Startups: Are You Monitoring Your Startup’s Online Reputation?

Aaron Vick - Are you monitoring your business?

Are You Monitoring Your Startup’s Online Reputation?

Your business’s online reputation can really make or break what customers think about you. Here’s why you startup needs online reputation management.

Word to the wise: your online reputation could determine whether or not you ever evolve from the “startup” label.

Do you know the current condition of your company’s reputation?

If you’re not sure, go Google your company and take a look at the conversations surrounding your brand.

Even as a new company, people you do business with are talking about you. They’ve taken a risk not many are willing to. They’re prepared to share their experience with others, and it’s up to you to make sure whatever they’re saying will help you build the right reputation.

Launching a startup is hard enough. The last thing you need is questionable credibility weighing you down.

This brief guide gives you a closer look at online reputation management and why it could be the biggest factor in determining your startup’s success.

Why Online Reputation Management is Critical for Startups

Startups have it rough.

To be successful, they’ve got to compete with well-established brands to gain market share. They don’t have the buying power or staff of larger competitors.

And they have little to no online reputation to show their audience what they’re made of.

In today’s digital era, your business is only as good as what others say about you. Studies show that 90% of consumers read online reviews prior to engaging with a company. These reviews can affect purchasing decisions, website traffic, and referrals to friends or colleagues.

Startups have to work extra hard and fast to drum up some good vibes about their company.

Reputations play an important role in building brand trust, credibility, and professionalism. It drives sales and engagement. It can affect the type of workforce you’re able to attract.

Most importantly, your reputation can be a deciding factor for those looking to invest in your startup.

And once your reputation starts to build, you want to ensure it continues to grow in a positive light.

The only way to know for sure is through proactively managing your online reputation.

How to Create a Winning Online Reputation Management Strategy

As a startup, you’ve already got tons of responsibilities vying for your attention. You’re likely doing the jobs of many on your own to save resources or keeping costs close to the wire.

Adding online reputation management might just seem like an extra responsibility, but it’s an essential one you can’t afford to shirk.

Having a defined strategy can make easier work for keeping your company vibes in check:

Take a Proactive Approach

Your reputation won’t manage itself.

Set aside time each week to go through your social channels or other outlets. Find out what people are saying.

Don’t be afraid to join the conversation. Get involved in shaping their perceptions about your brand.

Find ways to generate some positive PR, even if it means paying for it. Then, share it on your social channels and other marketing.

Anything you can do to boost your appeal as a startup can give your reputation the momentum it needs.

Don’t Take Any Success for Granted

Did you gain exposure on a well-known blog? Do you have thousands of social media fans? Do you have five-star ratings on your Google My Business listing?

These things might seem minor, but they can go a long way in establishing social proof. It shows that people are paying attention to what you’re doing.

Strong social signals can help you build trust and let people know you’re the real deal.Others have already vetted your abilities, which makes it a safer bet for those who aren’t as familiar with your company.

Create a Google Alert for Your Business

Google Alerts will notify you via email anytime your name or company appears in the media.

This is one of the easiest – and cheapest – ways to keep tabs on your reputation.

Promote Your Successes Across Every Channel

It’s important you talk about what makes you a winning company, and not just to your customers.

Maximize your brand exposure across channels. Tout your successes on your Careers web page and job descriptions. Use your influence to instill confidence in your vendors and brand partners.

Every touchpoint should work to boost your business’s reputation. No opportunity is too small.

Ask for Positive Reviews

Paying customers (or random people) for a great online review is frowned upon, but it’s completely legit to ask customers to post their opinions.

Many people don’t always think of leaving a review but will be happy to if you ask them.

There’s nothing wrong with putting the idea in their heads.

Hire a Reputation Management Service

Online reputation management is serious business, so much so that there are service providers who focus specifically on tracking what others say about you.

Outsourcing or automating repetitive tasks like checking your reputation status regularly can save you the time and hassle of doing it yourself.

What to Do if Your Online Reputation Turns Sour

In an ideal world, only your happiest customers will be the ones spreading the word. If only this were the reality.

There may be times when someone leaves you a one-star Google review or a not-so-nice comment on Facebook.

When this happens, take the opportunity to turn their negativity into a positive for your business.

How you respond to the negative review can say a lot about your business. It’s your time to show your audience that you’re paying attention to what others are saying and you take your responsibility seriously.

When others see how to try to correct the situation, they get a sense for your dedication to your customers.

You can’t hide from a negative review. Not responding to it is the worst thing you can do.

Don’t allow your reputation to damage your brand. Your best chance at turning a bad situation good is by tackling it with grace.

In Closing

Monitoring your online reputation isn’t an option anymore. It’s too easy for someone to crush the image you’re working hard to build.

Reach out today to learn more about what you can do to build and maintain the reputation you deserve.