When your customers look for what you sell, doing an online search is probably their first step. But if that search turns up something negative about your business—such as unanswered customer complaints on social media or poor reviews on rating sites—do you think they’ll do business with you?
Creating a positive image of your business brand online is vital to attracting new customers.
Why You Should Monitor Your Brand Online
Tracking what people say about your business anywhere online sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? However, it’s well worth the effort.
Here are a few ways brand monitoring benefits your business:
- It helps identify problems in your business so you can fix them.
- It shows you how customers feel about your business so you can better serve them.
- It enables you to respond to complaints or negative reviews before they get out of hand.
- It ensures you maintain a consistent, positive image everywhere your customers engage with your business.
Establish Your Brand
Take a proactive approach toward managing your brand online by being intentional about the image you create.
1. Develop a diversified online presence. The more places your business has a presence online, the less one or two negative reviews or comments will affect your overall reputation. Your online presence should include:
- A mobile-friendly website using responsive design
- Company and executive profiles on relevant social media sites
- Listings on relevant ratings and review sites
- Listings on relevant local search directories
2. Manage your personal online presence. As the business owner, your personal online presence reflects on your business, too. If other key executives are closely associated with your business’s reputation, they should also manage their online presence carefully.
3. Claim your business listing on local search directories. Many directories list bare-bones information about your business even if you haven’t claimed the listing. Take charge to ensure this information is correct and consistent across all directories. A local SEO service can help.
4. Claim your listing on ratings and review sites. Establish a presence on ratings and review sites related to your industry. For instance, a restaurant should be listed on Yelp; a plumber should be on Angie’s List.
How to Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation
1. Encourage direct contact. Customers often vent on social media or write angry reviews when they can’t get a response from a business. Reduce this risk by making it easy for customers to reach your business directly. Design your website so contact information is easy to find.
3. Respond quickly to negative feedback. Try to take the discussion offline before the complaints attract attention. Reach out to the person who’s upset, and ask them to email or call you to discuss the issue. Once the problem is resolved, be sure to post the outcome online, so others can see how you handled it.
4. Monitor mentions of your brand online. Reputation monitoring tools can help track mentions of your brand online.
- Google Alerts are free to set up and monitor the entire internet for the words you want to track.
- Hootsuite tracks mentions on social media.
- BuzzSumo monitors social media as well as specific domains, authors, and links to your site.
- The Feedback & Review service from Deluxe monitors customer feedback and reviews, plus helps you conduct customer sentiment surveys.
Use these tools to monitor mentions of your business name, your product or service name, your name, and other key executives’ names.
In today’s marketplace, every business must make online reputation management a priority. Investing a little time, effort, and money in brand monitoring will pay huge dividends.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.