What sets apart a successful entrepreneur from a struggling business owner with a bad case of indigestion? The answer is surprising: It is the professional’s ability to actively manage the company’s online reputation. With so many tasks already on the business owner’s plate, is it possible to take a dynamic role in online reputation management? The facts show that the clever use of social media actually makes the process quick, simple and doable on the fly.
1. Get the name out, before someone else does
The entrepreneur should list the business on Google Places, Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo Local and industry-specific online listing sites. This guarantees that the facts are correct and the business is represented well.
2. Monitor feedback & engage the audience
Bad reviews are a part of business. They provide significant learning opportunities for the entrepreneur. Engaging the critical poster — with politeness, compassion, humility and professionalism — underscores the business owner’s commitment to excellence. It turns a bad review into a showcase of customer service in action. Please note: Do not post anything while still yelling at the computer screen. Calm down first.
3. Be active online during the best of times
Social media calls for interaction. Respond to questions and suggestions. Actively solicit ideas from site visitors through tools like 4Q Surveys. Let them know what you had for lunch — and where you bought it. Offer incentives for customer involvement, run contests, post on blogs and offer freebies, such as recipes or coupons. The highly visible entrepreneur is more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt than the invisible business owner.
4. Hire a PR person
If the company’s online presence does not elicit any type of comment — good or bad — it is time to up the ante. Even bad press is better than no client or customer involvement at all. Hiring a freelance writer to draft blog posts, press releases and article marketing pieces makes it possible to get the business name out more consistently and to a larger audience. Why not try your own hand at a few blog posts as well? Check out these inspiration sources that will get the ideas rolling.
5. Get connected
Good customer service is only one piece of the business’ online reputation. Active community involvement, such as volunteerism, is another piece to the puzzle. Get connected with bloggers and other entrepreneurs who actively champion a local community group. Volunteer, donate or offer special discounts to organization members. Bloggers write about the business and its civic mindset. Now, the business is mentioned in the same breath as a reputable community organization or another civic-minded business.
It is clear that online reputation management does not have to be a time-consuming endeavor, as long as the efforts are targeted, individualized and consistent. Do it right, and it can be fun and good for business.
How can we help?
Is your online reputation safe? Not sure how to monitor or manage it?
We are the spectrum group, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your online revenue goals and how to achieve them.