The newsLINK Group - Your Good Business Name - Online

Editorial Library Category: General Business Topics: Online Business Name Title: Your Good (Business) Name Online Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: How people talk about your business is important. That’s why online reputation management has become a vital skill; do it well, and good things happen. Do it badly and it’s a different story. Editorial: Your Good (Business) Name Online 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 How people talk about your business is important. That’s why online reputation management has become a vital skill; do it well, and good things happen. Do it badly and it’s a different story. One of the great gifts of the Internet is the way people can now exchange reviews about everything they buy. Even though many purchases are made offline, that doesn’t mean the research is done offline as well. If you’ve ever tried to find a knowledgeable sales clerk on the floor when you are out shopping, you understand why; not only do stores sometimes seem to deliberately have as few employees available as they can possible get away with, but once you find someone it might not do you much good anyway; too often, they don’t have much training about the merchandise and can’t really guide you much. Do you think you can find out about a product by looking at a magazine? The reviews are often out-of-date and therefore not relevant; they might help you identify a good company, but they often only rank last-year’s offerings, not the ones that are currently available in the store. Contrast that with the Internet, where sometimes you’ve got your choice of hundreds of reviews on products that are available right now. Even reading a representative handful of reviews can be extremely useful as you make up your mind about whether you should buy a particular product or service. Better yet, the reviews tend to be more up-to-date than anything you might find in a magazine. People can (and do) post reviews extremely fast, giving you a good overview of what’s to love and what’s to hate in just a few minutes. All this is great for customers, but turn it around for a minute and look at it from a business point of view. Reviews are fine if what they’re sharing is positive, but what if someone writes a snappy little song about how your company not only broke a guitar but compounded that with poor customer service and then posts it to YouTube where it has now been viewed more than 14 million times, as Sons of Maxwell did in 2009 after flying United? United is still around, obviously, but if you were to watch this video, how likely would you be to check a guitar or anything else that obviously needs careful handling? And isn’t it possible you might just book your tickets with a different airline entirely whenever you have a choice? This is the kind of free advertising your business can do without. Your business probably has some kind of online presence already. Anytime you, an employee, or a customer or client does something online, it creates an image of what your business represents. Blog entries, comments, videos, links, snapshots — all these things contribute. It might interest you to know that Microsoft commissioned some research in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Ireland, and Spain. Although 91 percent of those surveyed have attempted to manage their online profile, a much-smaller 44 percent of those surveyed ever thought about what the long-term consequences might be of their activity. It’s easy to ignore your business reputation online, but it isn’t smart. In the past, the only businesses that really had to worry were home contractors and any business associated with tourism or hospitality. Now, online reputations are a factor for every business, even the ones that cater to other businesses. What does online reputation management involve? It starts with monitoring what is being said about you online by anyone who has a reason to talk about you: customers or clients, employees, and your competition are all possibilities. Think of this as a benchmark. You can find out what is being said already, and then determine from there how it is already affecting your business reputation. An online reputation is just an extension of your company’s brand. If you are careful to cultivate a good reputation, both online and offline, people will trust your company overall and will probably buy additional goods or services from you. That translates into revenue growth and profit. Isn’t that what every business wants?