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As a business, your brand is everything. With companies and consumers conducting most of their business online, building an impeccable reputation has gotten much harder to pull off.

One questionable slip-up on your company pages, no matter how small, is enough to earn you a crowd of angry netizens casting doubt on your company values. Add the fact that the internet is eternal and anything published online (whether by you or a customer) is almost impossible to scrub completely, and you have a potential recipe for disaster. Without a solid online reputation management strategy, you’re putting your company’s image at risk.

What is online reputation management and why is it important?

Online reputation management is the performance of strategies that help your business:

  • Establish and maintain a positive image online
  • Manage negative press or reviews
  • Increase brand awareness

Reputation management has been around for a while. However, what used to work a couple of years ago might not be enough anymore, especially after the Coronavirus pandemic has started a massive shift towards online shopping, online work, and pretty much online everything.

Statistics show that 87% of consumers read reviews on the internet, with 79% giving as much trust to online customer reviews as personal feedback from family and friends. Knowing this, a robust online reputation can give your business an upper hand in the face of increasingly tough competition.

How to do online reputation management in 2021

Here’s how you can make sure your online reputation management system is effective in 2021 and beyond.

1. Monitor your reviews and brand mentions on major websites

When people search the internet for reviews of your business, they’ll likely check the following platforms first:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Trustpilot
  • Reddit
  • Yelp
  • Other forum sites like Quora
  • Niche-specific sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor

Being proactive in monitoring and responding to reviews will help you manage your online reputation more effectively. It’s best if you can respond to reviews within a day or two.

2. Have a response system in place

Positive reviews are relatively simple to handle. Most of the time, an enthusiastic thank you and a “See you again soon!” will do.

Negative feedback is obviously trickier to respond to. Choosing to ignore bad reviews is unproductive. Besides, professionally handling a poor rating can even make your business look good! That said, it’s crucial to have a defined response system in place.

Whenever you receive feedback from an unsatisfied customer, make sure to acknowledge their concern, address any issues they brought up, apologize, and do your best to rectify the situation.

3. Encourage feedback from customers

Negative feedback sucks, but these reviews can be a goldmine of valuable information. Reputation management shouldn’t come at the expense of constructive criticism.

We recommend that you encourage all sorts of feedback from customers. A good strategy is to drive satisfied customers toward review platforms while directing unhappy customers to your customer service team.

When dealing with forum-type sites like Reddit, you can even draw attention to positive reviews (and away from negative ones!) by taking advantage of the upvote-downvote system. Boost the visibility of positive posts and comments by upvoting them (Insider tip: you can purchase upvotes here).

4. Broaden your online presence

Building a solid presence on the internet doesn’t only help you reach more customers. It’s also a great way to control the top search results for your business or product.

Imagine this: if you have a limited number of social pages, it’s easy for a scathing review from a third-party site to land within the first few spots on Google whenever someone searches for your brand.

5. Avoid arguments-no matter how right you think you are

It does not matter if you think the customer who left a poor review is being unfair. Participating in a fiery word war online will always reflect poorly on your image. Remember, staying classy and professional is always more important than being right in an argument on the internet.

Conclusion

The right reputation management strategy will grow your business and boost sales. We all know just how costly negative reviews can be. Because of this, it’s always best to stay on top of things by taking a proactive approach towards building and maintaining a positive online image.

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