Do you know what your customers post about your startup on the internet?
Because what people write and post about your startup online has a direct impact on your startup.
Reputation management is the process of shaping public perception of your brand by influencing online information. In simple words, how you manage your startup’s reputation on the internet is reputation management.
When you respond to a customer complaint on Twitter -- you’re involved in managing your brand’s reputation.
See how JetBlue is assisting one of its customers on Twitter.
It's not just they replied -- but they replied quickly. This shows how concerned JetBlue is about its customers. The reply feels like they are "feeling" what their customer is feeling and actually trying to help them.
That’s how you manage your reputation online by turning unfavorable mentions into opportunities and creating positive favorable reviews and content -- and feelings.
For instance, you can ask existing customers to share your product with their friends on social networks or you can ask your customers to leave a review about your business or you can contact an angry customer who posted a thread in a forum about your product.
There are so many ways businesses handle reputation online.
But the question is:
Why should your startup focus on reputation management specifically?
Why not improve customer services or initiate a marketing campaign to improve brand awareness?
Why reputation management?
Here are a few reasons to invest and focus specifically on reputation management.
1. Generate sales
What’s the biggest challenge that your startup is facing right now?
If your answer is generating more sales, you need reputation management to drive sales.
This is the most powerful reason why your startup should focus on reputation management without a second thought. Nothing is more important than generating sales and getting new clients, right?
Research shows that 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a brand and these online reviews impact 68 percent of purchasing decisions.
Imagine if a potential buyer runs a query about your startup in Google and he sees no results or he gets to see all negative reviews?
That’s where reputation management rescues your startup.
It doesn’t hurt asking your customers to post a review on a review website, Google Maps, or any website so that your target audience will be able to find reviews about your startup easily.
This doesn’t end here.
You have to manage and respond to all the negative reviews as well. If a customer posted a negative review, reach out to him, and offer help and try getting the issue solved.
This will send positive signals to potential customers about your startup -- that your company cares and will never leave customers to deal with issues all alone. Your company is there to help.
2. Better customer services.
When Buffer was down for several hours, "the Leo" personally responded to customer tweets.
Reputation management can make your customers fall in love with your brand. It makes your customers happy. What happens when your customers get happy?
A single happy customer brings as much as 9 referrals on average.
When 86 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, your startup shouldn’t ignore reputation management. If you’re not serious about rep management, your customers will keep posting complaints on social networks without getting any reply from you.
So your startup should have at least one team member who should be responsible for managing customer queries on third-party websites and social networks.
It isn’t all about responding to customer queries when it comes to improving customer services -- but you should have a powerful in-house maintenance system that will help you make your responses meaningful.
If your website is down for maintenance and your support team has no clue about it, the responses won’t sync -- which will send a negative signal to your customers.
You need to track maintenance operations and it should be integrated with your CRM. Statistics show that 53 percent of businesses use CMMS to track maintenance operations while 52 percent use in-house spreadsheets.
Depending on the nature of your business, you can choose a relevant maintenance tracking strategy to keep your customer support, rep management, and sales team synchronized.
3. Increase in revenue.
Yes, reputation management has a significant impact on your startup’s revenue. According to Moz, when a potential customer finds a negative article about a business in Google search, the business risk losing 22 percent of business while 2 negative articles on the first page risk losing 44 percent of customers.
Some 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business. Every one-star increase in Yelp rating means 9 percent increase in business revenue.
The equation is simple.
When people see something negative about your business on the internet, they won’t buy from you and when they will see something positive, they will trust you.
Your job is to influence negative articles and bad reviews about your startup in a way that these negatives become your startup’s positive points.
There are several ways to influence or manage negative reviews and/or content.
- Join the conversation.
- Highlight your startup’s positive aspects.
- Contact the customer who posted the article/review and offer help.
See how the Virgin Mobile is actively involved in social listening where customer didn’t mention Virgin Mobile but they responded back on the same day and converted a complaint into a positive review.
Here is the deal:
You need to constantly scan for all the negative reviews because a lot of customers won’t mention you on Twitter or tag you on Facebook. This is one easy way to deal with negative reviews.
You cannot get rid of all the negative reviews about your startup so you should focus on what you can control: The positive reviews and favorable content.
Encourage your existing customers to share your content with their friends on their social networks and ask them to leave a review. You can reach out to highly engaged and satisfied customers through email and ask them to share their views in the form of a review or a short excerpt.
You should make sure that there isn’t any negative article about your startup on Google’s first page. If you cannot remove the one negative review that’s already posted -- you should seek help from your engaged customers for help. These customers can add positive engagement or articles and try pushing the negative comment past the first page.
This is one easy rule to increase revenue without messing with a marketing campaign.
If your startup can generate more sales, increase its revenue, and improve customer services with reputation management, that is a pretty good deal.
The best thing about reputation management is that it will make your startup trustworthy and credible with the passage of time. The more time you invest in rep management, the better it is for your company.
Even if you don’t get to see any results instantly -- don’t stop taking care of and watching over your site. This little extra time is a long-term strategy that will definitely pay for itself.