Nearly 90% of small businesses monitor their online reputation at least once per quarter.
Do startups need an online reputation management strategy?
Reputation management isn’t only about damage control. Online reputation management is also about collecting customer insight to help improve products, attract customers, and provide better customer service.
In this article, we demonstrate how to fuel your growth with three reputation management tactics: social listening, social engagement, and SEO. Use the information to form a strategy for your startup business.
Social listening provides key customer insights
Monitoring your brand’s reputation is crucial to growth since it offers an understanding of how customers perceive your brand and products.
Most small businesses use three primary tools to monitor their online reputation:
- Social media
- Google search results
- Review sites
Using social media to monitor your brand’s reputation offers you the chance to publicly interact with reviewers and customers, which can be a great advantage.
Most businesses monitor customer requests, concerns, and questions across social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit, according to Clutch’s survey report on social listening.
You can monitor your brand’s social presence by using a social listening tool, such as:
- Sprout Social
Many businesses, though, combine digital tools with manual social listening to discover what people are saying about their brand on social media.
Busy startup companies that want to save time may consider hiring one of the top PR agencies or reputation management companies to help conduct social listening and brand monitoring across all platforms.
Engagement on social media can improve online reputation
Social media provides you the opportunity to respond and engage with reviewers and commenters, which can significantly improve your online reputation.
More and more, brands are providing people the opportunity to review their business and contact customer service on social media, in public forums.
Brands should approach social media engagement with caution, though, as half of consumers say they won’t purchase from a brand that responds poorly to a complaint – in fact, a bad response on social media increases the chance that consumers will boycott your company by 43%, according to a report by Sprout Social.
If social media engagement poses so much risk, why are businesses taking chances with it?
Social media offers growth opportunity, as well as the chance for brands to redeem themselves if they should falter. Nearly 90% of consumers read business’s response to reviews, which gives you the chance to win over people who otherwise may never return.
The report by Sprout Social also found:
- Almost half (45%) of consumers will go back on social media to highlight a positive interaction with a brand.
- More than one-third (36%) share positive interactions with friends online and offline.
- Despite an initial poor experience, 37% of people will buy from a brand again if they’re satisfied with the response to their complaint.
Marketer Neil Patel offers advice on how brands can engage on social media in a way that encourages growth: “When someone leaves a negative review, you should respond,” Patel said, “You should explain why your service is great and what you’re going to do to fix it.”
What if people leave negative reviews that are wrong?
Patel said you should respond by acknowledging your appreciation of their feedback and explaining what you’ll do to improve their experience in the future. Then, share why you think you have a decent product or service.
Above all, make sure you respond to negative feedback in a positive way.
Another side of social engagement reputation strategy involves encouraging or incentivizing happy customers to leave a review on your social media channels.
SEO is essential to building online reputation
For businesses, search engine results pages are like your online storefront. Monitoring your brand presence on the search engines is essential for building a positive online reputation.
“A small business with a brick-and-mortar store is going to keep their storefront managed and appealing,” said John Gottschall, CEO of Neumann Paige Inc, an online reputation management firm. “For a small business, your local search results on Google are like your storefront because most of your clients are going to look you up online first.”
How can you control your brand’s reputation on Google?
- High-quality, positive content pushes positive brand material toward the top of Google SERPs. Ideally, when people search for your name or products, they’ll see your high-quality content first.
- Make your positive reviews and testimonials visible to Google by highlighting them on your website.
For example, Sumo posts testimonials on the front page of its website.
Use Google Alerts to help monitor your brand’s reputation on Google. Google Alerts is a free service that emails SERP content containing keywords you specify. It can be used to monitor your brand and product names, or to keep up on what’s happening with your competitors.
For example, below is a Google Alerts email report for the keyword “content marketing.”
Consult an online reputation agency if your brand reputation is in trouble. Professional reputation managers can help suppress negative press by attempting to move new content up above it in the SERPs.
Startups and small businesses should monitor their online reputation
Monitor what people are saying about your brand across social media, and respond to negative feedback quickly, positively, and productively.
Published high-quality SEO content to maintain a strong presence in the search engines.
Use tools to help monitor your brand’s reputation and sentiment across social media and Google, or hire an online reputation agency to help you save time and improve your growth.