You probably already figured this out, but you can’t opt out of an online reputation.  We’re learning that companies must take the initiative towards implementing an online reputation management strategy as early as possible. If you are a company that is hiding from the world of online reputation, you might find yourself in a risky situation.

 

It’s not very difficult for a disgruntled resident to create negative sites surrounding your brand or even you.  It can be done in just an hour or two! Online reputation is a serious practice that every owner or manager should embrace to protect their brand’s reputation.

 

“75% of internet users see online search as the most trusted source of information about companies.” Edelman Trust Barometer

 

Before you can implement an online reputation, you must have an online presence. To do this, create profiles for your brand on all relevant social media sites, and be sure not to neglect the key players: Google, Facebook, and Yelp. It doesn’t end there; you must also develop your audience on these social channels. With ongoing development, you can build up your social presence and begin to interact with customers which will lead to an increase in your influence and engagement scores. An added bonus: Google has re-established its agreement with Twitter, allowing tweets to appear in search results.

 

Once you have constructed your brand’s online presence, you must then listen and problem solve. As negative reviews or online complaints are made, you must be well equipped and trained to respond accordingly. It is important to be humble in your approach and consider that there may actually be a weakness in your process, especially if you are seeing a common trend in negative reviews. Remember the adage that “the customer is always right”? Always apologize authentically and come up with creative ways to give customers what they’re wanting without causing extra friction.

 

In a situation where you’re technically right, you might lose out overall if you come across harshly or unprofessional. Worse yet, you might actually be wrong and could end up damaging your entire reputation. The most effective approach to diffuse the situation is to take the conversation offline, keep your cool, and try to reconcile. And remember: if you feel yourself getting drawn into an escalating conflict, walk away from the computer.

 

Reputation management and social media go hand-in-hand. They are both a must have – not another checklist item.  It is vital to any business just as it is to have a solid maintenance staff. Customers use social media to make complaints or to leave negative reviews. If you are unaware of what your customers are saying, you’re missing out on opportunities to improve your reputation and customer experience.

 

Misty Sanford
Social Insight Thought Leader
Renter’s Voice

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