“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” – Warren Buffett
The first order of business is to bust the myths surrounding a digital reputation.
- “That’s why I stay away from social media, so I don’t have to worry about an online reputation.”
Honestly, do people still think like this in 2020? Unfortunately, yes. Avoiding social media and even skipping the whole company website scene doesn’t mean you’ll have no online rep. And such backward thinking robs a business of the vast opportunities an online presence can offer.
- “Oh, people know that half of what’s on the internet isn’t true, and the rest of it is wildly exaggerated.”
Folks who believe this statement need to retire their antiquated thinking and get with the program. Reviews have never been more popular or trusted.
- “We are a reputable company. There’s no reason in the world that anything negative would ever be linked to us—online or otherwise.”
Oh, if only that were true. But it’s not. Striving for and even achieving a stellar reputation does not protect an organization from an unwarranted talk, reviews, or rumors that can damage not only a pristine reputation but future sales.
Every item that connects to your company, whether posted by you – or someone else – makes an impact on your digital footprint. Ignoring this aspect of our social media world, doesn’t change it.
Now, for the facts.
- Internet users grow by an average of more than one million persons every day, according to We Are Social and Hootsuite’s Global Digital report (2019).
We are both addicted to the convenience of and dependent upon the instant nature of available information.
- People consult the internet before buying practically anything. From shoes and sporting equipment to dishwashers, from flooring to tools to automobiles. Before choosing where to have dinner, with which airline to fly, and with which vacation resort to book reservations, folks scour the internet for reviews. The same goes for services, whether it be for home or car repair, medical care, or staffing services.
Studies show 90% of consumers browse online reviews before visiting a business, scoping out reviews. It’s a no-brainer—the more positive reviews, the more sales.
- Like it or not, a business’s identity unequivocally intertwines with their presence on the internet
All these realities demand that “online reputation management” be a vital concern, one that’s given much consideration. Why? Because a negative online presence can have significant adverse effects on any organization. And, because the opposite is true, that a positive online presence can be extremely advantageous.
So, how does an organization make that happen? These strategies will get the ball rolling.
Monitor for both threats and opportunities
Don’t stick your head in the sand. Pay attention to both opportunities to magnify positive reviews and ways to defuse threats to your reputation. A close eye will alert company leadership to a threat before it impacts everything from sales to nosediving morale to employee retention. By responding in real-time, you become much more effective in turning those threats into a positive via a respectful, problem-solving approach. Saying thank you to the positive opportunities reiterates the comment.
Manage social media accounts for well-known individuals within the organization
When the company’s identity strongly connects with individuals—founders, owners, executives—the business would do well to produce and manage online accounts, such as LinkedIn, in the names of these influential individuals.
Cultivate positive online reviews
These days, word-of-mouth recommendations have a close contender: online reviews. We already know that folks eat up personal-experience scenarios. Hands down, delivering outstanding customer service alongside an excellent product/service is the very best way to garner positive reviews. Consider offering an incentive to satisfied customers who leave reviews. Make mention to happy clients how much reviews are appreciated and benefit the company. But resist the temptation to purchase them.
Adopt a plan for handling negative reviews
Negative reviews are an unwelcome fact of life. They have or will occur for every organization at some point. The way management responds, determines the long-term impact. Consider the P.L.A.D. approach.
- Personally respond. Complaints splashed across social media need to be addressed.
- Listen to the complaint or criticism, attentive to legitimate areas where improvement can happen.
- Apologize for the error, mistreatment, misunderstanding, etc. Genuinely.
- Do not argue. Restrain from responding with a defensive tone. Should the situation escalate, take the discussion offline. Never publicly debate with a disgruntled customer.
When it comes to online marketing strategies, ASJ Partners does it all. From website development to customizing a social media presence to email marketing and everything in between, ASJ’s comprehensive marketing strategies will put your staffing firm top of mind. Contact our team of experts today.