The Internet has given a bigger voice to your average consumer than ever before. In today’s online world, reputations are no longer carefully crafted and managed by advertising departments. Instead they are developed through ratings websites such as Yelp and posts on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Because anyone can leave a review of your business at any time, and for any reason, it is impossible to control all of your reviews. A one-time mistake, or a small oversight, can quickly snowball into a campaign against your business. However, there are steps you can take to improve your overall reputation.
How Your Online Reputation Affects You
We have all seen examples of websites and social media being used to instantly increase a company’s sales and visibility, and we have seen an equal number of scenarios in which one ill-advised blog post or comment on social media have effectively destroyed someone’s business. Because the public exerts such a high level of influence over your reputation, managing your online reputation is crucial. When your business receives positive reviews, it will make people want to know more about the services you provide, and that will be your chance to potentially begin your next positive interaction, and you can also use ratings websites as free advertising by directing your customers to them.
Your Image is Your First Priority
Social networking has given a highly visible platform to anyone with access to a computer, so damage control is much more difficult than it once was. Long after an incident that has caused harm to your reputation has ended, reminders such as blog posts, Facebook posts, and Tweets will live on in cyberspace, and they can pop back up at any time. It’s important for customers to feel that they can count on your products and that the money they have given to your business was not wasted. Once a negative buzz begins, it can easily spiral out of control, as thousands of business owners have learned the hard way.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
It’s natural that when you see negative reviews, you’ll want to delete them, but on most ratings websites that is not possible. If you want to steer public influence in your favor, it’s important that you do everything to use both positive and negative reviews in your favor. Negative reviews can be used as an opportunity to let your customer service skills shine. Let the public see how quickly and efficiently you handle problems and how much you are willing to do to make things right. Responding to the negative reviews with positive actions will help the public to feel confident about giving their money to you.
How to Use Social Media to Improve Your Reputation
In order to improve your online reputation, you will first need to know what is being said about you. You can do this by searching search engines such as Google and social media websites for hashtags and key terms that are related to your business. Once you develop a thorough understanding of what the critical issues are, whether it is poor quality products, lackluster customer service skills, or a social or political gaffe committed by you or one of your employees, you can begin to do something to remedy the situation. Once you take steps toward turning your bad reviews into positive interactions, you will once again be in control of your online reputation.