Managing your digital presence effectively is a critical part of maintaining your success as a business. Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of monitoring and improving the way people view your business online. And online reputation management mistakes are what we’ll look at closely now.
Companies work hard to develop brand awareness and create an image of themselves that people respect. A small error in the way your business conducts itself online can seriously affect the way people see your brand.
So when it comes to managing your digital presence, don’t make these 9 horrible online reputation management mistakes that can cost you dearly.
1. Overlooking the need for ORM
One of the biggest online reputation management mistakes people make is believing that it will take care of itself. Regardless of whether you like it or not, people will talk about your business online. You need to actively monitor and participate in these discussions to improve the way people perceive your business.
Take control of your digital presence by setting up a Google My Business account and signing up to social media platforms that are relevant for your business. You can also keep Google Alerts in place to track online mentions of your business. Start engaging with both positive and negative things that your customers have to say.
2. Errors in your online listing
Erroneous information in your online listing can affect your business’ reputation. When customers encounter incorrect business information online, they tend to get frustrated. This causes them to lose trust in your brand and leave bad reviews. If left unchecked, these reviews can mount over time and tarnish your online reputation.
Google and other search engines want to provide customers with the best possible options available. A slew of negative reviews can lower your rank on the results page. Similarly, an incorrect name or address will deter your Local SEO.
Your online listings are responsible for a large amount of your website’s traffic. A recent survey of consumers found that 90% of their sample used the internet to find local businesses. So make sure that all the information provided in your online listing is accurate and up-to-date.
3. Improper handling of reviews
You should actively try to solicit feedback from your customers. Reviews provide a great opportunity for you to engage and interact with your customers. At the same time, you need to come up with a system to handle the way you respond to reviews. Irrespective of whether reviews are good or bad, they need attention.
It is important to maintain your composure while responding to negative reviews. Just because you don’t like what you hear doesn’t mean you need to respond aggressively, or try to defend your business. In that, never argue with the customer even if you know they are wrong. Let them know that you’ve taken their feedback into consideration and assure them that you will try to fix the situation.
When it comes to positive reviews, don’t miss out on any chances to highlight your accomplishments. A lot of businesses think that ORM only means damage control and overlook positive reviews. Don’t make the same mistake. Always respond to positive reviews with modesty and thank your customer for the glowing review.
4. Ignoring customer feedback and relevant complaints
Not all negative feedback is bad for business. More often than not, criticism can help you identify flaws in your business and rectify them.
While you don’t have to respond to every critic, ignoring relevant complaints can deteriorate people’s trust in your business. It may also make a bad situation worse if customers feel neglected and broadcast their opinions across platforms. This can be difficult to control and will seriously affect your online reputation.
9 out of 10 people read reviews before they commit to a purchase. By responding to relevant complaints and addressing the issue at hand, you show potential customers that your business is willing to learn from its mistakes. This goes a long way in gaining consumers’ trust.
5. Using automated responses
Many businesses choose to use generic or automated responses while interacting with customers because they think it saves time. But whether you are responding to customers’ questions or reviews, you should never use predetermined responses.
Preconceived responses may not sufficiently address the questions being asked. In the worst case scenario, they may create more problems if there is dissonance between what the customer has said and the answer provided. Engaging with clients or customers at an individual level enhances their experience of interacting with your business and increases the potential for conversions.
6. Posting fake reviews
You should never resort to posting fake reviews to glorify your business or bring down your competitors. Indulging in unethical practices reflects poorly on your brand and damages your credibility. Moreover, it can also be a waste of valuable time.
All influential search engines, websites and online platforms have algorithms designed to identify and weed out false customer feedback. In that sense, posting fake reviews can be extremely futile. So instead of wasting time on trying to seem like you are better than your competitors, you should focus on ways to generate that feedback organically.
7. An inconsistent digital presence
Simply creating social media profiles or setting up a Google My Business account won’t help you improve the way people view your business. An active and engaging digital presence is the only way to capture customers’ attention.
Building a strong online reputation also requires consistency. Don’t make a flurry of posts on one day, and remain inactive for long periods after that. Develop a routine for posting on social media to engage your audience regularly.
Similarly, when it comes to generating content, you need to be consistent both in the quality and quantity. Create a content strategy that enables you to deploy engaging content regularly over a period of time.
8. Expressing personal opinions
When it comes to managing your online reputation, you need to separate the personal from the professional. So steer clear of discussing opinions about politics, religion and other controversial topics, unless they are relevant for your business.
A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that 64% of consumers trust brands that they share values with. When you discuss your personal opinions, you run the risk of alienating or offending consumers if your beliefs contradict theirs.
9. Leaving your ORM in the wrong hands
The person managing your online reputation has the potential to make or break your business. It is for this reason that you or someone else who knows your business well handles the ORM process. But as your business grows, this can become difficult owing to insufficient time and other constraints.
So if you are not managing it yourself, it is important that your ORM is conducted by someone trustworthy and competent. Should you choose to hire an external agency, go through their previous work and client testimonials. If you delegate the responsibility to existing staff, train them to act appropriately on behalf of the company.
Whether you end up working with an external agency or hiring an executive to manage your online reputation, ensure that you exercise extreme caution while making a decision. You should develop a thorough orientation manual and style guide that can aid whoever takes up your ORM.
Managing your online reputation is not an easy task and it takes time to be conducted effectively. Don’t make these 9 horrible online reputation management mistakes that can seriously affect the way people see your brand.