People are talking about your business. They are going to tweet about you, review you on Yelp, write about you on Facebook, leave their thoughts on Google, and email all of their friends about you. Do you know what they are saying? Sure, their personal emails are going to be out of your purview, but the rest of it isn’t.
All of those reviews, tweets, posts, blogs, articles, etc contribute to form your online reputation. Monitoring that reputation is important. Why?
Reviews can provide you with valuable feedback that will help you build your business. Complimentary reviews tell you what you’re doing right. Complaints tell you where you need to improve. To your consumers, compliments are reasons to patronize your business while complaints are reasons to run away (perhaps even screaming while they do so).
It is important that you know what they are saying so that you know how to make your business more palatable to people.
You know how when you start to type something into Google, the Google algorithm provides you with potential searches (presumably to save you valuable typing time)? The options given to you by Google are determined by an algorithm that keeps track of keywords and the rate at which people search for them.
The most popular searches get listed in that dropdown menu. The last thing you want is, when you type in your business name, to have the options Google gives include words like “sucks,” “scam,” “terrible,” “hate,” or things of that ilk. You want to see words like “awesome,” “great,” “fantastic,” or “amazing.”
Monitoring your reputation helps ensure that you’re more likely to get the positive adjectives than the scary bad ones.
Maintenance is easier than rebuilding
It is far easier to maintain a good reputation than it is to completely repair one that has gone sour. By practicing good reputation management, you’ll be able to address any negative reviews or feedback when they happen instead of letting them stagnate until you have the time to Google yourself to find out what people are saying.
Why is this important?
Customers want to feel valued. Negative feedback usually isn’t posted lightly, and customers want to know that they are being taken seriously.
You already know how important it is to take all feedback seriously. You know that it is important to look into every complaint or piece of negative feedback that comes your way. If you aren’t monitoring your reputation, you could go online one day to find out that dozens of people have left the same complaint or, also bad, that dozens of people have left different complaints that you now have to work on all at the same time.
Letting those complaints pile up before addressing any of them makes it look like you simply do not care what people think of you or your business!
The Internet is a big place. Once upon a time, the only testimonials that got published about a business were those posted on the business’s own website. Today there are hundreds of different review sites that people can utilize to tell the world what they think of your business, your products, and even you! Monitoring your online reputation helps you stop problems before they start. It helps you ensure that your business is portrayed in the best possible light.
Don’t forget, though: The most important part of online reputation management starts with giving good service and eliminating the chance that people will feel the need to complain in the first place!
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer who is confident about her online reputation and writes about a variety of topics for a range of websites including Reputation.com.