In the digital age, businesses are finding that their online reputation is becoming more important. Thousands of people in the United States own a device that connects to the Internet, whether it’s a smartphone, computer, tablet, or television set.
The Internet allows the general public to research restaurants, services, events, and more with the greatest of ease. The public court of opinion is constantly buzzing, and social networks add fuel to the fire.
It began when Trip Advisor and other similar sites allowed travelers to review locations, airlines, and hotels. People could leave scathing opinions or positive rants about various aspects of their journey.
Soon, others traveling to the same area read the reviews and altered their plans accordingly. Obviously, reviews snowballed from there.
The point? If you’re not monitoring your online reputation, how do you know what people are saying? How do you improve your brand?
First, find out the state of your reputation. Dust off your company’s mission statement and research whether the public actually agrees with the set of values.
Bring past and current customers into the fold and immerse them in the product creativity process. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you open your entire company to the public, but it does mean that you become as transparent as possible. Recognize a customer’s potential idea, ask for opinions about current products, and be open to negative feedback.
Negativity is part of the risk when engaging customers over social media or gauging their opinion of your company. Understanding where your online reputation stands means celebrating the compliments and learning from the complaints.
If you remember one thing from this blog post, it’s this: Do NOT ignore or hide from negative comments.
(Go back and read that sentence again.)
Engage the complaint and fix it as quickly as possible. When you join the online conversation, it proves that you are part of the team and are listening. Generally, that’s what most customers hold to the highest regard. Ignore them, and they will ignore you.
Rinse and Repeat
Monitoring your online reputation, particularly on social networks, is an ongoing process. One day’s opinion could greatly differ from the next. Plus, a company must keep the conversation going. Join discussions within your industry to learn more about good practices and find inspiration. There’s no better place to cultivate great ideas and ask questions than of your peers.
Sure, they are the competition, but they might be able to give insight that no general customer could present to your company. The sense of rivalry yet camaraderie can be a perfect boost for your company.
Laura Burkey is a freelance writer who blogs for various websites, including Business.com.