What if I told you someone was talking about you right now? Somewhere, someone is updating their Facebook status, sending a tweet or posting a review about your company.  Hopefully they are saying good things about you!

Let’s say you Google the name of your company, but it doesn’t look like any of your customers are talking about you. You might think “phew, no bad reviews!”

Well, that scenario can be just as bad.

Consumers consider your visibility and your online reputation

Let’s pretend I’m a consumer searching for a new dry cleaner in my neighborhood. I’ve noticed two dry cleaning companies that I might want to try; Dry Cleaner ABC and Dry Cleaner XYZ.

A Google search for Dry Cleaner ABC leads me to their website, which is sparse. It only includes a phone number and hours of operation.

Not very helpful.

Next I see a Yelp.com listing. It also includes a phone number, address, and hours of operation, but there are no reviews so I’m still not sure if I want to give them my business.

At this point, a quick scan of the remaining first page of Google doesn’t indicate anything of value, so I move on to the next search.

In the search bar I type Dry Cleaner XYZ. The first result is the website, one with details about their services and an option to have coupons sent to my email. So far so good, but I want to hear some unbiased feedback.

Luckily their Yelp.com profile is the third search result in Google. I see three reviews, which isn’t an overwhelming amount, but it’s a good place to start. One review is negative, but the other two are positive, which I like.

Next I want to see what they are doing on Facebook. They don’t have a ton of fans, but they are posting a few times per month. I noticed that they’ve taken time to respond to comments, even the one negative comment.

That little extra effort shows me that this is the dry cleaning company I want to try!


Your online reputation affects how customers buy from you

Now there’s a good chance that both dry cleaners would have provided the same level of service. But I’ll never experience Dry Cleaner ABC because they didn’t take the time to consider how potential customers research the companies they want to do business with.

They didn’t take the time to think about what people are saying online and why it matters. Consider these stats:

  • Americans conduct 500,000,000 searches per day which is the equivalent of 6,000 searches per second.
  • 75% of consumers say that seeing a negative search result for a brand or business impacts their buying decision
  • 82% of men ages 18-24 will consider an alternative product if they find negative information in a search.
  • 42% of consumers conduct a search before doing business with a company

Reputation management today requires taking control of your own brand message online before someone else does.

Remember that perception is reality.

In my earlier scenario of searching for a dry cleaner, I didn’t question the reviews I read. That’s because consumers find social media believable and they view it as a source of information.

As a business owner, you need to take care of your reputation before it becomes a problem. You’ve probably spent countless hours building your reputation, and it can be destroyed with one malicious review.

Know what is being said about your company. And if you don’t like, then change it.

Have more questions about online reputation management? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!

5 danger signs