I heard a rumor about you.

I’m lying, my hearing’s not that good. I read your latest Facebook post!

So did most of your future customers.

Online reputation management sounds like the type of service you need if you’re running for president or launching the next iPad.

The truth is, if you’re trying to convince anyone to spend any sum of money on what you have to offer, you need help with your digital first impression. That includes taking the time to respond to all your Facebook comments like a well-rested customer service rep.

Here are five key facts you need to know about your company’s online presence:

It Determines the Success of Your Business

According to recent data, 97% of us use the internet to find a local business we need.

Do you have any idea what someone sees when they Google your business?

Your online reputation, flattering or not.

Every Yelp review and Google check-in, your company Facebook page, your website, and any articles written about your work will pop up first. Potential customers will quickly decide whether all these add up to your company being worth a visit.

94% of diners choose where they plan to eat by reading online reviews.

Imagine losing 94% of your customers because several nasty reviews were the first thing anyone saw of your business!

The first impression your online reputation makes better be mouthwatering.

Online Reputation Management Never Ends

There will always be reviews from customers coming in for as long as your business is open.

You can’t expect to spend one good afternoon replying to concerned comments on your company’s Instagram page and call it a day.

To properly maintain your online reputation, several things need to happen consistently:

  • Respond to all questions/comments in a timely manner. To do this, you’ll need someone to routinely monitor all of your review pages and social media accounts.
  • Craft all your responses professionally. The tone with which you respond to people online drives home the feeling of your brand.
  • Fight to take down unfair reviews and flag spam. Depending on the nature of the review and the site posting it, this could be a full-time job in itself.
  • Incentivize customers to leave great reviews. This might come in the form of a social media contest or an in-store discount for each Yelp check-in. Always concentrate on the platform that most of your traffic comes from.

This is why most businesses hire someone to manage their online reputation.

Every Website Counts

Folks researching at home will still find your company Twitter page even if most of your business comes from Yelp.

That’s why it’s so important you make a page for your business on every available website even if you don’t think it pertains to your work. At the very least, use the less relevant platforms like Pinterest to direct traffic to your website as often as possible.

Let’s take this one step further:

One of the best things you can do your company reputation is to claim all the domain names similar to yours—including the most common misspellings.

If your official site is www.THISSIDEUP.com, go ahead and pay for the .org and .net versions of this, as well as domains misspelled as THISIDEUP.

Taking this extra step prevents someone from pretending to be your brand on another platform to slander your name or steal customers. Plus, it makes it easy for anyone who misremembers your company website to find your real site anyway.

Once loads of people start finding your site, the real work begins.

You Are Going to Get Bad Reviews. Period.

People love to complain.

Sometimes it’s to get attention, to blow off steam, or for personal profit. In fact, there are people who make a living by leaving fraudulent reviews online.

This is worth mentioning right off the bat. Now that you know it’s coming, you’re ready to delete your website and change your company name as soon as anyone leaves a bad review, right?

Just kidding.

Actually, bad reviews can be good for your bottom line.

Bad reviews give customers a grasp of the worst-case scenario should they take a chance on your business or product. And in today’s internet-savvy era, customers know that too many enthusiastic reviews could mean someone’s paying for fakes.

Speaking of bad reviews…

You Can’t Remove Every Negative Review

…but you can resolve or remove a lot of them.

Sometimes, all a bitter client needs is some validation or a refund. Good business reputation management includes de-escalating problems like this in a professional way.

You can also strategize to have your best material show up at the top of most search results and push negative results off the first page of Google. Lucky for you, most people don’t look past the first page anyway.

A week’s worth of prevention is worth a decade of cure when it comes to negative reviews.

Some great ways to avoid getting negative reviews in the first place:

  1. Make your website and social accounts clear, concise, and easy to navigate so customers won’t feel misled.
  2. Provide excellent customer service both online and in person.
  3. Reward all types of feedback. This helps encourage as many genuine, positive reviews as possible.

Don’t Try This at Home

The most important thing to understand here is you don’t have to do all of this yourself.

It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be able to run an amazing business and defend yourself online when there’re only 24hours in a day.

Finding someone you trust to handle your online reputation management doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re making it easier than ever to get all-in-one rep management services with no long term contracts or hassle.

See you soon!