What Can Go Wrong?
You have to manage your reputation online else someone else will. It is easy to establish a thought online and let it proliferate over time. However, it is a different ball game for businesses. If you do not keep track of your online reputation it can get distorted against your favour. When managing online reputation, take note of the following factors:
- Universal search
- Personalized search
- Enhanced search results
- Rich snippets
The World Wide Web presents a multitude of opportunities for slanderous or negative results. You have to be in control of what gets out about your business. If you do not manage your online reputation, another party can easily claim something negative about you. They can put up content, video or comments to promote competitors. Taking care of your online reputation is not as self serving. It is also a means to protect your business.
What Are The Possible Repercussions
Your online reputation affects the perception of consumers. How they view your business decides whether or not they will patronise your brand and offerings. Your online reputation affects different groups of people like:
- Business partners
- Stock holders
- Prospective employers
- Personal contacts
Failing to manage your reputation not only discourages users from patronising your business; you also drive them towards competition. It can be harder to sustain business operations with competitors growing stronger. While you can result to legal ramifications, this can be financially challenging. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
What’s the difference between large brand Singapore companies with bad reputations and smaller Singapore companies with bad reputations? The answer is simple. When it comes to larger brands, customers don’t have many alternatives. Big brand companies don’t have to worry too much about customers saying negative things about them and how it affects their marketing strategy, because they know that their options are limited.
However, in the case of smaller companies, there is a lot more competition. A few negative words could mean the end of an otherwise successful business. And this is why it’s so important that you manage your online reputation. There are many Singapore companies who don’t realise this until it’s too late.
Not only can online reputation management save your business from destruction, but it can also help you become more visible by improving your rankings.
What Can Go Wrong Online?
Your online reputation has the ability to take on a life of its own. Just like you, it has a definite identity and personality. In fact, in most cases, your reputation will actually proceed your business. And this is why many Singapore companies go to great lengths to ensure that their business is always being shown in the best light. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to create a positive reputation.
In fact, it takes the average business years to build a brand that they are proud to be associated with. But even with the best reputation, all it takes is a small blunder or one “less than productive” day to set your business back and cause issues in how the public views you. This leaves many business owners to wonder, not only how they can create a positive reputation, but also how they can go about maintaining it.
In this article, we will discuss what you can do to maintain a positive reputation as well as how it can make or break your company and digital marketing. But first, we’ll talk about where an online reputation comes from.
Where does an online reputation come from?
It’s obvious that a great reputation is very important. However, what does an online reputation originate? A couple of decades ago, Singapore businesses relied primarily on word of mouth in order to establish a great reputation. They made sure to deliver quality service in hopes that their satisfied customers would tell their family, friends, and associates how pleased they were with their experience. This was a very effective form of advertising, however as technology has advanced, word of mouth has taken on a whole new life.
Now that customers have access to social media platforms and are able to share their thoughts and opinions at any given moment and to a huge audience and on a global scale, word of mouth is now more far-reaching. With just one simple click, a customer can broadcast the details of their latest experience with you.
This can be done on several different platforms. They may express their opinions on your company blog, social media platforms, industry forums, or review websites. Wherever people have the ability to make their feelings known, these are places in which your reputation can take shape.
How to maintain a positive reputation
As you can see, no matter how much work you put into presenting the best side of your business, there is always a chance that someone could leave feedback that could be to your detriment. But luckily, there are things that you can do in order to lessen your chances of getting these types of reviews as well as lessen the impact if you do. Below are a few helpful tips.
Always keep your promises
There are a lot of Singapore businesses who guarantee that their product or service is the best. They guarantee that their customers will be 100% satisfied. And they often guarantee that if the customer is not completely satisfied that they will do everything in their power to fix the situation and make them whole. But how many of these companies actually make good on these promises?
If you want to ensure that your customers associate your business with phenomenal customers service, then you must make it your top priority to fulfill all of the promises and guarantees that you offer. In fact, it’s often better to underpromise and keep your word than overpromise and miss the mark. By operating your business in this way, you can customer trust and loyalty.
