a small discount to improve your online reputation and possibly even to increase your rankings?

It’s important to show your customers that you value their positive reviews and testimonials, so sharing their comments in your new content and marketing strategy is a good idea.

But what about when you get a negative review? Never delete it, or try and hide from it. Facing a negative comment head on proves that you value everyone’s opinion, good or bad. This is your opportunity to listen to your customers and show them that you’re ready to improve their experience.

4. Building online presence

So it’s time to start building the process. The creation of new content should be done regularly by both you (updating information on website listings) and your customers (by encouraging new reviews and testimonials).

Once you’re actively monitoring your brand’s online presence, you will be well prepared to focus your attention on any new situation that may need arise. It’s best to be prepared and proactive with a “listening” brand, so utilise the automated monitoring tools that may notify you when new comments appear and can help facilitate this process.

Now you know the importance of having and building a good online reputation and how beneficial it can be for customer service. Remember a good strategy will give you a great overview on anything involving your brand or employees. You will know what action to take when reacting to a review and have a plan to manage a crisis should it appear.