We all participate in gossip and know how it affects a person’s reputation. However, what is not often realized is how essential online “gossip” may be for a company’s reputation. With the rise of internet usage to discuss all things, we have seen a lot of how this type of gossip plays out. On a personal level, it may affect what colleagues or peers think about you based on what is posted on websites like Facebook. This can range from losing a potential job offer due to a bad image online, or it can stem into the cyber-bullying trend that is emerging. But how does the use of the internet affect a business’s reputation?
Businesses can be discussed through social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. Some companies might not even be aware about what is being said about them. This leads to our first big question…
Are people using social media to talk about your company?
Before you finish your workday, find the answer to this question for yourself. Go on Twitter and Facebook and search for your company’s name. Make sure to try typing it a few different ways, as internet users may not be using the perfect spelling or grammar when typing in your brand name (i.e. Coke for Coca-Cola). Try to determine if the information on these social media sites goes along with the image your company is trying to convey. Taking a few minutes to do a basic search can provide some very eye-opening results. Are people complaining about your customer service? Then you are now aware of a problem that needs to be resolved, both internally and externally. It is necessary when finding a negative statement on a social media website to first, try to take the source into consideration (is this an actual customer with a real bad experience, or is this an anomaly?). It is important to address the comment with the staff that may be involved so that future negative interactions can be avoided, but it is also a nice touch to reach out to the person who made the comment. Talk to your customer service department about starting an out-reach program to dissatisfied customers that you find through your search. What can we learn about their bad experience, and how can we attempt to resolve their issue?
As you may be aware, there are also many opportunities for consumers to leave reviews online in regards to their recent purchases or experiences. Although there is no way to validate many of these reviews, people read them and take them into consideration when making a decision about what they are going to buy. For example, someone may use a search engine to find information about a local restaurant. When the results appear, there are many bad reviews stating that the wait staff was rude and the food was unappealing. Even one review of this nature can sway a potential customer to choose not to go to that restaurant, but instead go to a competitor. This leads us to the second question that you need to answer today…
Are there reviews about your company posted online?
To discover the results about your reviews, go to the common search engines and type in your company’s name. Sometimes reviews pop up that easily! However, there are other forums that people use to leave reviews. Websites such as Angie’s List and Yelp allow customers to review their recent experiences and advise others on if they should or should not make a similar purchase. It is critical to keep in mind that an unhappy customer is much more likely to speak out than a content customer. Even companies with the best customer service procedures cannot avoid having the occasional dissatisfied client, and unfortunately, these people are the most likely to post reviews online. Think about your own experiences…Are you more likely to complain about an experience that really upset you or recommend to a friend a company that did their job correctly? The majority of the time, people gossip about negative things. These negative remarks can greatly impact your company’s reputation online, so it is critical to find them and create a plan to deal with them.
Why must you answer these two questions today? One reason is because if you do not, you risk having even more negative feedback on the internet tomorrow. Furthermore, the longer that your company has a bad reputation online, the longer than potential customers are going to see that information when making their decision on whether or not to buy from your company. If you do not do your research and discover how your company is perceived by current, previous, and potential customers, how will you know what your reputation is like? More importantly, you need to find these two key things out about your company so that you can protect yourself through the use of a reputation management service.
Reputation management is a popular internet marketing strategy that allows professionals to help you with this gossip in the form of social media posts and online reviews. Many internet marketers offer reputation management services and can help you improve your reputation, no matter what shape it may be in. It is important to consider reputation management not only if you are perceived poorly online, but it is crucial to the people who have no reviews or social media mentions too. Do you want no one to be talking about your company? That in and of itself creates a reputation…if no one is mentioning your company online, it can make it look unpopular and mediocre.
If you aren’t fully sure of how to find the answers to these two necessary questions, then you can use a free online tool provided by RCBryan and Associates. This tool allows you to simply input your company’s phone number and it finds the reviews and visibility of your website for you. Based on this report, you can make a decision in regards to your reputation management needs. Get access to this free report at http://www.rcbryan.com/local-reputation-report and get started answering these two questions before you leave work today. Remember that gossip spreads fast but has a limited audience; however, online reviews and social media remarks have an unlimited audience and can be visible to the entire market for years. Don’t let your company’s reputation get damaged without you even being aware—get your free report and answer these questions today.