Your online reputation is important. You already know that as 97% of people read online reviews. But at the same time, you need to understand that this becomes an even more critical issue as your company grows. Your online reputation is something that will evolve alongside your company.
In the beginning, many companies can get away with not monitoring their online reputation. As long as they don’t do anything horrifically wrong, they can get along fine. But as they grow their business the potential for receiving negative comments increases.
You are going to learn about why this is the case and what you can do about it.
People Know You
It’s a game of simple numbers. The more people that know you and the more customers you have the more likely it is that you are going to have a bad experience. You are no longer dealing with the brand loyalists who loved you from the start. You are dealing with casual fans who won’t hesitate to rant when something goes wrong.
This is why corporations tend to have more complaints than the average mom and pop store in a small town. And that’s where online reputation protection comes in handy. If you started to build from the start, you are going to find it far easier to handle a greater number of complaints.
If you have a small team, dealing with your first customers is easy. You can take the extra time to make sure that they have a great experience. This sort of personal attention is only possible with exceptionally small businesses. This level of service is harder to maintain with more customers.
Growing companies have more customers to handle and they need more personnel to deal with the added demand. It’s not always possible or practical to continue to deliver the best possible service. You need to temper expectations.
It doesn’t mean that customers should expect to be treated badly. It’s just about making customers expect a minimal level of service, without expecting the world. If you try to deliver a seven-star service, in the beginning, declining to a five-star service as you grow is going to attract more negative feedback.
Since most entrepreneurs are only thinking about the here and now, they are not considering the challenges that come with a growing company later on.
Word of Mouth Marketing Spreads Fast
One of the ways to protect your online reputation this year is to take advantage of word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing spreads like nothing else. It’s something that can make your brand into a prestigious entity within a matter of hours. But it’s also something that you have no control over when it comes to your online reputation.
It can work both ways, though. A good reputation can spread as fast as a bad one. As you begin to scale up your operations, the fact that more people have heard of you means that you have more opinions to take into account. Setting up a Google Alerts signal for your company and tracking what people are saying becomes even more essential.
Building up your online reputation from the start helps to leverage word of mouth marketing in your favor.
What Protecting Your Online Reputation Really Means
All the above points are an argument for why you should be focusing on building your online reputation before you experience serious business growth challenges. But what does online reputation protection actually mean?
It doesn’t mean completely removing the chance to receive negative reviews. You are always going to get bad customers, trolls, and people who just want to see you burn. Smart entrepreneurs realize that the only way to address these malcontents is to bury them under a slew of happy customers.
Many online reputation experts advocate simply forcing negative reviews out of the spotlight so people never encounter them unless they are specifically trying to find them. This can mean all the difference in the grand scheme of things as the majority will see your company for what it really is.
Conclusion – It All Starts Now
Protecting your online reputation begins from the moment you establish your company. Don’t follow in the footsteps of other entrepreneurs who wait for their reputations to be a mess before acting. It’s much easier to adopt a strategy of prevention over trying to find the cure.
What do you think is the best way to defend your online profile?