Why Your Business Needs Online Reputation Management.

There once was a time when online reputation management services were considered superfluous and unnecessary. Many businesses thought the need to manage their online reputation was a bad business decision and something not worth investing in. Many of these businesses went about their daily business completely unaware of the power that the internet had given to the average consumer.
With the advent of Twitter, consumers began to demand things of the businesses that they bought from. Large corporations were forced to become more transparent in their customer service dealing and small businesses were given the opportunity to prove themselves based on merit alone.
When review sites like Yellowpages and Yelp hit the internet scene, those companies that continued to ignore the need for online reputation management services began to suffer. More and more clients, customers and consumers filled these review sites with nasty, negative and revealing testimonials of these companies. The consumer empowerment revolution had started and those businesses caught ignoring the need for reputation management services suffered the most.
The Power Of Reputation
Why should you care what people say about you online? If you are busy running your business, why do you need to worry about what someone said about you on Yelp?
The answer to these questions lies in one of the most powerful selling tactics known to modern industry: social proofing.
Most consumers buy what their friends buy. This has been a long known fact in the business world, but what is it that makes it true? Without delving too much into the psychology of selling, let’s examine the why behind purchasing decisions.
Human beings are social creatures. It is the social nature of our species that has allowed us to adapt and overcome many obstacles. Deeply engrained in our natures is the need for social affirmation before we do anything. This need for social affirmation extends far beyond our friendly encounters with others, human beings make large life decisions, sometimes without regard to rationality, based solely on this aspect of social affirmation.
The same holds true for individuals making purchases and interacting with businesses online. Users want to “see” that others are socially affirming a business before they proceed. Just taking a look at the popularity of sites like Yelp shows you just how real and powerful social proofing is.
Managing Your Social Proof
One of the most powerful and easily recognizable examples of social proofing can be found in the restaurant industry.
How many times have you been to a restaurant simply because your friend said they liked it? Now think about how many times you have avoided a restaurant simply because of the reviews that you either read or heard about from your social circle.
Multiply this same example by the power of the internet and mass connectivity, and you can begin to see the trouble that your business might be in if you start ignoring online reputation management.
Imagine running a business successfully in the offline world only to be run out of business simply because a few negative reviews were left on Yellowpages.
Managing your online reputation requires more than just having a profile on these review sites. Aggressive reputation management includes the act of collecting and updating positive reviews. Building your social brand and starting a stream of positive reviews.
Conclusion
To compete in today’s market you need the added edge of being online. In order to make sure that your online presence is one that builds your business and not one that tears it down, start taking action to managing your online reputation today!

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5 Tips To Creating And Managing Your Online Reputation

Many people believe that controlling your online reputation is next to impossible. Unfortunately, this means that many businesses are left to fend for themselves in a way that they do not fully understand and trying to battle an unfair disadvantage in the online reputation management world.

 This article will give you five simple tips to taking control of your online reputation while building your online brand and attracting customers.

#1 – Find out where you are today.
The human brain works in a very funny way. Most people’s brains either overreact or under react to certain situations. If you’re a business owner you may have seen one or two negative reviews and feel that the sky is falling in on you. Fortunately, it isn’t. But not being completely clear about where you stand in the online reputation world can and will negatively affect your business even if you are in good and positive standing.

What do I mean by this? Even if you have 100% positive reviews you run the risk of not being able to capitalize, and therefore lose money, on this positive reinforcement of your brand. If you have no idea that there are people online saying great things about you, you miss the opportunity to leverage this type of customer support.
It is requisite that you take the time to research your current online reputation status. A simple search on Google.com or some of the secondary review sites will quickly give you an idea of what people are saying about your business.

#2 – Make a list of things to change.
No business has a perfect online reputation. You may have negative reviews, or you may have no reviews at all. If you have negative reviews then you need to make a list of things that you’re going to do to gather more positive ones.

If you don’t have any reviews at all, then perhaps you need to set up a review funnel within your business model that will extrapolate the reviews that you so desperately need.

Either way, sit down and make a list of how you’re going to go about fixing your online reputation.

#3 – Find out what people love about you.
Not every business can be everything to everybody. As a business owner you probably already learned that lesson the hard way. The same holds true for doing business online. Not every business owner, or business for that matter, has a fantastic writer on staff that can produce amazing blog posts.

Not every business has access to a designer or video creator to produce multimedia content to be promoted across the web. Regardless of what you do or do not have, it is important to take stock of the parts of the web that you can make contributions to.
If you have an iPhone, you can easily record home type movies about your business and post them onto YouTube for more exposure. Find out what parts of your business you can use to shine in the online world.

#4 – Set up a strategy.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Don’t just take the shotgun approach in your online reputation management campaign. You need to sit down and pinpoint the very steps that you’re going to take both in the off-line world, by asking your customers for reviews, and in the online world by aggressively building your reputation.

Without a strategy you might begin to mix messages that you had not originally intended on mixing. This mixed message signal can in fact hurt your online brand. The purpose of online reputation management is to build your brand not destroy it.

#5 – Execute.
While it may be true that the failure to plan is detrimental, lack of execution is even worse. As a business owner you know that business is 99% execution and 1% fancy ideas. Once you have come up with a strategy, you need to implement as soon as possible. Because of the disconnected nature of a business owner’s relationship with much of what goes on in the web, it will be easy for you to let your online reputation management campaign drift to the back of your to do list.

Make sure that you do the things necessary to make it your online reputation management campaign a priority. Social proof is incredibly powerful, and something that you should not put off because eventually it will cost your business money.