They’re talkin’ in Memphis…talkin’ ’bout reputation with much zeal. (Apologies for the lame “Walking in Memphis” pun. Please don’t stop reading on account of that.) In all seriousness, The Memphis Daily News published an article today titled “Online Reputation Could Be Killing Business.” You may roll your eyes and think of it as a “no duh” headline, but there are some great points in it that serve as a reminder to take your company’s online presence more seriously than ever.
The article cites a Nielsen “Global Trust in Advertising” study that reported 70% of consumers trust online strangers when making purchase decisions. Seventy percent. That’s a lot of faith in someone your customer will never, ever meet, someone who may or may not be an expert or a respected individual in your field and could just have the loudest voice or be willing to raise the biggest stink about your products or services. Customers are now being given a voice, and businesses can’t afford to look the other way any more because that single snowflake can turn into a snowball, and that snowball can roll into an avalanche and wipe out your reputation if you’re not paying attention.
Reputation management and monitoring is essential, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Set up some Google alerts, keep an eye on what people are tweeting at you or posting on your Facebook page, make it a point to check industry forums or relevant review sites every once in a while to see if you’ve been mentioned–all of these things should be done regularly to make sure you build a habit of knowing what’s being said about your brand. Set aside 30 minutes a day or make it a point to do a little reputation check as you have your morning coffee. If you have regular staff meetings, devote a part of that meeting to reputation management so your employees know to keep their eyes and ears open for any situations that need to be addressed. Because at this point, online reputation management is becoming more and more crucial to the success of your business, and if you miss out or neglect it, you’re setting yourself up for a difficult road to success.