Tips for Managing an Online Reputation

Whether you are tracking the conversation or not, someone is probably talking about you somewhere online. And I don’t mean that personal bad dress or tie choice you made at the last networking function, but more importantly, they are talking about your business – good, bad or indifferent.

Every week I have a client tell me that they aren’t active on social media sites because they don’t want to be open to negative comments and then have no way to respond appropriately. I tell them whether you see the comments or not they are still out there, so better to know what someone is saying then ignore them.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you think about your online reputation…

Negative reviews will continue to appear on search engine results/third party review sites, you can’t ask them to be removed, so you better have a strategy to deal with them. The key is getting more positive reviews on these sites and not to get into a screaming match with naysayers – so ask your good customers to post comments and reward them when they do so with extra holes in their punch-card or discounts. And by all means, don’t post fake positive comments. You may even go as far as to contact the person who gave a negative review individually via email, because going back and forth in public on a social media site is not ideal.

Over 80% of Americans say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. So you must take reviews and social media conversations seriously for the future of your business growth.

And while there are many social media and review sites to track, there are just as many social media dashboards that aggregate all of your sites into one and help you track traffic, comments and followers, check out HootSuite, NutshellMail and SproutSocial – they make your social media management a whole lot easier. You may not be able to just yet track a social media site visitor down to a customer buying your product, but you can set up metrics that make sense for you, i.e. growing number of followers, fans or even lead/data capture. You don’t need to hire an entire social media department if you are just starting off.

Regarding data capture and social media, just this year, email marketing giant, Constant Contact, created a tool that easily allows you to integrate lead capture efforts with Facebook – because why have fans but not their contact info? You are really using social media as another way to reach and obtain customers not just talk to them, so utilize this easy to upload data capture tool.

So bottom line, you can’t ignore reviews and social media comments, so join the conversation, develop a strategy and track what’s going on…and for the love of fashion, choose something else to wear next power breakfast!