10 Tips For Small Businesses On Managing Business Online
You can spend all the money in the world to perfect your brand’s image, but if you don’t deliver on what your brand promises, your reputation will suffer. Your brand has a reputation, just as all others do. It’s based on the sum of what people think, say and tell others about you. Unfortunately, not all small businesses do a good job of managing their reputation. They think that only brands that get into trouble require online reputation management. But this isn’t the case. All brands need to monitor their online presence, and it starts with these ten tips.
1. Establish a Blog
Maintain a blog that you contribute to weekly. A blog is good for SEO purposes and for establishing yourself as a thought leader. It can also be used to address feedback from customers.
2. Set Up Social Media Profiles
Set up profiles on the major social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Have a social media marketing strategy in place that details your plans for posting on the sites. Consistency is key.
3. Design a Professional Website
It may be tempting to create your own website with all the free templates out there, but DIY always looks, well, DIY. Pay the cost to get a professional website created to improve the user experience.
4. Claim Your Listings
Claim your listings and make sure all information is updated and accurate. Reviews can be left on any of these sites, so keep an eye on what people are saying about you. Remember – anyone can read these reviews, so you want to take them seriously and provide prompt feedback if necessary.
5. Check Brand Mentions
People share their opinions on social media, so make sure you regularly check mentions of your brand on the different channels. A social media dashboard like HootSuite can help keep things in order. Another place where people leave feedback is on the comments section of your blog. Monitor these posts and keep the conversation going by responding to questions and feedback.
5. Invest in SEO
Do a search to see how your brand appears in the SERPs. If you only have a handful of links at the top of the page, don’t get complacent. Your goal is to take full advantage of your SERP. Invest in search engine marketing to get yourself where you need to be.
6. Run Pilot Online Marketing Campaigns
Take some time to run pilot online marketing campaigns to see what kind of ROI they generate. There are many ways to target the right demographics for your business, and online advertising is very measurable.
7. Be Approachable
Many customers won’t jump to social media to share their problems as a first step. Instead, they try to resolve the issue with the company in private, so be accessible and easy to approach through email, phone or a private message.
8. Use Online Reputation Management Tools
To get email notifications when Google discovers new results about your brand, use Google Alerts. Tools like Social Mention and Topsy are also helpful in detecting what’s being said about your brand.
9. Thank and Reward Customers
Customers love to be recognized. Thank your customers for their loyalty and reward them with discounts, free shipping and sneak peeks of new products. This encourages more reviews, more engagement and more positive praise.
10. Create a Crisis Plan
Have a social media crisis management plan in place in case things go sour. It should include how you plan to prevent a problem, the monitoring of brand mentions and responding quickly to negative feedback.