Entering an Online Era
We have now entered an age where almost everything is run predominantly online. Whether you’re catching up with friends, shopping for deals, or reading news, chances are that you’re doing it online. That’s because you can find almost anything that you need on the internet. This is something that is changing the world and how brick-and-mortar stores do business. In order to be seen as a contender in the business world, you need to make your online presence known. That’s where all the people are, and therefore, that’s where all the money is. More eyes on your business online mean that you’ll need to do a better job of managing your online reputation.
Importance of Getting Your Business Noticed
Your online presence for business is sink or swim. Your online presence is how potential consumers learn about who you are and what you have to offer. When someone is seeking out a service, the first thing they typically do is look online. Small business experts agree that If information about a particular business isn’t readily available, they’ll skip it. For example, if you run a car repair business, you’ll want to create a page that lists all the services your business offers in great detail. When someone is looking for a specific service like an oil change, they will click one of the first few results in Google. They’ll expect to know hours, location, and deals offered. Your business needs to make sure they have all those pertinent facts listed in order to get noticed. You also need to be available from every angle. As strange as it may sound some people use social media like Facebook to see if a business is credible. You could have a great website, and even have it linked to Google or other services, but if you’re not connected and active on social media, you’re leaving money on the table.
Interact with Customers
Getting noticed online is only half the battle. You’ll want to make sure that your online reputation is flawless. That’s because people put a lot of stake into what others say online. If your business gets even one negative review, and it’s not obviously addressed by you or your company, someone might decide to go somewhere else. They want a business they can trust, one that is being talked highly about, and one that has great reviews to back up their claims. In order to make sure that you’re keeping a handle on your business’s online reputation, you’ll want to interact with customers. You can do this by responding to their messages, commenting on the things they share, and creating conversations about the services your business offers. When a consumer feels like you’re valuing them as a person and not as a customer, they’ll be more likely to patronize your business.
Respond to Negative Reviews Head On
You can’t please everyone. It’s how you deal with a negative review that makes all the difference. Leaving a customer’s negative review on the internet without acknowledging it is a horrible idea. That’s because just one person can see that and take it at face value. People tend to trust their peers (even if they don’t know the person), and they love reading online reviews. Not only that, but according to many reputation managers, “the whole world can instantly hear half-truths and complete lies. On average, someone only needs to be told something three times before they believe it.” Instead of sweeping something under the rug, acknowledge it head on. If there was a problem, even if it was out of your business’s control, you still need to take ownership. Show other customers that you’re doing what you can to make it right. Ask the person who posted the negative review to contact you so you can help fix whatever went wrong. Potential consumers love to see a business showing that it cares about its customers.
Be a Voice in the Community
The best way to keep tabs on your company’s online reputation is by being a proactive member of the community. No matter what business you run, you can interact with community members in a variety of ways. If you see there’s a local event or craft fair posted online, chime in if you’re going to be there. If you see someone posting a need for a service, recommend your business. If you see someone who had a bad experience at a different shop, offer your services to help them out. These are just small ways that won’t just help you get noticed, it’ll also help people leave positive reviews about your business.
Share, Create Viral Content
In order to make the most out of your company’s online presence, make sure you’re utilizing all social media channels. This means having a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest page. Once you have those up and running, you’ll want to create viral content. This will help get more eyes on your page which in turn means more people will have the chance to leave positive reviews. When your business shares something that’s going viral, you’ll then know that it’s a post you’ll need to follow up and create more content like it. This article discusses, “interviews, guests posts, collaboration, and reviews are all easy and effective ways to get your foot in the door of content creation.” Try finding content that adheres to your business principles. This will help you gain more followers who could potentially be customers.
When your first starting out in building your company’s online reputation, you’ll want to post often without overdoing it. You can post several times throughout the day before people think you’re overdoing it and unfollow you. Do your research on the best practices of posting online, a post at 2 AM for the majority of your clients isn’t going to help them as much as a post around the time they’re getting off work. Just remember when you’re posting that you want to be posting things that either relate directly to your business or that other people will find interesting. If you want to get more followers, consider posting a small contest monthly if not weekly. That’s a great way to get people to invite their friends and family who may love the services you have to offer. Someone only needs to be told something three times before they believe it. That’s why it’s key to keep up with posting.
The Importance of Forming Relationships with Guests
Overall, you want to form positive connections with long-time customers and potential consumers. Those are the people who will support your business through thick and thin. In order to build these relationships, you need to manage your online reputation effectively. That means thanking consumers for positive reviews, responding to the bad, and showing all customers that you appreciate their business. By showing that you care about the community you serve, you’ll find your business getting better reviews. There is a balance between running a business in the real world and monitoring what is said about it online. You need to pay attention to both to be successful.
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