Steps To Managing Your Online Reputation
An online reputation refers to how people perceive your company, product, or services on digital platforms.
Mr. Richards is hanging out with some of his friends. They’re watching TV and drinking soda. Carefully, the discussion shifts to business and one of them complain that he’s up to his neck in office work and how he never knew the company would grow this fast in months. “The whole IT stuff is confusing and tiring”, he sighs.
Richards immediately comes to the rescue. He laughs and tells him he doesn’t have to do all the work himself and advises that he gets an IT service to do it all for him. It’s cheaper and far safer too.
His friend sees the sense in it but just as he’s about to chew on it more, Richards tells him not to go for XYZ company because they’re all talk and no work. “Believe me, we learned that the hard way”, he shakes his head but continues. “And don’t even try PDS company, those are outright thieves in daylight. I’d recommend Shark IT services, that’s what my company uses but you know what let’s just check out a few. You never know”.
There’s silence as they each whip out their phones and type in their keywords. They go straight for an article with a list of great IT services and one by one they tap on different sites. Soon, they are making choices and comparing. They read the reviews too. “Hey, you’re right Shark IT Services appears in all the recommendations”, says one.
Soon they’re all into Shark IT websites and like what they see. One friend who had only been going along for the ride sees something on Shark IT services and remembers he needs to stop postponing getting securing his cyber network. So he decides to get on with it immediately before he regrets it. So, he clicks on the free consultation…
Did the story sound familiar? It should. Many of us use the internet to find solutions to our problems and only make choices after careful screening. Richard’s suggestion combined with what the internet told them was what convinced that group of friends at the end of their choice.
In this article, we will be showing you steps to help you achieve what the Shark IT service was able to do. So stick with us till the end. Here’s the first step:
How to Manage Your Online Reputation
Set Achievable Goals
We never encourage any success inclined person to go for anything without first setting goals. How else would you measure your success? How would you know the right place to place your foot?
In this same way, if you’re thinking of improving or managing your online reputation without having a clear goal then this is the first place to start. Try to see if you can provide answers to these questions:
-“What do I want to achieve with my online presence?”
– “How do I want to be perceived by the consumers?”
– “What three words do I want my customers and prospective client to have in mind immediately they come in contact with my company online?”
First setting goals is important because maintaining a good online reputation will take a lot of effort on your part, creativity, and brainpower. In the long run, you will also have to invest finances if you wish for a boom.
Taking all these into consideration, it’s not what you should jump into because “everyone” is doing it. No, the question is what do YOU want to achieve with it.
Ensure you are Visible
At this point, we must point out that managing your online reputation means you should have an online presence. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, website, whatever appeals to you, compliments your product, and announces you to the e-community is acceptable.
Your online presence should be carefully crafted and represent all that is you (product). If you choose to use Instagram it should be intentional and logical.
The 21st century is incubating more people into the global world. The covid 19 pandemic was more proof to people why they should take their business online and many have done so.
We suggest having a website as it speaks of professionalism. Internet users browse through the internet swiftly with a mental picture of what they want, giving only drops of their attention to one particular thing for a while.
First, ensure you are amongst those that can be seen. Using the right colour and contents, you can then draw people in and keep them. We’ll explain how to do this soon.
Ease of Access
If you want to have a good online reputation, a strategy to implement should be ensuring that your customers can have smooth and easy access to you.
Don’t invest in cheap websites that crash or confuse your customers. Few have the patience to wait and those that do might not return for the next trial.
Set up your platform in a way that points users directly to what they’re looking for. You may entice them to do more than they planned to. Using the Shark IT example above, one of the men did not plan to patronize any service but because of how easy the one-click consultation was, he was convinced to give it a trial.
Also, websites that invest in good search plugins will do better than others when customers discover how easily they can find what they want amongst tantalizing choices.
Be Responsive/Active on Your Online Platforms
It’s one thing to set up an online presence and quite another to be active on it. There are many social media pages and websites where you can feel the staleness once you get into them.
Their last post sometimes shows more than 3months ago and some over 12months. How crazy! Stale messages, questions, or posts are a big put-off for many customers. It makes you look unserious.
