The Importance of Online Reputation Management for Local Businesses

A positive online reputation can take years to build, but can be ruined by negative reviews online. Be it people or businesses, it takes years and years of effort to build a strong brand image amongst customers. This is why reputation management is an important activity that needs to be carried out consistently.

A business’ social media presence plays a significant role in today’s market. Therefore, social media has complicated the whole process of maintaining and building reputation. Even if there several “tweets” about the outstanding performance of a company - one negative comment is enough to draw the audience’s attention and give them a bad impression.

It is difficult for local businesses because their customer base is concentrated in regions and bad press travels both by social media and word of mouth. Online reputation management is not only required for damage control but is an area of marketing used to maintain a brand image.

The top ways of managing online reputation include:

  • Blogging is very important in business and help bring value to your brand. Blogging about your industry and your team’s activities can help build your relationship with your customers. Constant exposure leads to repeat purchases.
  • Websites are the most authentic source of information. That is why having a high quality mobile responsive website that works, is crucial in this day and age.
  • Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Linked in are social networks that can bring value to your brand and reputation. Posting about trending topics and showcasing your culture and business can help you build relationships with prospective customers and your followers.
  • Having your website linked to your social media channels, forums and other websites will help drive traffic to your website and build your brand online.
  • Developing an online brand community is one of the most beneficial activities which help to manage online reputation. A brand community will have a collection of customers sharing their feedback and that is both good for reputation and also provided constructive feedback.
  • A firm must always be strategic when handling negative comments online. Defending a brand against accusations, both true and false, has to be done in a way that offends no one and also manages to stay neutral.
  • Becoming a part of an online discussion can help your business learn the dos and don’ts of the industry and also build a positive brand image for your company.
  • It is important to always analyze and implement online reputation management. It is important to solve a problem before it gets out of hand. Google can let your business monitor any mentions of your name online
  • Quick responses and quality content are the basis of your success as a business online. If your content is educational and you answer to queries effectively customers are more likely to visit your website.
  • It is important to network with businesses in your industry. If you promote other businesses which are related to your operations, they will do the same for you and this will benefit in the long term. A mutually beneficial network will be established.

The internet could be your worst enemy or your best friend, depending on how you plan to treat this with the resources available to you.