Research has demonstrated that 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews. This makes reviews a more effective marketing tactic than anything under the control of a brand. It should demonstrate to you that your online reputation is everything.
If you lose that reputation, you lose your business. The online world is indecisive and even the slightest mistake can bring up your name for all the wrong reasons.
This guide is going to show you how you can go about protecting your online reputation.
Understanding What Your Brand Is
Ask a company what they think about when you talk about their brand and they will tell you about what their company stands for. Ask them to define what their brand is and they will tell you about their values. But they are missing a key point. A brand is so much more than that.
Your brand is a touch point. Every time you come into contact with customers that is your brand. It may be on Facebook, it may be through your website, or it may even be in the real world. That’s your brand.
Whenever someone walks away with a bad experience it’s a black mark against your brand.
The biggest mistake that companies make when it comes to managing their online reputations is failing to take this into account. Your company has to be on the ball whenever it’s in the public eye.
Deliver On Your Promises
The easiest way to lose your online reputation is to not deliver on your promises. You may not know it, but each time a customer makes a purchase they are buying it based on a promise you made to them. During your sales pitch, you promised that your product or service would do everything you said it would.
If you exaggerated, or worse outright lied, people are going to find out about it.
Everything about your business centers on the fundamentals of your product.
Online Arguments and You
The Internet has made it easier than ever before to reach your target audience. On the other hand, the Internet has enabled companies to throw away their reputations in a matter of minutes. Online criticism is a reality of doing business online.
One thing you should never do is argue with a customer. No matter how right you are and how stupid they are, you will always come off looking worse. It’s a demonstration of poor customer service.
So how should you react in a way that leaves you looking good?
The answer is not to simply ignore them. This is as bad as arguing with them. Instead, you should approach them with a calm head. Ask them what the problem is and how you can solve it. If the customer reacts badly, they are the ones who come off looking silly, whereas your reputation will remain intact.
Treat Online Interactions as You Would in the Real World
It’s easy for meanings and emotions to be lost or misinterpreted in the written form. Someone can come across as curt and rude with an SMS, even if they are far from it. Think about how your online words are coming across.
Be absolutely clear about what you mean. The golden rule is to act online as you would in the real world.
On a side note, humor should be used sparingly because it can easily by misinterpreted, particularly when it comes to sarcasm. When there’s a risk that someone could get offended by something you say, it’s best to stay on the side of caution and not say it.
The Internet Doesn’t Exist in a Bubble
What happens online stays online. The Internet doesn’t exist in a bubble, and you certainly can’t erase any of that bubble. Take care whenever you post something. Try to put yourself in the position of the reader. How would you react to that content?
There are only so many mistakes you can make before your brand image comes to nothing.
The Value of an Apology
Sometimes things do go wrong. This doesn’t have to mean the end of your reputation. The key is to act quickly. Apologize for the mistake you made and admit that the standard of interaction wasn’t good enough. Move quickly to defuse the problem before it can begin to snowball.
There’s no room for fighting on principles. This is about giving off the right impression to your customers, and any potential customers.
As you can see, your online reputation is delicate. What are your top tips for making sure you don’t damage your online reputation?