Building and managing an online presence is a must in the modern business world. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur running a consulting business, a local restaurant with 20 employees, or a big brand like Nike, your online reputation can make or break you.
Information moves at the speed of light. Being able to identify and track perceptions surrounding your business will help you take a proactive approach to maintain your image.
Here are six practical tips for managing your online reputation to guide the process.
Monitor Your Reviews
Online reviews are one of the most important assets when it comes to managing your online reputation. Consumers often rely on customer reviews when making a purchasing decision. This simple form of social proof reassures new customers that it’s worth parting with their hard-earned money.
Keep track of your online reviews and respond accordingly. Know that negative reviews aren’t all bad; they offer an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and showcase your customer service skills. However, it’s also important to deal with them effectively and have any false reviews removed. If necessary, consider working with a reputation management service to protect and repair your internet reputation.
Audit Your Accounts
The content you share online may not age well over time. Address and remove any content that your audience could later view as inflammatory or out of touch. Many businesses ran into this problem at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-scheduled content was posted automatically and often contained messages that seemed insensitive or irrelevant given the events.
It’s also important to look at the activity on your accounts to determine where your business is falling short. If your company hasn’t posted regularly on social media accounts or missed important comments or queries, it’s time to readdress your strategy. Maintaining a social media presence is an effective way to manage your reputation proactively.
Set Clear User Policies
Many small businesses lack written policies surrounding social media and internet use as it pertains to the workplace. However, developing user policies is well worth the investment.
Set user policies about what is and is not acceptable when posting online, both from a business account and personal accounts that speak for the business. There’s controversy surrounding an infringement on rights and public speech on one’s personal social media page. Having a written policy in place about online conduct and representing the brand is a must for maintaining an online reputation.
Use Social Listening
Social listening is the act of observing what people are saying about your brand, products, and employees online. You can use tools to monitor both direct tags and indirect mentions. For example, if someone posts on Twitter about your product but doesn’t tag your brand, the right tool can alert you to this occurrence.
Social listening is a fantastic way to get an unbiased view of how people perceive your company. You can also use social listening on the internet at large with Google alerts to notify you if someone mentions your brand on a blog, news article, etc.
Create an Action Plan
Develop an action plan for addressing both positive and negative reviews and comments online. Having a clear set of steps in place prevents rushed or panicked responses, allowing you to maintain control of the narrative. Cinnamon Toast Crunch learned this the hard way with the shrimp tail debacle.
It’s especially important to consider how you’ll deal with any negative backlash and how you’ll redirect those conversations.
Learn the Art of Apologizing
Finally, know when to take ownership and apologize for your mistakes. There is an art to apologizing so that you’re validating a customer experience without necessarily taking blame. It’s essential to know when to take each approach.
With these six practical tips, you can implement the necessary tools and protocols for managing your online reputation.