Managing Your Online Reputation

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.

Small Business Tips for Being Effective on Twitter

Twitter is one of the most rapid and effective ways to position yourself as being a leader in your industry and to get the word out about the products and services that your business provides. Many businesses just like yours are using Twitter to connect with their target market, but are you sure you are using every opportunity this fast moving social network provides your business to its fullest?

Make a Great First Impression

Any time you Tweet or ask a Twitter user to follow you, keep in mind that this may be the first time many users will come in contact with you or your business, so it’s important to treat every interaction as though it is your chance to make a lasting and positive first impression. Most Twitter users will check your profile before they interact with you, so you’ll want to make sure your profile contains information about who you are and what your business has to offer your followers. Don’t forget your most recent Tweet will be visible at the top of your profile, so make sure it’s a high quality Tweet that will make your followers want to learn more.

Engaging Your Followers

It’s important to create Tweets that will encourage conversations that will deepen your followers’ understanding of your business and your industry, even if these conversations steer toward the controversial. The more the public knows about the services and products you are providing, the more opportunities you’ll have to show your followers what your business has to offer them. You can engage with your followers by Retweeting their content as well as by handling any customer service issues that will arrive in this very visible forum so your followers will be able to see how professionally you conduct yourself, which will build confidence in your brand.

Making the Most of Hashtags

Hashtags are perhaps the most effective way of making sure the people who are interested in the products and services you provide will be able to find your Tweets. You can maximize the impact of your marketing efforts by choosing hashtags that are related to current events, to celebrities, or to anything else that has people talking. You can use hashtags to target your market, to make sure your content is found by the people who need it, or to amplify your brand. Just make sure you don’t overuse hashtags, because this can cause your Tweets to come off looking like spam.

Choosing the Right Content

When you provide your followers with high-quality content it will help you engage with your potential client base as well as providing you with opportunities to convert your Tweets into sales. Twitter is one of the most fast paced social media platforms, and by offering your clients limited time discounts and offers you’ll be able to create a sense of immediacy that will result in a quick response and more business for you. Your followers will respond to Tweets that are funny, helpful, or entertaining, and your Tweets are also the perfect time to ask for Retweets to help get the word about your business out to the widest possible audience so you can generate more followers. By keeping these simple tips in mind when you are using this valuable website to promote your business, you’ll be sure you are making the most of this outstanding and free promotional opportunity.