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Mark Hall offers up some tips on how to manage your reputation properly

Better Business: Take your online reputation seriously

Negative mentions about a business or its products on the internet can hit a company in the balance sheet.

Mark Hall, MD of GotJuice.co.uk, is on hand with some tips to help businesses manage how they’re perceived.

Over 85 per cent of purchasers research the web for reviews and feedback before making a purchase, and 70 per cent of potential customers will not make an inquiry if they read negative mentions of a company.

Only five per cent of purchasers look beyond the first page of search results, showing how vital it is to ensure that bad reviews are kept to a minimum.

Every business should be in full control of their online reputation. When a customer searches for a company’s name or brand, the first pages from the online search results should show nothing but positive mentions. If this isn’t the case, then you will be losing out on new sales.

It is important that you search for your company name and brands on a regular basis, and respond with the right action where appropriate.

Here’s a few tips to ensure you manage your reputation properly:

Always be prepared for the worst
This could be as simple as creating profiles on all review and social platforms such as LinkedIn, Google+, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Yelp, Qype and sites relating to your industry. This will ensure you can respond quickly by putting in a process before any negativity gets out of control.

Ask for reviews
When asking for a review, it’s important that you do just that and ask for it. Don’t ask for good reviews and don’t ask until you have completed the transaction with your customer. Let the customer know that the company takes their opinions and feedback seriously and that you constantly monitor your progress to improve standards.

Become a guest author
Create relationships with industry sites and become a guest author. Ideally, the site would feature your biography and company name, and the higher quality the website the better the chances will be of the content appearing on the front page of search results.

Get your name out there
Seek out interview opportunities or if asked say ‘yes’! Any time you have an opportunity to mention your company name in a positive light it’s worth it.

Publish a book on Kindle
This is more time-consuming but well worth the effort. Not only will you and your business be seen as an authority which will result in new sales, but thanks to Amazon’s status, your author page and your book’s listing should both rank well in the search results.

Have someone ‘own’ your online reputation in-house Allocate responsibility to a team or individual within your business. For larger organisations it may be necessary to have a dedicated media-trained spokesperson who can respond to any questions with confidence.

Identify all possible risks
It is good practice to identify all possible risk scenarios that your business could face in times of a reputation crisis.

Identify your brand ambassadors
Having a list of brand ambassadors is a very effective tool for when you need a friendly face to help seed positive press – this could be bloggers, journalists, thought leaders or happy customers.

Always be listening
You must always have an ear to the ground to listen out for both negative and positive comments. Visit review platforms, search on Google News, results from major search engines, as well as analysing the latest content from Twitter. This can be a time- consuming task, and it is always more effective to use a low-cost solution such as the Got Juice Reputation Management Portal to oversee this for you.

Budget for your reputation
You may need to issue press releases, pay for advertising or engage with an online reputation management company in the event that a serious negative issue should arise. Bad press, a damning newspaper article, or one- star rating on page one of search results can really harm your business. Negative reviews are difficult to remove, so it is well worth preventing these before they happen.

Run a good business
The easiest way to ensure you don’t receive negative mentions is to simply run a good business and ensure you have a process in place to gain new reviews. By offering high quality, great service and good value, customers will praise your business and you will reap the benefits.

Mark Hall is the MD of Gotjuice.co.uk, an online reputation management company. You can find further free information at gotjuice.co.uk/blog or contact Mark on 08456 890089 or via mark@gotjuice.co.uk

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