In today’s world of social commerce, reputation management has never been more crucial. Social commerce basically means integrating social media with eCommerce and the result is a situation where buyers can convince other shoppers to buy and can raise the profile of a product. Meanwhile, shoppers can discuss products with manufacturers and become true fans and sellers can get feedback that allows them to improve their products.
All this is very exciting but it also has its potential drawbacks for sellers if they aren’t careful. For example, if you are a hotel owner and you’re on a review site like TripAdvisor, this can do damage to your business unless you get solely positive reviews.
This is where ‘reputation management’ comes in – the process of altering the way that prospective customers see you when they research you online and thereby encouraging more sales and better experiences.
One big aspect of reputation management then is controlling reviews. But how can you ethically impact on the reviews that you are getting?
One obvious way is to improve the quality of your product or service but there are other methods too. One example is simply to ask your happy customers to leave good reviews, or to incentivize people to leave reviews.
Another tip is to always respond to your reviews online. This way, you demonstrate to your prospective audience that you are at least listening and at the same time, you can put forward your story. Don’t make excuses or get aggressive – appear genuinely sorry and show how you are going to improve your service for next time.
SEO (search engine optimization) also plays a part in reputation management. Here, the question to answer is: ‘what comes up when someone searches for you online’? If the answer is that a negative review comes up, then you want to use SEO in order to alter this so that it’s your website, or even a good review that will come up instead. Doing this, you can impact on the way that people see your business by controlling what gets the most visibility.
Finally, you can use social media to build your reputation, to strengthen your brand and to create relationships with your customers. This can work against any negative reviews and help you to put forward the image that you want to portray as a business.