Go above and beyond
You should never over promise, but you should always strive to overdeliver. Make a promise to your customer and then surprise them by giving them much more than they actually expected. This may mean that you offer additional services or products free of charge. Perhaps upon their next visit, you tailor their experiences according to the preferences from their previous visit. This is a great way to stand out from the crowd and distinguish yourself from other businesses in your niche.
When it comes to delivering excellent customer service, there are very few things more important than being responsive. No matter what industry you’re in, your customer wants to know that you actually care about their needs and concerns. And the best way to ensure that they know this is to respond to them. Always return their calls and address any complaints or feedback they may have.
Resolve issues quickly
Whenever you receive a complaint from a customer, you need to take full responsibility. Make it a habit of not blaming your customer for the problems they are having. Instead, try to resolve the matter as quickly as you possibly can. The longer it remains unresolved, the more time the customer has to complain to others about their bad experience. Not only can you prevent the customer from doing harm to your reputation, but they will also be pleased by how swiftly you settled the matter and will be more likely to do business with your in the future. In fact, it could turn them into your number one customers.
How your reputation can make or break you
Now that we understand where your online reputation comes from and how you can maintain one that is positive, it’s time to consider how your reputation can make or break your business. This is especially the case for users who do most of their searching on Google. What people say about your business matters.
Your Reputation Can Combat Negative Reviews or Reinforce Them
When you think about your online reputation, you should consider how one point of view can affect the other. When you have more good reviews than bad, then people will tend to believe the best about your business. When you have more bad reviews than good, then people will tend to believe the worst about your business. And when each amount is even, the consumer usually makes their own judgement call based on the worst reviews.
This is why it’s so important to encourage good word of mouth. The positive reviews can help cancel out those that are negative. By taking care of your clients, they are more likely to do what they can to help you protect your brand and this really shines through in the feedback.
Your Reputation Can Lead to Further Improvement
While most Singapore business owners typically view their reputation in terms of how it affects their profits and bottom line, there are some who understand the underlying value in their daily business operations. There are times in which you may find that your reputation is not as strong as it once was. And these are the times that make you step back and take a look at your business practices.
Perhaps your competition is offering something that you’re missing. Maybe it’s time to rebrand your website. It may be time to reorganise your departments. Whatever the case, your online reputation may be just the thing that makes you realise that it’s time for a change and breathes new life into your business.
Your Reputation Can Serve as Promotion
One of the best things about an online reputation is that this content, meaning the reviews, comments, and feedback, are user-generated. Not only is this great in terms of SEO and impressing the search engines, but it can also be an advertisement for your business. People want to know that they can trust you. When they see that other customers have tried your products, it acts as social proof.
Your Reputation Can Attract Talent
If you are interested in hiring the top talent in your industry, then your reputation can go a long ways towards ensuring that you find the best. Just as consumers are doing research into the companies that they make purchases from, potential employees are doing research into the companies they would like to work for. The more positive things they see if your brand, the more likely they are to apply to your job listings.
Your Reputation Positions You as a Leader
Perhaps the most important way in which your online reputation can make or break you is when it comes to your influence. The more positive things people say about your business, the more it denotes trust. And the more trust you have from your customers, the more authority your brand will earn. Authority is especially important when it comes to search engines like Google who base a considerable amount of their ranking decisions on how much of an industry leader or influencer your brand is.
So now we know what is important in online reputation management, let’s discuss 10 SOPs your Singapore business should have.
Develop A Twitter Account
What surprising is that there are a lot of businesses who struggle with their reputation, but these same Singapore companies don’t have a Twitter account. Either that or the one that they have is extremely underdeveloped. And in many cases, these accounts don’t even link to their websites.
What business owners need to understand is that Twitter should be a standard part of your business. It’s great for name searches. The key is to set the account up properly. Your Twitter account should rank on page 1 when someone searches for your name in Google. The best case scenario is that Google embeds a few of your most recent tweets below your listing.
Develop a Facebook Page
Just as is the case with Twitter, if your account is set up properly, your Facebook Page can rank highly in Google. Make sure that your Page features your photo, name, location, website and a description of your business and the services and products that you provide. Engage your audience so that your number of followers grow. Also, make sure to post regular updates.
