Online Reputation Management for Small and Medium Businesses
In this age of computer and information technology many of the normal business activities take place online. Prior to the purchase of any product or service, many buyers check on the internet to review the feedback given by other consumers about the product (as well as the reputation of the company in the market). People are more enthusiastic to communicate online in today’s world and they actively participate in various online forums, blogs, review sites and social media. As a result, they get ample opportunities to express or post their comments, criticisms, grievances, suggestions and opinions. If someone posts any negative content it can trigger a series of far reaching consequences with other potential clients or customers. The reputation of even large organizations that are well established in the market can suffer negative impact from this type of user generated content. Online Reputation Management is a vital concern for the owners of small and medium businesses because any negative postings or comments will affect their brand image and ultimately harm their business.
SEO and PR
Two fundamental aspects of online reputation management (ORM) involve acquiring good search engine optimization and building good public relations practices. One or both of these key tasks is where many small and medium businesses fail to protect their reputation. Many potential customers on the internet prefer to wait to do business with a company or buy their products until they read about the company on Google. Any negative comment or posting found there will likely divert the customer to other companies. In order to ensure a positive image and branding, businesses should continuously monitor their online search results and remove negative, misleading, outdated and wrong content. In many cases, a good online reputation management campaign will also result in various other benefits such as:
- More visits to the website by the target audience
- Higher ranking on major search engines
- An unassailable brand image
Prime Concern to People’s Voice
It is unrealistic in today’s marketplace for businesses to expect their customers to be passive. Communication has dominated everywhere and now people have easy and powerful ways to express their views. The days are over when marketers were limited to only targeting local prospects using methods such as brochures, phone book, and newspaper ads. The internet provides another venue for the companies to conduct business on a local as well as global scale. Company websites are able to provide user generated content. People from all over the world can talk about any business regardless of their size. When a new product is launched in the market, many comments could be posted on the blog of the company website. Some of the customers might opt to tweet about the product or post their views on Facebook. No business (regardless of their size) can afford to ignore people’s comments, reviews and suggestions. In order to be successful in online reputation management, businesses should be ready to:
- Welcome feedback from customers and act upon any comments or concerns
- Be open to criticism and address the same publicly
- Ensure social media monitoring and gather public content online to check whether any negative reports or remarks spoil the reputation of the company
If you have any questions about how you or your company can improve and protect your reputation feel free to contact us here for more information.