Having a successful online presence is becoming a more critical factor in business. Many people turn to reviews posted online to make decisions regarding which companies with which they will do business. Being aware of your online reputation may not be enough. Proactively managing your online reputation can mean the difference between customers coming to you or going to your competitor.
At this time, 90 percent of customers turn to online reviews for information regarding local companies. The vast majority of those customers will read up to 10 reviews during their information search. Though that may not be a revelation, the fact that 88 percent of potential customers trust online reviews as much as those they receive via word-of-mouth may be new information to you.
In order to successfully manage your online reputation, you must start by gathering information on what is being said. Identify which sites result in the most referrals to your website or business. Since these sites likely have positive information regarding your company, these should be monitored for changes that may indicate a new negative review. Notable changes include a change in the amount of referral traffic driven from the review site in question. Investigate what is being said on industry specific review sites as well as general review sites.
Though negative reviews may be unavoidable, how you deal with them is completely under your control. A quick response online, with a request to contact you, can help open a dialogue regarding what prompted the negative review. While the issue may not be completely correctable, they may be open to trying your service again (for a discount) and recording a follow-up review should their opinion change.
If the challenge of repairing your online reputation seems insurmountable, consider working with a professional. Darius Fisher, president of Status Labs, created a company whose focus is on taking proper steps to protect your reputation as well as repairing any damage that may already be done. This includes steps to help prevent personal information from being posted online and securing social media accounts. Fisher can also provide guidance by monitoring the search results that are produced when others search for you and assisting with changing those results.