Life Happens Online
If you’re a farmer living deep in the hinterlands or a pioneer in a log cabin in the wilderness, you probably don’t need to worry about online reputation management. But if you take part in modern society, which is increasingly built around the Internet, you or your name is online.
When potential customers encounter a brand, the first place they’ll go to find more information about the company and its products is the Internet. What’s more, they’ll believe what they read there. Few people are critical enough to go beyond the first page of Google’s search results. If someone’s first impression of your business is a bad review or negative comment, they may not investigate further.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is everything online, especially on social media. Many people will check out a company based on what a friend says about it. A friend’s opinion carries much more weight than what can be found in Google’s search results. There are more and more online platforms for discussion popping up every day, which means more and more people are sharing information – both good and bad.
Negative content online can not only hurt your sales because of its negativity: it could also misrepresent you. If someone has a bad experience with your company because they don’t understand your products or policies, this could lead them to post something online that could then mislead others. Through online reputation management, you can set the record straight and set realistic expectations.
Someone out there could be violating your privacy. A disgruntled ex-employee could share private information about you or your company on the web for everyone to see. Someone may have posted a picture and revealed sensitive information to the world. ORM gives you control over what is out there about your business so that you can keep confidential information confidential.
Most online platforms monitor to make sure no one is violating their rules or the law, but it’s impossible to catch everything. If you monitor your own name or business’s name, you can eliminate content that’s inaccurate, libelous, offensive, confidential, or otherwise inappropriate. Otherwise, this content could have a devastating effect on your reputation.
Your Customers are Online
Even if your business is completely offline, which is a rare case these days, you still need to monitor your online reputation. What people say online can have a huge impact on your business offline. Even though your business is not online, your customers and potential customers are. You still need to monitor and control what’s being said about you.
Monitoring your online reputation can also give you valuable feedback on how your business is doing. You’ll see what people are saying about you, both positive and negative. Positive content shows you what your natural strengths are and what you’re doing right. Negative content shows you ways you can improve.
Opportunities for Growth
In fact, effectively handling negative content can give you opportunities that lead to more sales and customer retention. An angry customer gives you an excellent opportunity to show others that you listen to your customers and you care enough to engage with them and seek ways to improve your products and services. People would rather buy from a company that makes mistakes, but makes an effort to correct them, than a company that seems AWOL.
What Happens Online is There Forever
Finally, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what happens online is there forever for the world to see. And when that negative comment is sitting at the top of Google’s search results, it’s hurting your business. If you’re proactive in managing your online reputation, you can mitigate negative results and improve your brand’s image overall.