In search of statistics relating to online reputation in the business world, we commissioned a survey of 500 business owners and higher decision makers representing UK businesses. What we found was interesting. The survey revealed that although companies are realising the worth of online reputation, they are not necessarily equipped to deal with any issues that might arise.
The Reputation Report reveals that one in five business leaders are unhappy with their Google page one results, and only a third of bosses believe they have the skills they need to manage their company’s online reputation.
In fact, three quarters of respondents believe that content online is now their number one business worry, with over a half saying that their businesses have been adversely affected by negative content online. The most common cause for concern appears to be content posted online by competitors, followed by malicious comments by former employees. Bad reviews, unhappy employees and negative media coverage are also a bother.
For some companies, dealing with damaging content has become the focus of their entire online strategy. It is hardly surprising then that many businesses are choosing to outsource online reputation management. Even if a company knows how to handle online issues, they may not necessarily have the time or resource to do so. Or quite simply, they may be inundated with the sheer volume of them.
Companies can take control of their online profile by creating and maintaining a strong portfolio of digital resources – corporate websites, online brochures, blogs, and social media profiles for platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Social media is a really useful and cost effective tool for organisations looking to promote themselves online. Potentially you can reach a much larger audience than through more traditional methods. It is also a great communication tool. You can keep customers informed daily with details of new products, launches and offers. You can respond to customer enquiries directly and, importantly, you can make them aware you are dealing with an issue – should one arise.
Monitoring of social media networks and any related blogs is especially important for companies who deal with customers online. Being aware of mentions about your business across the Internet will help you to identify what your customers are saying, when they are communicating and the channels they are using to do so. You will gain an understanding of how your product or service is perceived in the market place and whether you need to take steps to improve its positioning. Consumer-facing companies should pro-actively manage reviews and ensure they deal with re-occurring issues that customers are commenting on.
The Reputation Report suggests that one in ten companies have been affected by social media posts. A social media customer service response strategy is important to implement if you want to keep your clientele happy – at all times. Encourage customers to come directly to you with any issues, rather than setting up an independent online community. Rather than trying to remove negative comments from the Internet, a better approach would be to resolve the problem, and inspire the customer to contribute something positive.
Although the European Court of Justice Ruling – Right to be Forgotten – applies to individuals and not companies or brands, it is worth considering this directive if your company is facing online allegations against one of your senior executives.
Contact Simon Wadsworth directly for more information.