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The 5 Core Steps to Online Reputation Management

If you are not ready to hire an online reputation management company after yesterday’s blog post, Wednesday’s webinar on 12 Surefire Ways to Protect Your Reputation While Promoting Your Business will provide a wealth of information on online reputation management (ORM), but it comes down these 5 core principles:

  1. Listen to what your customers are saying
  2. Contribute to the conversation
  3. Delight customers by exceeding expectations
  4. Collect feedback, referrals, & testimonials
  5. Plan how you will respond before you need to

There will be more details on the webinar, but here’s a preview of some of the information that will be covered.

Listening to your customers can be done in a ton of different ways-online, offline, automated, manual, but regardless of how the information comes to you, make sure you listen to your customers. I’m not just talking about looking at the posts that your customers make on your Facebook page or what they are tweeting about you. Listen to what they say when they are in your establishment. Don’t be afraid to engage them when they come in, ask them how you can improve your product or service. And when you do this, show them you are listening by writing down what they say. Asking the question does not help you if you are not actually interested in the answer. Even if its something that you’ve already explored and can’t implement or that you don’t think will work, thank them for their input. Your online reputation management should also include always responding to any social media mention, comment, compliment or criticism in a timely fashion. That shows that you are not only paying attention to your social media presence, but you are listening to your fans.

That of course leads us to the next core principle to online reputation management: contribute to the conversation. This is not just about answering your fans on Facebook. It’s about having your own blog, writing articles, demonstrating your authority in your industry. Once you are an expert in your field, don’t be shy about sharing your expertise with whoever will listen. If you’re comfortable with public speaking, look for opportunities to share your message live. If that’s not your thing, make sure you blog regularly, use your strengths to your advantage and do it regularly.

The third core principle, in my mind, should go without saying, but if you can go above and beyond to delight your customers by exceeding their expectations, then by all means do so. Customers are more likely to share unexpectedly good service than they would if the service was just up-to-par. One way you can do this is learn your customer’s names so when they come in the door you can greet them personally. Making people feel at home is a great way to keep them coming back.

Collecting feedback, referrals and testimonials are absolutely critical to protecting and improving a businesses online  reputation. I will admit, I am not the best at doing this for my own business and yet I tell all of my clients and everyone who will listen to me that they should have testimonials from every single client or customer, if at all possible. And while you’re asking for the testimonial you might as well ask for referrals from that delighted customer, they will probably be more than happy to send their friends and family your way but they might not think about that if you don’t ask.

And last, but certainly not least, plan how you will respond before you have to so as a core part of your online reputation management. No matter how fabulous your product or service is, you will never be able to please every since customer or client. So plan ahead for negative reviews, negative comments on your social media properties or bad press in the local newspaper. Know what steps you will take when these things happen and have a basic idea of how you can address common concerns before they are expressed. If you are lucky you will never have to implement any of these strategies, but it’s good to be prepared in advance so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to react to a potentially damaging situation. That’s when you want to have the most time to think and respond in a way that could potentially turn those detractors into fans.

If you have found these core principles helpful, register for tomorrow’s webinar to learn more. If you can’t make the webinar at 2pm Eastern, I will post the replay link in my blog on Thursday so watch for that. You can also sign up for my mailing list so you will get email notifications for each new webinar.


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