There’s no viable excuse why this should be. If you can’t handle being responsive to your audience on your online platforms, then you should not be there at all or try employing a social media manager.
Quick response makes the customer feel appreciated and valued. Response time of companies is usually a deciding factor in the choice of prospective clients.
Have a Platform to Recieve Feedback
Setting up an official email account is a good step. You need to be able to sort through the information coming in quickly. Some websites include star ratings with an opportunity to write brief feedback.
This method will help you to be informed about your customers’ perception of your products. Do they enjoy your services? Will they like to return? Will they refer another? It also helps you know how to proffer solutions when you notice similar complaints from different sources and satisfy them again.
Not everybody will be responsive to giving feedback but some will and those words will prove valuable because the reviews work both ways.
Uploading the positive and strong ones to your websites or social media pages adds to your credibility. It speaks more volumes than if you’re only asking for their trust. Clients trust other customers’ reviews more than the promises of the company. After all, who does not endorse their product?
Better still, they may just find a review that affirms exactly what they’re looking for and it’ll be an extra nudge towards your offer.
In order not to remain stagnant or become deluded that you’re still thriving while others have progressed, you must always go into research.
The internet is ever-evolving as more discoveries are made, it gets improved. The competition in the marketplace means that everyone is always looking for ways to rise above their peers. You cannot be left out.
You need to know your audience, and how they think and respond to you. What makes them tick. Remember you are where you are because of these customers. Your product or services exist because of the customers. The moment they stop being your main focus, you’ll begin to lose touch.
Constant analysis of these audiences has even been known to birth solutions and products that even the audience themselves never knew they had trouble with.
Honesty and Integrity
This is the bedrock on which every thriving reputation rests. You must convince people that you are trustworthy and reliable. Standing firm on values that can set you apart.
Dishonesty or any form of deception like exaggerations, downplaying or outright lying will not breed loyalty for you in anyone’s heart but instead, surely return to bite you.
Once, I ordered clothing from an online retail store but what I received looked drastically different from what was in the picture and the company had no return policy. To complicate the situation, I needed that cloth for an event that week.
Later, the same thing happened to two other friends. What they received looked so different from what they ordered. That was it. We never ordered anything from them again no matter how enticing it looked. Even unsubscribing from their catalog to prevent unnecessary temptations and “scams” as we called it.
Did it end there? No. We told other friends not to use that particular store for clothes shopping especially if it’s an emergency to avoid regrets.
Imagine how this negative information would quietly be creeping around to others. With time, their reputation was a mess. Thankfully, the store was able to slowly rebrand and is currently doing well.
We are not saying you cannot portray your services to look appealing to customers. Of course, you should but when you over exaggerate, then it nudges towards deception.
Analyze your reliability as a provider. Do you deliver on time? Do you deliver quality? Do you charge outrageous amounts for products? These are all things to consider.
Release Creative Content
What people want is to get the best value for their available budget and the competition out there fighting for the attention of your target audience is simply brutal.
Your content should be quality. Go the extra mile if need be. Give interesting product reviews, and explain the different spheres of your products and how beneficial they are. Use beautiful and interesting pictures and colour mix to set you apart from others.
Folding your hands and only offering payment for value will not set you apart but offering creative content is one way of promoting your brand. Let’s call it giving back to “society”.
More companies have attached blogs to their websites, while others use social media pages and posts. There they discuss and teach content closely related to their products. You can call it “free” information but what they’re really doing is carving themselves as professionals in their fields and many times it works.
For instance, a dentistry hospital would write about teeth-related problems and how to solve them. As you learn, they drop buttons that can take you straight to their consultancy immediately if you desire to. A cooking oil company would discuss more on health-related matters.
Some create free communities that ensemble like-minded individuals. These people are learning from the establishment, where do you think would be their first point of call when they require that particular product or service? You guessed right.
You must keep doing what you’re doing. Nothing comes easy. Trying to establish an online presence and managing your online reputation will take a lot of effort. That’s why our first point implored you to set goals. As you progress more will begin to trust you and bring you more referrals.