In today’s digitally wired world, customers are increasingly turning to the internet to discover and interact with the businesses around them. With just a few clicks, taps, and swipes, your audience can quickly learn about your business by browsing online feedback across a broad number of social platforms.
Of course, offline reputation still has its place––but it’s clear that the paradigm has shifted. According to BrightLocal, 85% of today’s consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
As such, many businesses devote countless time and resources towards managing their brand online. Thankfully, online reputation management isn’t as stupefying as it once was. Today, there are numerous bullet-proof strategies that allow you to build and sculpt your business’s online identity with precision and ease––here are four of our favorites!
1. Optimize Your Online Presence
One crucial facet of improving your business’s online reputation is ensuring that your business is visible online to begin with. From the perspective of many consumers, a business with little-to-no online visibility is a business with little-to-no reputation.
Why? Well, surveys have found that as many as 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses through search engines like Google. And unfortunately, many businesses have their web pages buried under hundreds of other search results, making organic discovery unlikely. Worse yet, low search engine rankings might mean that your potential customers are choosing other, higher-ranking local businesses instead of you, due to improved online visibility.
However, by optimizing your online presence, you can assert your business or brand’s relevance and establish trust with your online audience right from the get-go.
Create A Professional-Grade Website & Optimize SEO
The first step is creating a professional and contemporary website for your business that captures the spirit of your products and/or services in a compelling, intuitively-designed manner. Your website should entice customers and make interaction seamless whether that involves booking an appointment or ordering a product. One of the biggest detriments to a business’s online reputation is a website that’s clunky and frustrating to navigate.
Once you’ve created an engaging, high-quality website for your business, it’s time to boost your page rankings and attract your audience! This is where SEO –– or search engine optimization –– plays a crucial role. By optimizing your web pages with SEO in mind, you can dramatically improve your rankings across search engines like Google and Bing, ensuring that your audience is directed effortlessly to your digital doorstep!
2. Engage Your Customers Online
Every tweet, comment, and post regarding your business isn’t a frivolous passing mention; it’s an opportunity to acknowledge your customers and demonstrate that you care.
Today’s most prominent businesses devote significant attention towards monitoring their brands online. In the last few years alone, big brands like Taco Bell and Wendy’s have gained widespread recognition for their witty and responsive interactions with customers via social media. To many, these ephemeral online interactions might seem like wasted time and energy –– but in today’s digital climate, tactful tweets and posts are anything but fruitless.
By remaining active and –– most importantly –– responsive on social media platforms, businesses can build online visibility and bolster their online reputation.
Answer The Call
Social review websites like Yelp and Facebook allow businesses to address detailed comments and criticisms from their customers. Meanwhile, social feeds like Twitter emphasize efficiency by allowing businesses to provide their customers with timely solutions in real time, minute-by-minute.
Because these interactions take place online, the nature of digital preservation gives each and every micro-interaction the ability to vouch for the quality and responsiveness of your brand. In time, these seemingly trivial online interactions across a wide range of social platforms can accumulate to strengthen, reinforce, and even repair trust in your business –– even if it was previously lost.
So the next time you see an unanswered online review or tweet – answer the call! The chances are that your business and brand will be better for it.
It’s Never Too Late To Build Your Business’s Reputation
If the internet isn’t already abuzz with reviews and ratings for your business, encourage your customers to share their experiences with you via online platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews. Research shows that 68% of customers will leave a local business review if asked, so the statistics are in your favor!
3. Implement A Queue Management System
Nobody likes waiting. Unfortunately, for both high and low-traffic brick-and-mortar businesses, wait times are a massive source of frustration for customers and can rapidly deteriorate the integrity of any business.
Regrettably, the internet is often the primary destination for many disgruntled customers looking to share their indignation with the world. The result? Angry tweets and posts that can cast your business in an unfavorable light, degrading your online reputation and even scaring off other potential customers.
When you run the numbers, the costs of customer service delays can be astronomical. Thankfully, the solution is inexpensive by comparison.
No Need To Play The Waiting Game
With a queue management system or QMS, you can circumvent the pitfalls of service delays by allowing your customers to wait outside the lines, rather than within them.
Instead of taking a number and standing idly in a line, a QMS empowers your customers by enabling them to either schedule an appointment ahead of time, or join a virtual queue via their phone, a website, or kiosk. Once they’re queued up digitally, you and your customers can also communicate by text or voice message, giving you the opportunity to relay updates and obtain feedback in real time.
When your business is nearly ready to serve your next customer, they’ll receive a friendly notification reminding them to return to your location. With a QMS, your customers can wait wherever they’d like while taking comfort in knowing that their position in-queue won’t be compromised or forfeited.
Build Your Business Reputation Around Prompt Service
By eliminating in-house wait times and boosting customer service efficiency, a QMS can drastically improve the overall quality of your customer experience. Your customers will love the convenience a QMS offers, and by respecting their time, they’ll be more willing to recommend your business to others –– leading to an improved online reputation.
As you might imagine, being associated with quick, timely service is always good for business!
4. Electrify Your Brand
It may seem obvious, but building excitement around your brand is one of the most powerful ways to improve your online reputation.
And yet, so many businesses seem to overlook this integral component of their operation –– not knowing that it’s one of the core tenets of success. You could be offering the world’s most revolutionary product or most exquisite services but if you can’t get people to care about your business, you’re at a definitive disadvantage.
In The Thank You Economy, entrepreneur and business author Gary Vaynerchuck touched on the importance of stoking the flames of passion in customers. In it, he wrote “…make [the customers] feel special, just like when your great-grandmother walked into Butcher Bob’s shop or bought her new hat … you need to make people who aren’t your customers wish they were.”
Stimulate Your Business With Strategic Social Media Content
Social media is a fantastic outlet for creating a “buzz” for your brand and, with the right strategies, you can simultaneously bolster your online reputation while electrifying your audience.
For starters, highlighting customer testimonials with carefully crafted social media posts is a great way to convert would-be buyers to loyal customers. Social media is a largely visual medium, so creating content that captures the full scope of your services through pictures, not words, can be particularly enticing to consumers.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
If you run a spa & sauna business, capturing the beauty and tranquility of your saunas with online photographs is much more compelling than merely offering sentence after sentence of description. Similarly, if you own a tattoo parlor, capturing the exquisite detail and refined artistry of your work with Instagram posts will surely stir interest in your services. The goal here is to create a desire for customer participation through idealized online representation.
There are no clear-cut rules for this strategy, and you’ll probably have to do some experimentation depending on the type of business you operate. However, because today’s social media platforms emphasize different forms of digital communication including text, photography, and video, your options certainly aren’t limited!
Today’s digital technologies give customers unprecedented access to information regarding the businesses around them. And although this “age of information” has empowered consumers, it has also complexified the task of reputation management for business owners.
However, like any new platform or paradigm shift, contemporary online reputation management simply requires a unique, focused approach. With the strategies we’ve outlined in this post, we hope you’ll be able to strengthen your business’s online presence and build your business to be bigger and better than ever!
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