In today's market, consumers read online reviews before buying products and services whether they're buying an item on Amazon or scoping out a local small business. You can't afford to miss out on what people might be saying about your business online.
People are talking about your business—whether you’re aware of it or not.
According to the 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer by American Express and Ebiquity, people share their experiences with others face to face (54%), through company websites (50%), text messaging (49%), and social networks (46%) and consumer review sites (46%).
Even if you aren’t particularly active online, you can bet that customers will share their impressions of—and experiences with—your brand there.
While it might not seem fair, the reality is they’re more apt to share the bad and the ugly than they are the good.
In fact, the American Express and Ebiquity study found consumers are 2 times more likely to share their negative customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences. “On average, consumers tell 8 people about their good experiences (15 in 2012; 9 in 2011), and over twice as many people about their bad experiences (21; 24 in 2012; 16 in 2011).”
Whether positive or negative, online mention of your company affects how others view your business.
That’s why it’s so important to monitor what’s being said about you.
How do you do that?
Here are a few free ways to tap into what people are saying about your brand:
Set Up Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a tool that enables you to track mentions of you, your business, and your products by simply setting up notification criteria. In Google’s own words, “You can get email notifications any time that Google finds new results on a topic you’re interested in. For example, you could get updates about a product you like, find out when people post content about you on the web, or keep up with news stories.”
Use Social Mention.
Social Mention lets you enter keywords, phrases, names, Twitter handles, etc. and view where they were mentioned in content on social media networks, review sites, blogs, and more. It even assesses whether mentions are “positive,” “neutral,” or “negative.”
Stay Tuned Into Your Social Media Accounts And Blog.
Don’t neglect these things. They are likely to be one of the first places customers will let you know if they have a problem. If you ignore their requests for help or don’t acknowledge their complaints, your business will appear uncaring and apathetic. Social media and blog comments also bring opportunities, making it even more important to keep up with what’s happening there. If you don’t, you could miss out on addressing questions and requests for more information from prospective customers.
As you strive to build and grow your small business into one customers will respect and trust, don’t underestimate the power that your online reputation holds. Ignoring what people are saying about your brand can do a lot of damage and prevent you from seizing opportunities to interact and generate goodwill. Keep in mind that what happens on the internet stays on the internet—and it’s there for all to see. That’s why it’s worth your time and effort to monitor and manage your online reputation.
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