When your business is small or just getting started, your online presence will be a limited one. The first couple of times that you search for your business, you might even be disappointed that no one is talking about you.
But as you grow, you will quickly find that potential customers are in fact discussing you and more importantly, searching for what others have said about you.
So, you need to be aware of what is said about your business and manage what is seen at the top of the search results. Why?
A Message to Customers
Potential customers will almost always research online companies they want to purchase from. The users will either search for product reviews or read up on the reputation of the company. Then they will be looking at price comparisons and how the company stands among competitors.
Studies have shown that nowadays 80 to 90 % of consumers will associate the quality of the product with the reviews they have found, and over two thirds of consumers will take action after reading a positive review.
Prospective customers will be far more likely to do business with you if they find positive reviews from peers that have already purchased from you.
A Message to Business Partners
Especially when starting small, there will come a time when you start forming business partnerships or attract investors.
The first thing a potential business partner will do is search online for your company. There might not be a lot as you are growing, but what they find could easily make or break a deal. Similarly for established businesses, a positive online reputation will only increase the chances of a successful collaboration.
A Message to Media
Having coverage from journalists and bloggers is always a good sign. It means your business is attracting attention and media coverage will send visitors to your website and build your credibility as a business.
However, just like positive publicity can boost your reputation, negative PR can quickly dismantle it. Your business has to be aware of brand mentions in the media, in the online world and address conflicts or complaints as quickly as possible.
A Message to Employees
Finally online reputation management will help you attract better talent. Recruitment is a two-way street and just as you choose a hire, the applicants also choose you. There are online platforms like Glassdoor that makes it possible for employees and potential candidates to profile the quality of a company as an employer.
Negative feedback from former employees will limit the number of people applying for jobs at your company and you might miss on top talent as a result.