Managing your business' online reputation can be a full time job. Many smaller organizations do not take the time to see what is going on in the digital world in regards to their reputation. It is all too often something I uncover when working through the initial discovery with a new client.
What I want to relay today are a few steps anyone can take to help improve or maintain their online reputation without letting their other responsibilities suffer.
1. Keep your circle small
The first step to making sure you can control your reputation online is to keep important administration passwords to channels like social media, Google, Yelp and others to a select few within your organization (and change your passwords regularly). Not only will you always know who to go to in a potential crisis situation, but you will also know who is responding and keep any disgruntled employees from leaving a nasty parting gift as an unwanted administrator on one of your channels.
Another key here, make sure you claim and verify your business everywhere you can. This will stop any rogue customers and employees from taking over your accounts and doing any damage.
2. Be quick to start dialog
Your presence on social media and other review sites is noticed. Make it a habit to routinely check customer comments and feedback. Start a dialog with everyone... not just your upset customers. Saying thank you to a loyal follower (and asking them to review you online if they have not already) can go a long way and addressing someone's concerns personally shows that you care about your customer's experience. Doing this can take a bad situation and turn it into a positive result not only for that customer, but anyone else who views the interaction later on.
If you never respond to messages, customers might assume you are in your ivory tower counting your gold bricks... and while you might be, it is best to save that activity for after you punch out for the day.
3. Invest in management tools
If your company is of any decent size and is on multiple networks and review sites, the fastest way to beef up your ability to have eyes on reputation are though listening tools. There are many out there, tailored for any need. One that I recommend often is BirdEye, which offers a host of management tools targeted at reputation for both small business and enterprise level engagement. Although you will have to spend some of your hard earned dollars, consider the revenue impact of a negative reputation online that can be seen by millions of potential customers.
Today's digital climate is all about one thing... customer experience. Make sure it's a good one.