Launch and nurture a YouTube channel
If your company is without a Youtube channel, then you should launch one as soon as possible. If you already have a channel but it’s not optimised, then you need to optimise it as soon as possible. Create a posting schedule in which you release at lead one video per month.
Make sure that each video is optimised. The video should have a great title and description. Remember that Youtube is the second largest search engine worldwide. You want your video to be discovered. In fact, Google often shows favour to Youtube videos in their search results. The more videos you create, the more content you have to rank.
Ideally, you are confident enough in your employees to act as ambassadors for your brand. You trust in their ability to be on the front line when it comes to communication. Empower your employees to be able to speak for you. Create guidelines and offer training about things that they should and shouldn’t say.
You can also coach your employees on how to network and optimise their own social media presence. Have them update their LinkedIn profile so that they can be associated with your business. Invite them to connect with your brand’s profile on Facebook and Twitter. All of this will help with their rankings and yours.
Manage the online presence of key employees
In many cases, Singapore brands are closely tied to a high profile individual. Unfortunately, if this individual’s reputation suffers, then so does that of the company. So it’s a good idea to oversee this individual’s online reputation. Encourage these individuals to create a presence online–specifically on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and personal websites, and LinkedIn.
Your employee may have a longing for privacy, but this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have some form of an online presence. This is especially true for people who have unique names. Without an online profile, this person becomes an easy target for people who are disgruntled.
Make it easy for people to find out who’s behind your brand
One of the quickest ways to make your company look untrustworthy is to show no sign as to who is running the site. If you don’t feel secure enough to put a few names of people on your site, then why should your target audience trust you? When someone first visits your site, they should be able to look at the “About Us” or “Team” page and see the names of actual people listed there.
If you want to make the experience even more personalised, you should include a few photos of human faces. This is a great way to establish credibility because people will know that if they have any trouble they’ll be able to get in touch with real people. Showing human faces also allows you to prepare your audience for a spokesperson or brand ambassador.
Launch a press kit
A press kit can be a great way to crowdsource your reputation. Use high-quality videos and photo. This will encourage others to post articles about your business. You can make it even easier by including fact sheets, timelines, photos, and logos. Add a Creative Commons license to these elements so that people will not feel obligated to contact you and get your permission to use your media.
Optimise Google My Business
There are Singapore companies that ignore their Google Maps presence altogether. However, there are several advantages to keep up with it. First, it increases the amount of information there is about you in Google’s search results. And this ensures that your company takes up more real estate.
Another key advantage is that it leads to more search opportunities. You see, when your business is listed with Google My Business, it means that it will be associated with similar categories. This means that whenever someone searches for your type of business they will likely see yours as an option.
Work on increasing positive reviews
Surprisingly, there are several Singapore business owners who are uncomfortable about asking their customers for reviews. The problem is, the less reviews you have, the more weight even one bad review can have. By accumulating a large number of reviews, your potential customer can assume that one or two bad reviews were just isolated incidents.
So ask for reviews. The best way to go about it is to ask your most satisfied customers. Just keep in mind that every review aggregate has different rules. For instance, Yelp has a rule that business owners should not ask for reviews.
Review and improve your policies
If you truly want to avoid a negative outcome, then you need to improve your performance. It all starts with your company. Are your services and sales processes free of hiccups? Does your company seem to accumulate complaints regularly? If so, you need to find ways in which you can improve your customer service. Do away with any procedure or policy that is causing friction between you and the customers.
You should also take time to educate your customers on ways that they can best avoid a crisis. In this way, your customers will know that you are looking out for their best interests, even before you receive a complaint. Survey your customers to find out how you can render better service.
Bonus tip: You should also consider using traditional public relations strategies. They can help your customers to build their identity. Write a book about your niche. Get in touch with the press so that they can do stories about interesting things your brand may be associated with. Become a sponsor for a local event.
A key part to ensuring that your digital marketing campaign is a success is to manage your reputation. And there are several SOP’s that companies should have. Most of them involve being proactive, not reactive.
You can manage your reputation online through professional SEO and marketing agencies. They can help keep tabs on how the online market reacts to your brand. You can also control the type of materials pertaining to your brand and business. Established SEO and reputation management companies like MediaOne Business Group can help you manage your brand online.