Published on October 25th, 2017 | by Manish Gehlot0
4 Things You Need to Know About Online Reputation Management
Chances of you or your business being found online with ever emerging web search tools surpasses the most expensive billboard that you could potentially afford today. Billions of people use Internet to search information online.
In fact, in today’s world it is next to impossible even for a completely traditional and offline business to survive without being online. When there is no doubt or question regarding online presence of a business, the primary question is how do you maintain a healthy presence online.
The thing is when people finally find you online, why would they want you over dozens of other viable options? Obviously, it all depends on how fancy, vibrant and interactive your website is. Isn’t it? Well, partly yes, but that being so, a consumer or client would still want to examine your reputation in the market. Yes, this primary or basic test lingers on online as well. This is one side of the story.
Other one being what others say about your business for example reviews, feedbacks. It also includes information automated tools might be accumulating about your business. Depending on the consistency and uniformity of the services rendered by your employees.
How do we maintain reputation online? The art and skill to maintain online reputation falls under reputation management. One thing is for sure anything online good or bad, can spread faster than fire, it would take very little efforts for anything to get viral with almost everyone having access to social media and other mobile communication platforms right in their palm.
Online reputation is a serious concern and one must invest resources in it. It is directly proportional to growth and well-being of a business or company with a few caveats.
Let us break it down into different elements required for online reputation management.
- Proper representation
- Ease of communication
- Privacy, security of data
- Due-diligence and timely audit
Your online presence must represent your business or company in a lucid manner. Basically, make it very very clear what your company is about. If not, and a potential client or customer is out of your website in less than 30 seconds. Everything on your website must represent whatever your business is in a correct and precise format or else it is a big negative for the company or business.
There are times when lack of vital information on homepage might end up getting you unfavorable reviews or feedbacks.
Online reputation to its very core is dependent on user experience regardless of the quality of service you provide. Without a proper representation leading to necessary standards of user experience, it is really hard for a company or business to gain reputation in online market.
For example your website’s homepage has to state your business in nutshell for people who don’t have much time to decide before rejecting you for some other company.
There should a useful and detailed about and contact page on your website. It should not take more than a few clicks for someone to know your support email or mailing address as you only get a few instances to impress a potential client. Anyone can say anything good or bad about you, now it is up to you to create a good image online by representation.
So, appropriate representation of your business online is a must as it is first point of contact before you establish a business relationship.
Ease of communication
While proper representation of your business or company online helps one understand your business, meet your core team and know about services you render or products you sell. One must communicate with clients and potential clients. Communication must be prompt and hassle-free. Good old email support is not enough. With advent of social media, online forums and other popular information sharing platforms online, a company or business must communicate, converse and utilize it in its favor. With many advancements in cellphone technology, a company or business can deploy cost effective multiple communication methods for a client to choose.
People want to know what others might know about you. Online forums like these are significant in such cases, people discuss about various things and products in threads and your effective presence in these threads online can help them know more about you and gain official information which they might share further. It is an extra mileage to your online reputation if you have your own community forums but your effective communication in third party forums and other social platforms is always beneficial not only to improve your relationship with clients but also to quash false responses, rectify wrong feedbacks or reviews that lingers on for ages in many cases.
Apparently, a reputed business or company must attend and respond to queries wherever possible effectively.
Privacy, security of data
Privacy is the topic of the decade. Conducting a business online is based on trust on the technology and how a company manages to deploy it for its clients.
Privacy and security of data should be top priority of business or company. You do not want your clients to loss faith in your company because you forgot to backup something of critical importance or if you leave primary loopholes in managing how data is being transmitted online between clients and your company servers.
Encryption should be used wherever required to prevent damages owing to leaks and other mishaps.
Your reputation highly depends on whenever you are able enough to conduct business online. One must not leave any room for obvious and basic issues that impacts privacy and security of data.
People like their information to be private and when they trust you with their information, it should be kept secure enough from potential threats.
Due-diligence and timely audit
Everything you do online is recorded and stored forever. Now imagine what a bad opinion in a reputed online forum about your business could do. Or what a typo that changes the very meaning of a promotional offer cost you? Or a rude conversation on a social media platform do? You cannot delete things once you are done posting it, you can surely rectify the same which would cause substantive harm to your online reputation.
Whatever official information you wish to publish online should be proof-read and validated by respective employees or experts before you serve it to the public. Delay in an offer is much better option than a bad offer.
It is not just a job of a client to perform due-diligence on a company but the company itself must act with it. Data retained for example must be stored with care and caution.
Due diligence is also not adequate. An energy audit of business and its functioning is a necessary supplement to it. It is not possible for business to know where it lacks on all or any of the above mentioned pointers without an audit. For example it would be impossible for company’s technical team to figure out potential loopholes that might attract reputation harming data leaks or breaches.
A business must be ready to afford time for quality of services to be rendered online because when you are conducting a business online, you are basically leaving no room for anyone wanting to create a public investigation. Your online business or its products could be hot subject matter of a number of researchers offline. You are being watched by just about any body on the Internet. Therefore due-diligence and timely audit is of paramount importance in comparison with offline businesses.
A business should not be very driven by a desire for recognition online, as it might make you act in certain ways that are off-putting. If a business changes its drive from that to simply wanting to build things keeping the user experience enjoyable online, it will jive well with most people on the Internet.