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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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