Reputation has always been important to any business. For many businesses, word of mouth and referrals from customers has been a big part of their growth strategy. Even companies with teams of salespeople and generous marketing budgets rely on their brand name and reputation to help seal their deals.
In the last few years thanks to the growth of the Internet and social media we’ve seen huge changes to how people interact with brands, and businesses that have struggled to adapt to the change of pace have seen their online reputation out of sync with their real world persona.
Businesses of every type who don’t take care of their online reputation are missing out on customers. This may sound like a bold statement, but it’s true.
Think about when you last wanted to buy something, or the last time you were looking for cinema listings or a restaurant. What about the last time you needed some information? The chances are you Googled it. Every time we need inspiration and turn to the internet what we’re really looking for is articles, videos, reviews or blogs to show us the answer, or let us know that what we’re interested in is approved or enjoyed by others too. Or the opposite!
The point is, that what we’re searching for is actually the human connection, because people want to connect with other people. We go online to share information and ideas, to find out on social media what our friends have been doing and to see what is liked, what is popular and what is newsworthy. We are connecting with other people, and brands that we like and are interested in.
This is where business reputation becomes even more important because increasingly, the businesses we are most likely to spend our money with are the ones we have the biggest emotional connection to.
When people are looking for opinions and recommendations whether it is for a dentist, lawyer, or cake shop, the online opinion will be formed by the online content that is shared by your brand well before they get to the point of considering speaking to you in person.
And no matter what kind of business you have, increasingly, we’re using online content and social connections to help us with our buying decisions. Think about the three most used websites right now – Google, Facebook and YouTube. All of these sites are about Content and Connections. So if you want your business to stand out from the crowd you should make sure that you stand out where it matters online. One of the most obvious features that can set you apart from your competitors is online reviews.
If your business has had a great offline presence but has never focused on its online presence, all it takes is one person to undo years of hard work by leaving a bad review and sharing it on social media. A bad review is someone telling the world that you don’t care about your customers and in a world where social connections are the new word of mouth, caring about what people say about you is your strongest competitive advantage.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community