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According to Customer Think, in a competitive business landscape, having a strong, positive online presence is a virtue for a business. A Retail Dive survey found that more than two-thirds of consumers search online before actually buying a product. In such a scenario, a business cannot risk having negative publicity. Therefore, online reputation management has turned into a necessity for businesses of all sizes today.

Maintaining a positive online reputation helps brands influence their customers in making a purchase. This is a subtle art – a brand must avoid the following factors that can significantly damage their online reputation:

Lack of Response to Online Reviews

Reviews are important criteria among customers to judge the quality of services or products offered by a brand. A BrightLocal study found that nearly 3 in 4 customers prefer to buy from a local business that has positive online reviews. While a brand cannot actually control the reviews its customers post online, it can certainly make the effort of acknowledging both positive and negative reviews.

This shows that your business cares for a customer’s appreciation, and takes their feedback seriously enough to make improvements in your products and service. Leaving reviews unanswered can make customers feel that their opinion doesn’t matter to you, turning them away.

For instance, Matthew Heil, Office Manager at Hampton Inn & Suites, Madison West found a positive review from a customer on TripAdvisor. Instead of a standard reply, Matthew chose to add a personal touch by addressing the reviewer by name, thanking them profusely, and reiterating why the hotel is a great place to stay.

Takeaways:

  • Respond to all types of reviews (positive, negative and neutral).
  • Add a personalized touch while responding.
  • Reinstate your point and try to add value to your response.

Negligible Social Media Presence

In a socially proactive digital world, ignoring social media can significantly harm your prospects of having a positive online reputation. Though social media is one of the most promising platforms for businesses to interact with customers, Clutch’s 2017 Small Business Social Media Survey found that 24% of small businesses do not use social media at all even today! Further, only 41% of businesses that use social media do so multiple times a day.

Not having an active social media presence can hamper a business’ growth prospects in the digital world. When consumers look for a brand online, they expect to know more about it through its Facebook Page or interactions on Twitter. A poor social media presence portrays a brand’s apathy that it need not interact or engage its customers.

A lot of small businesses make the mistake of abandoning social networks after a few weeks of activity. The impact – a big turn-off for potential customers who go online looking for information about the brand.

Takeaways:

  • Post regularly at times when your customers are most active online.
  • Try to engage customers by starting conversations.
  • Identify friendly brands and try establishing mutually-benefitting liaisons.

Web Copy that Doesn’t Target Your Audience

A website serves as an online storefront for a business. It follows that a website, just like the store’s façade should be attractive, meaningful and have the potential to draw customers in. Web copy is what does that. Poorly-written copy makes the customer wary of a business, its capabilities, and its seriousness.

When visitors do not find something engaging on the website, they have no problem finding the door. This, on the top of degrading your web rankings (indirectly), results in lost sales opportunities. Don’t write copy like this.