It’s no secret that a large number of buyers research online before making a purchase. They hop on-to many sites and customer reviews before deciding to buy.
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Source – Status Labs)
The internet provides buyers with a way to explore many options.
Consumers buy from a business which they feel provides the best products and services.
A reputation plays a big role in converting prospects into customers.
It’s not hard to build and sustain an impeccable online reputation but it’s essential to move in the right direction.
Here’s what you can do:
Have in Impressive Digital Footprint
What’s that feeling when you visit a site that takes ages to load or keeps showing errors? Annoying, right? It’s a marketer’s responsibility to create the right experience for those visiting a business website or social media pages. An optimised web presence is the key to making a business look professional.
- Social Presence: It’s necessary to have business pages on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Make sure to optimise your social presence by adding the appropriate business description, contact details, opening hours, and the website link. It’s also vital to keep posting content on social pages.
- Create a Google My Business Profile: A Google profile helps marketers to control how their business appears in the search results. You can create one by adding the location, opening hours, and other attributes (that help distinguish you from competitors). Don’t forget to create a profile on Yelp and other popular local and niche directories – a good thumb rule to choose the relevant directories is to look for the ones which are ranking on Google for niche local search queries.
- Schema Mark-up: Adding a schema mark-up to the business website categories it for the search engines and makes a site’s search listing a lot more informative and professional. A schema mark-up is a piece of HTML code that you can generate using a free tool like schema.org. You can also include the details of your social media pages in the mark-up.
- Website Optimisation: A good way to create the right impression among site visitors is to make it user-friendly. Add the business address, contact number, and email address. Contact details help prospects and customers to ask questions or connect for service requests. Smart marketers make it easy for users to find information on their site. A user-friendly site is easy to navigate, functional, mobile-responsive, and loads quickly. It’s also necessary to connect the site with your social media pages.
A digital footprint lays the foundation for creating the right impression among first-time visitors.
Display Social Proof
Prospects are looking for a solid reason to buy from a business. They need assurance of quality and service which they seek from those who have already bought from the business.
- A Client Section: Include a section on the site that tells visitors about your clients – add client logos and case studies to create an impact. You can put up testimonials of satisfied clients to showcase the merit of the products and services. Many businesses create testimonial videos to engage with their site visitors.
- Media Mentions: Marketers can earn press coverage by connecting with journalists and sharing their brand story with them. You can use tools like HARO and SourceBottle to pitch tips to the relevant journalists and publications. You can talk about media mentions by putting up logos of the relevant news sites.
- Manage Reviews: Get happy customers to add positive reviews on the Facebook page and Google profile. There are occasions when customers aren’t happy with the products or services and they may end up adding negative reviews.
So, what’s the solution?
It’s critical to handle online negativity with care:
- Be polite while responding, you can’t be rude while representing a business.
- A tactful reply is the aptest solution unless it’s a spammy review which you can report.
- An apology works best when the customer has gone through a bad experience.
Marketers can offer delightful brand experiences to earn positive reviews and media attention. They must not, however, get bogged down by criticism or unfavourable feedback. A good way is to be alert and play nice.
Create Original Content
You can publish content in a variety of formats: blog posts, videos, ebooks, original research, and infographics, etc. Branded content’s purpose is to educate and entertain potential customers:
- Develop a Content Voice: In today’s times, most businesses are producing content; a way to distinguish your brand is to have a unique voice. Marketers must remember to focus on audience pain points and user-intent while creating original and path-breaking content. Honest, authentic, and story-driven content helps build a loyal audience.
- Write Guest Posts: A good way to add to business reputation is to earn backlinks and mentions from high-authority niche sites and publications. You can pitch relevant and timely guest stories to sites that accept guest posts.
- Help Users on Quora: Many professionals and business owners showcase their expertise by helping fellows on communities like Quora. Quora is a place for ‘Q & A’ – you can find niche-relevant questions and post, in-depth answers to display expertise.
- Create a Personal Profile on LinkedIn: B2B marketers cannot afford to miss out on LinkedIn. You can use the social platform to build a personal brand by publishing expert articles and native videos.
Valuable, insightful, and engaging content is one of the pillars of an online reputation strategy. Content gives businesses an opportunity to solve audience problems and build a relationship with them.
Watch Social Conversations
Many potential and existing customers are comfortable posting questions or service requests on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. You can use a brand monitoring tool, like Brand24, to track brand mentions and audience sentiment.
- Be Quick to Reply: Make sure you’re prompt at replying to service requests or feedback.
- Track Audience Sentiment: Online conversations help get genuine feedback about products and services. Intelligent marketers use these insights to tweak their services, brand experience, and campaigns.
Gathering audience insights helps businesses to create products, services, and content according to audience preferences. Caring for the potential and existing customers is one of the best ways to acquire positive word-of-mouth.
Over to You
Most online users want to buy from businesses they know and trust. Having an optimised digital footprint and a bunch of happy customers lays the foundation of a positive brand image. Publishing content helps to engage with potential and existing customers. Besides that, intelligent marketers are tactful about responding to online criticism and bad reviews. A reputation is not built in a day but you can lose it in a few hours or minutes. Being proactive and watchful helps reap rich dividends.
If you enjoyed this article on online reputation, then check out these other Marketing.com.au articles:
- What Is Reputation Management?
- How to Market Yourself When You’re A “Nobody”
- Published Content and Branding: Making the Most of Your Expertise
- How to Grow an Awesome Personal Brand That Brings in More Business