Image credit (BBB/Getty)

Image credit (BBB/Getty)

by Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest
 

A business’s reputation is more important than ever, especially online. With 97 percent of consumers checking online reviews before buying a product, now is the time for businesses to take control of their digital reputation.

Sound overwhelming? Don’t fret. The good news is that you can take simple steps today to control your online reputation and fuel your business growth.

Research shows the average consumer needs to see 10 positive reviews before they trust a business.

Knowing this, the question becomes: How does a business generate more reviews to tap into this digital word of mouth marketing?

It all comes down to a strategy.

Determine your business’s current digital reputation.

The first step in a successful strategy is to determine where to start. With a solid understanding of where a business’s reputation stands, it becomes easier to envision what growth and optimization will look like.

Every thriving business should know and understand its customers' needs in order to survive and grow. Are they receiving service and products that are leaving them satisfied? What steps are being taken to ensure businesses are listening and assisting dissatisfied customers? By monitoring how people are responding to a business, you can identify the sentiments of customers.

This process can be done with a survey to customers, calling and interviewing the most loyal customers, or even utilizing listening software to aggregate reviews and mentions. Be sure to visit popular review sites to gauge feedback, from sites like Better Business Bureau, Google and Yelp.

Monitor and respond to all mentions.

Speaking of mentions, it’s not always going to be positive. However responding to questions, reviews, and mentions IS a form of customer service. Consider this: About one-third of all customer complaints are never answered, and a large percentage of those complaints are lodged via social media.

Sometimes, getting a response is enough to completely change someone’s perception of a brand, even if they are in the process of filing a complaint. Being willing to listen and work with a customer towards a resolution is something that many businesses fail. This can make all the difference when attracting repeat business and enticing new customers.

Beyond that, using social media responses to answer audience questions, and share excitement with genuinely happy customers is a great way to foster the relationship between those customers and a business’ brand.

Craft a story around your customers.

User success stories are your greatest asset - even more than the newest product video ad or expertly written copy.

Sometimes the best approach in marketing is to turn to the people who love the product the most, and ask them to tell the story of the brand.

In fact, asking for a testimonial may not even be necessary. Within reviews, comments, and mentions, a business may already have a wealth of content from users who have been delighted by the products and services already.

Highlight the positive experiences customers have and share these stories. This content will show an engagement level that will encourage people to share their own stories and positive experiences. Additionally, anyone who is led to a website or social media page won’t have to look very far for a user review, which we already know they are looking for.

Make reputation management a top priority.

A brand’s reputation matters.

Take control of it today by learning how Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest’s resources and accreditation can excel your brand and positive reputation.

Reputation management can be a funnel for new content and new business. It starts with listening and engaging with customers. Work with them, be inspired by them, and let their words and stories inspire others.