There was a popular axiom in real estate in years past, “Location! Location! Location!” Indeed, a business could survive with just enough traffic from an excellent location. Word-of-mouth helped, but if you were in the right location with just mediocre reviews, you could still stay busy.
The internet began to change that, but smart phones were the real game changer.
Now, the device in your hand provides directions, access to reviews, and the ability to search the internet for your competition as a point of comparison. Customers may also look for certain features such as location, but that search is done in advance.
It’s in this landscape that reputation has become the new word, “Reputation! Reputation! Reputation!” You’ve learned to keep an eye on it through online reputation management. But that’s not enough. You need to continue to build that reputation.
Online Reputation Management Tips
The first step to online reputation management is self-management. You need to know what is being said about you and, preferably, by whom. Fortunately, the tools exist to monitor keyword activity for you on multiple platforms, providing data far beyond “googling yourself.”
With the existing reviews, comments, pages, etc about you out there, you have the opportunity to develop appropriate responses and to:
- Contact customers to ask about their experience
- Politely ask those with a positive experience to write a review
- Address and resolve any negative experiences
- Take suggestions to heart and make internal changes or corrections
All of these things will start to improve your reputation, but they are not enough. Building a better reputation involves moving forward.
The Building Blocks
If you’ve been reading about reputation management you’ve likely gotten familiar with the term SEO (search engine optimization). SEO has to do with the results when you do google yourself, or keywords associated with your business. Where do you fall in that lineup?
SEO, though, is just Google’s way of trying to mimic the real world. They want the most industry-relevant and useful information to come up first. If you keep that in mind, you can see where online reputation marketing comes in: every campaign should build your reputation the way word-of-mouth did in the pre-internet days.
Building those aspects of reputation is both a process of self-reflection and of promotion.
- You be you–What is your personal or company brand?
- Focus on your strengths–What do you do well?
- Improvement matters–How can you provide response and interaction forums for your customers, so they can voice concerns and get them addressed, but also tell you about positive experiences?
- Friends like friends–Social media is not going away. How can you utilize these resources to interact with the broader cyber community?
- People love info–Having useful infographics, videos, and written content gives customers and potential customers more bang for their buck and more opportunity to share your messaging.
These are just some of the keys to get started, building your reputation. Sure, it improves your SEO, but it also continues to establish you and your company as leaders in your field–whether that field is hospitality, car sales, a power company, or anything else, the same tools and tactics build up your reputation.
Then Keep Going
For better or worse, developing an online reputation also takes time. There isn’t a “one and done” solution for improving Google search results. Online reputation management is so much more than that–it’s being known, broadly enough to drive business, and for the things you want to be known for.
That takes consistency and persistence, but also internal cooperation. Get your entire team on board with continuing to build reputation, make it the normal routine.
That’s reputation management today.