There is perhaps nothing more important to a business nowadays than its online reputation. The world is one huge digital place nowadays and it is very easy for people to find out information about a company, including its reputation. So easy, in fact, that almost 70% of people read them before deciding to shop somewhere or not.
Unfortunately, however, the internet is also a place of rumors, often fake. For instance, KFC was told by the FDA that their food wasn’t made of real chicken, so they had to change their name. Snoop Dog has died. Drinking Mountain Dew affects your genitals. Outrageous as they may seem, they are out there and everyone has heard about them, and they have had a negative impact on the brand.
Clearly, having an online reputation management strategy in place is incredibly beneficial, because it helps to avoid people believing nonsense that is put out there about you.
Pros of a Reputation Management Strategy.
- You can increase your customer satisfaction. When you learn what your current reputation is, you can also address the genuine complaints and improve your overall service.
- You can increase your brand awareness. If you make sure your positive reviews are found on the first page of the search engines, then your customers will start to know and trust your brand.
- You maintain value for shareholders. If you know the good, but also the bad, that is being said about you, then you also make sure that your shareholders and stakeholders continue to have trust in you.
- You improve your public relations. This is because you gain a greater understanding of who is influencing your brand.
- You learn and understand. While it isn’t nice to be targeted by an outrageous rumor or vicious lie, it does tell you that someone has noticed you. Perhaps for all the wrong reasons, but this is something that you need to explore.
- You can become defense and reactive. If you have a good strategy in place, you will know about it the second a negative review is posted about you, enabling you to address it straight away.
- Lower your marketing cost. When people leave reviews about you on other sites, they are effectively engaging in online marketing for you. You can take advantage of that.
- Spot gaps. You can find gaps because of the negative comments people leave, for instance. But you can also spot gaps in customer service or marketing because you weren’t previously aware of the various stories out there about you.
Everybody has a reputation and your role is to make sure that it is a good one, as this will attract more customers to your business. This is something you must actively engage in, because while it may take years to build up a good reputation, it takes just a single bad comment to completely destroy it. Reputation management is about avoiding bad comments, but also about addressing them if they do happen.