Online Reputation Management is an essential part to any digital media campaign.
What people see when they first search a business can determine the relationship the potential consumer will have with that business in the future. Local Businesses are especially vulnerable to being hurt by a mismanaged image online, as their overall brand is not as known in the general market place, losing potential sales. In order to not fall victim to negative reviews and unflattering content above the fold on any search engines, local businesses must be proactive in creating an online presence that is synonymous with the organization’s brand and mission. There are different strategies that can be employed to ensure that what a potential customer sees is what the business wants them to see. Parliament the Boutique, a handmade arts shop is one of the many businesses who utilized easy steps to having a well maintained and basic web presence-which encourages a wide array of consumers online and in their stores.
What is Seen Above the Fold
One of Parliament’s greatest assets in ORM is having a well maintained website that is well optimized to many key search words. Because of this only content that the business itself creates and pushes out is seen first. From looking at the first six search results, we know that Parliament has a website and a blog that produces enough content to balance out any third party data that could be generated.
The other asset to their ORM status is a well maintained social media platform. To be known online as a small business it is essential that as much content can be created in as many platforms as possible. But it isn’t just enough to create the platform, the business must constantly be updated and managing content that aligns with their brand. It is obvious that Parliament is a new small business, because they only have a one social media account that has enough content being generated on it to make it above the fold. It is always better to do less, as it will still have a greater effect on search engine optimization than having too many platforms with no content being pushed out. This is essential to being known the way you want to be seen. Despite the fact that Parliament is a new business, enough information about the website is generated for a consumer to find it and shop.
Third party data is an inevitable part of having an online presence that must be managed with the greatest caution. A well intended business can think they are managing their online presence by answering every single negative review, yet the content that is generated has a greater chance to outweigh the business’s content the more an owner engages in online debates.
Looking at Parliament’s Google reviews, it is evident that there is little worry in how their business is portrayed by the consumer. The most exemplary part of their process is how they manage content created by consumer that is contrary to the image they want to portray or just incorrect information.
In Parliament’s most recent review it is evident that the consumer didn’t not at all visit that shop, rather a bar in Grand Rapids that might have a similar name. The owner’s response to this confusing review is , first, appreciative of a positive review, next corrects false information in a positive and light way, and give details that promotes the business itself. Though the response is on the longer side, it is evident that the owner knew what message they wanted to portray and did it in such a way that could create additional positive consumer reactions from reading the response. This is a success in ORM.
Know your Message
The most important aspect of online reputation management is being consistent in what you stand for and create and online presence that is reflective of that. This is not an easy task that can take a lot more work that what one may want to engage in, but is imperative for local businesses to manage consumers and their content expertly in order to have the best content be seen in online searches. Parliament proves that ORM does not have to be a complicated process. Rather it has to be intentional and transparent. This is a service to the consumer and can impact have ones customer service is viewed. Because reputation can be difficult to manage this, this article gives great advise and basic steps to put into practice what this local business did.
Website Design and Reputation
Beyond the traditional online reputation management strategies e-retailers have an additional hurdle to jump in order to have high brand ambassadorship online. Consumer’s need to feel that the website is intuitive and can anticipate their behavior. Signs of a consumer minded e-retail space are lots of product photos with clear descriptions and prices, an easy and fast checkout process, and finally obvious location of all shipping and return policies.
Looking at Parliament’s website you can see many of these strategies are employed. The first thing that is seen when entering the site is a simple index of website pages.
This shows the consumer where to go to shop and all other information that a potential brand ambassador would be interested in. The simplicity in the design creates a sense of intuit for the consumer allowing for a pleasant experience on the website. If there is a potential consumer who wishes to shop on this website, the simple approach to displaying their products is evident. There are many high quality photos showing the product design and a well written description allowing the consumer to fully understand what they would be purchasing. Finally, it is easy to add the item to their cart. Which leads to the next criteria that can impact online reputation- check out. Checkout- it can make or break a sale for an e-retailer. If it is too long a consumer may leave and abandon their cart. Having a poor check-out experience could highly impact one’s online reputation if they give a bad review. In order to avoid this possibility there are strategies that can be employed to make it quick and simple. Evaluating Parliament’s checkout, you can see that they are transparent with the number of steps that will have to be taken. Additionally it shows the total of what you have to pay the whole time, so a consumer is not surprised. Overall Parliament, creates a simple checkout that is quick and intuitive. This increases consumer satisfaction before they even receive the product.
The Impact of Reputation
When a business takes time to manage their online presence fully it shows that the business is concerned about their customer. This is knowing what the consumer is experiencing when trying to find you, what the consumer has to say about you, and anticipating the consumers needs on your website. If all of this is done intentionally with the consumer in mind the result will be higher brand ambassadorship which will lead to higher sales. Knowing you consumer is vital to the success of any business’s reputation. If you don’t put in the work, your consumer will notice. Be vigilant, transparent, polite, and thankful to your customers. It will payoff.