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Are you looking for an online reputation for your business? If so, you’re not alone. So far, in 2022, there are more than 1.9 billion websites online. That’s a lot of competition, making a strong online presence more important than ever before.
From starting a new business to making your brand stand out as a 21st century industry icon, building a positive online reputation will only benefit you. But what exactly is it?
Online reputation is the perception your company has on the internet. It can be affected by a variety of things, such as customer reviews, social media activity, and news article mentions — all of which can affect your ability to attract new customers and partners. It can also affect your bottom line; studies have shown that a negative online reputation can lead to a 20% drop in sales.
It’s important to stay on top of your online reputation and take steps to improve it if necessary. But how do you build an online reputation? Here are four steps to get you started.
Related: Why Your Business’s Online Reputation Matters
1. Create content to get your brand out
Start by creating a website or blog with quality content related to your field. You know your content is high quality if:
- It contains visuals such as charts, graphs, infographics and diagrams
- It has a hook that pulls people in
- It contains external links to high quality resources (i.e. not Wikipedia)
- It is plagiarism free
- It provides new information that the reader cannot find anywhere else
- It uses statistics, studies and data to back up important points
Website content isn’t the only content you need to produce. By 2022, more than 4.59 billion people will have social media. That number should include you — social media is a great place to start discussions, create connections with your customers, and make a digital mark. To make waves on social media, post three to five times a week, use hashtags, comment on others’ posts, and create content that gets people excited.
We also encourage you to participate in online forums and discussion groups related to your field. These are great for networking and showing off your knowledge. Just make sure that you always treat each other professionally and respectfully.
Related: 4 Ways to Protect Your Business’s Online Reputation
2. Engage with your audience
Customers and clients will research you and your business online before doing business with you, so putting your best foot forward is essential. One way to do this is to engage with your audience through whatever marketing medium you choose.
Show that you are listening to their concerns and responsive to their needs. Take the time to answer their questions, answer their feedback, and troubleshoot any issues. Be a leader, a listener, and a voice of reason people can trust.
There are many, many ways to connect with people online. Here’s a short list:
- Create a Facebook poll
- Reply to comments
- Share the posts of your followers
- Start a forum discussion
- Ask a question
- Share your opinion on a topic and ask for people’s opinion
- Start a hashtag
- Organize a giveaway
- Ask for advice
Regardless of how you choose to participate, above all, make sure you’re accessible (and fast). By demonstrating that you are responsive and reliable, you make a good impression and encourage customers to do business with you.
3. Be consistent with your posts
One trap many marketers and small businesses fall into is the trap of wearing too many hats online. It’s nice to dip your toes into every new trend, but if there’s no theme that brings all your posts together, people get confused quickly.
You need to be sure that your messages are clear and consistent across all platforms. This means making sure you always stay on topic and don’t constantly change your opinion about things just because a particular point of view is popular.
Consistency also means using the same username, profile picture, and biography across all your social media accounts. Doing this will make it easier for people to find you across platforms.
And, of course, consistency also applies to the way you interact with others online. Try to use the same speaking style and interact with everyone in the same way. Leads will see how you interact with people online, so if you become a completely different person when you speak to them, they will rightly see this as a red flag.
Related: How to Create (and Maintain) a Winning Online Reputation
4. Guard your reputation and your results
It takes years to build a strong online reputation, but it only takes a few minutes to destroy that reputation. Your digital footprint is forever, so it’s more important than ever to guard your online reputation and take steps to protect it.
Set boundaries with yourself first so that you remain professional online. If you’re grumpy, tired, cranky, or cynical, now might not be the best time to post. It’s okay to miss a day of posting because you don’t have anything valuable to say.
You can also limit the topics you talk about. The internet is full of small Twitter fights about big topics. But most of the time, those involved don’t change their minds or learn anything – they just love to scream into the digital void and make each other feel small. If you can’t add a new point of view to a discussion or do well with your platform, just skip it.
In addition, keep a close eye on what other people are saying about you. Google yourself regularly and see what comes up. If there is something negative, take steps to have it removed or addressed. Google Alerts is also great for this – it can notify you every time your name is called.
Finally, use Google Analytics and check your online results regularly. Spend more time creating content on topics that get you results, and really prioritize the content your audience is asking for.
Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Brand’s Online Reputation
Building a positive online reputation is a great way to increase brand awareness and attract online customers. It takes time and effort, but it is well worth it in the end.
For the best possible results, engage your audience and be consistent with your posts. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, but be deliberate and create content that you know will get results.