Online Reputation – Protecting It
Word of mouth may be the best kind of endorsement for your business, but online reputation is your 21st century version of this. The internet is the first place that job seekers will look to work out if they could see a future for themselves with your company. It goes far beyond your own website; search engine results can make or break your online image. In a world of online reviews and customer feedback, here are a few things to consider to keep your business looking rosy to the internet-savvy job-hunter:
• Maintaining a positive ‘first page’ on Google should be top of your list. To do this, you need to increase the number of customer reviews of your company. One bad review in four looks far worse than one bad review in thirty. Establish a system whereby you regularly encourage your satisfied customers to leave a review. This can be on your own website if the technology allows or through a third party (such as www.freeindex.co.uk or local media, for example, www.bristolpost.co.uk)
• Take an active role in how your company appears online. Here you need to consider local marketing. For any awards, local sponsorship deals or functions that you feature positively at, contact the local press and ask to appear. If possible, write your own press releases and keep a blog to show that you are up to speed with what customers want and the latest developments in your sector.
• Monitor your online presence – regularly search for your own company or sector i.e. ‘great hairdressers in Wiltshire’ to see what appears. Detrimental articles or reviews can be quickly identified and dealt with – either by a counter response or by contacting the author to explore any negative experiences further.
If your customer experience is great and you are good at what you do, your online reputation should already be glowing, just make sure that the world knows about it!