Today, 85% of people find local businesses online. A changing world means your reputation on the web is just as important as word-of-mouth reputation within your community.
This is a good thing: it helps you find a wider range of customers and help them quickly.
But like anything else, the role of the internet in marketing has its drawbacks. When the entirety of your company's reputation is online, things can change quickly for your company.
If you aren't careful, you can find yourself stuck with a bad online brand reputation. And if that happens, making money will become an uphill climb.
Here are some tips to keep your reputation safe.
Good Work Builds a Good Brand Reputation
This should be obvious. But too often, people focus on the bells-and-whistles of online marketing and forget about something that's 100% in their hands.
Public relations, for local and global businesses, used to be about “spin.” That meant making situations look positive in spite of reality.
As upsetting as it may be for old-school PR professionals, spin is dead.
Today, people simply will not fall for attempts to make an inferior service or product look good. And while managing your online presence can improve your online presence, nothing beats hard work and making a good product.
If you run a deli, you can try talking about how your bread and cold cuts are “artisan” and “gourmet,” but a more effective way to sell sandwiches will be making a good sandwich.
You are responsible for the reputation of your product. So remember that five-star products get five-star reviews.
Know Your Reputation Can Change
How does one's brand reputation slip?
The most common form of this tragedy is complacency and forgetfulness. Business owners search for their brand, see things looking good, and assume that it will stay that way.
The reality is, the internet is always changing. Your brand reputation can go from great to awful at a moment's notice because of a bad Yelp or Google reviews, or an SEO-related penalty from Google.
Business owners should constantly keep tabs on their brand reputation to learn about the damage before it costs them money.
This shouldn't take too much effort. Simply searching for your brand once a week and regularly looking over your social media and Yelp pages should make it easy to respond to an impending crisis.
Use Social Media for Crisis Management
No matter how good your business is, big and small crises happen.
Maybe your brand reputation is being threatened by a rude employee. Maybe servers are down, or maybe your store has had to close for the day.
The point is, it doesn't take the world's biggest PR blunder to find yourself in crisis mode. All it takes is a bad Yelp review, a few mean tweets, and some angry comments on your Facebook page.
Social media is a great tool for combatting the PR problems that may arise in day-to-day life.
A number of people find businesses on social media. On Facebook, those customers can see comments and reviews from recent visitors.
When they look at comments on something negative, they can either see a business being responsive to the problems of their customers or ignoring them.
Social media, if used correctly, also offers businesses the opportunity to explain why an inconvenience is occurring.
For instance, if a restaurant is temporarily closed for construction, a 360 virtual tour can give customers a look at the work being done.
Having an active social media presence and interacting with your customers will allow you to be the business that responds. This reaches your customers in a personal way and tells them you care.
Take Advantage of Google My Business
By far the most common way to find a business is search engines. And we're not talking about Bing.
Google is the king of the search engines. So when they offer you a way to improve your brand reputation and conversion rate by taking control of your listings, you'd better listen.
Google My Business is a service Google offers businesses looking to control their local search listings. It's easy to use and incredibly convenient.
In fact, your brand reputation won't just be damaged online from not having a listing: it will be non-existent. So if you want people to know your company exists, you need a listing.
Having a good Google My Business listing is essential to improving your brand reputation. A few years ago, that would have meant having your company's address and phone number visible, along with your operating hours.
Today, there's a bit more to consider.
Google My Business provides customers with an opportunity to get a look at your store and know exactly what it's like on the inside.
Use this to your advantage by making the inside of your store visible on Google My Business.
Making the inside of your store, along with the premises, visible will improve your brand reputation by building familiarity and trust for your company.
Managing your reputation can be a challenging task. But if you make a good product and keep on top of your online presence, you can use the web to bring in cash quickly.
To do that, start with a high-quality product and an understanding of how online reputation management works. Then add an interactive presence and the use of Google My Business to have a killer combo for your digital brand.
Having a 360 tour photoshoot done is a great way to bring customers to you. Doing it yourself, however, can be a bit risky.
Not everybody is a professional photographer. And a weak photo shoot can make the most stunning businesses look dull.
Hiring the pros is the only way to be entirely sure that photos and videos of your business are actually improving your reputation.
We are professional photographers who see helping small businesses as a responsibility and an art. Book a visit with our team if you want to see new customers come rolling in.