Whether you are just getting started with a business (online or off) or you have been around for decades, you need to be aware of your online reputation. These days, people can find out anything they want to know with an Internet connection. And most of them: customers, investors, employees and the like are looking at you online before they ever become a customer.
When people hear the term online reputation management or ORM, they may think it’s a passing fad, or they don’t need it. The reality is, even if you are not a small business owner, you may benefit from it as well. Think about what people would find if they looked for your name in a search engine. Results not so great? Then you need ORM.
What if I don’t see a problem?
If you do a quick search of your name or your business name in the search engines and you do not see anything negative within the first few pages of results, then you probably have a good online reputation. But, take it one step further. Look through social media websites. Look through review websites.
If you see something negative, then you need to deal with it. ORM can help you figure out the best possible way to handle the situation, without possibly making it worse. While you can do some things on your own, if you don’t handle them correctly, you could make the problem worse.
If you don’t see anything negative right now, that doesn’t mean you won’t later. The nature of business, regardless of industry, is that you simply will not be able to please everyone; no matter how hard you try. The Internet changes rapidly, and because there are no negative reviews today, doesn’t mean you won’t one tomorrow.
All it takes is one bad experience, and one upset customer to set off a chain of events that could wreck havoc on your business. By constantly monitoring the online chatter, you can see it as it happens or shortly thereafter. The faster you can respond to the situation, the easier it is to keep under control.
Should You Know What Customers Think?
How can I monitor my online reputation?
You can monitor your online reputation through a number of channels. You can:
- Set up a free Google Alert for your name or business name, so you get an email each time a new result is added.
- Claim your business profile on all the popular review websites. Keep the information up to date, and respond diplomatically to any negative comments or issues.
- Watch social media for mentions of your business name.
Monitoring your online reputation on your own can be time consuming. Professional ORM services can help you for a small fee, so that you know you are covered. This allows you to focus on tasks you are good at, and use your time most wisely to grow and expand your business.
Does my online reputation really matter?
Yes! What people see online about you or your business, defines how they feel about you or your business. If they see a bunch of reviews about terrible customer service, all without response from you, what incentive is there for them to spend money with you?
If you don’t think it matters, then you probably haven’t looked to see what people are saying about you. You could be sending business to your competitors without even realizing it.
The bottom line is that monitoring your online reputation is not just necessary; it is a smart business move. There is nothing that says you have to keep an eye on the online buzz, but it’s always a good idea.