Control your e-reputation

Have you ever searched your name or company’s name on Google to see what’s being said about you? The Internet can provide you with a wealth of information and it’s often that case that you need to learn to properly sort through it all; but above everything else you need to know how control what is being said about you or your company on the web.

Between various personal information that seemingly comes out of “nowhere” and the false comments posted by your competition in order to bash your product (we are not going to mention the whole Samsung vs. HTC thing… but then again we just did! An article summarizing the whole case is available Here). Today, monitoring your e-reputation has become a must! In this article we will see how you can monitor and optimize your presence on the Internet using free platforms and tools.

Has your e-reputation had an influence on your sales?

We will immediately put an end to all this terrible suspense: yes, your e-reputation does indeed have an influence on your sales! Whether you are an e-commerce site, a blog that tries to receive funds via various means (affiliation, ebooks, site templates etc.), or an independent professional (therapist, dentist, lawyer etc.), there is a high chance that your potential customers will learn about you before contacting you or going through your services.

Indeed, comments/notes from customers left on blogs, forums, social networks and other platforms represent an increasingly important source of information for customers who decide to buy a product, whether online or in the real world. Given that, examples are worth more than studies released on various blogs, you can simply take the business model of main online platforms (Amazon, Ebay, FNAC, Priceminister etc.) to see the impact comments and reviews can have on your sales.

All of these platforms have long incorporated the ability to read and post comments about products and their sellers. These platforms have understood that consumers feel more reassured if they can read reviews from people who have already purchased a product. It is quite interesting to analyze the credibility of these comments posted by perfectly unknown strangers who may have never even bought the product in the first place.

As a company present on the Internet, you must analyze what is being said about you and control your e-reputation/image.

Analyze and control your e-reputation

As explained above, the easiest way to find out what’s being said about you is to type your name or the name of your company into Google to see what pops up. You can also include various keyword such as “My name/business review” to guide your search. You will get a set of results that mention your company, whether these search results come from your publications or from others that posted about your company. If you do this self-search for the first time, I advise that you take the necessary time to fully analyze all the results obtained making sure that no element has escaped you. Subsequently, you can create an alert on Google in order to be stay informed whenever someone posts a comment referencing your company.

Once you get to a forum or an article talking about your company or product, do not hesitate to identify yourself as a brand representative. You can of course try to ask the owner of the site to remove the comment but unless you have the means to convince them ($ …), you will probably have to post a comment in order to defend yourself.

Know that messages posted by companies in response to user comments are generally well received by consumers as these responses demonstrate a company’s interest in customer opinions. Furthermore, unless the comment left is totally unjustified, responding to customer comments may save you money in terms of customer satisfaction and you may even be able to think about areas for future improvement. When responding to messages, it is of course necessary to adopt a courteous and authentic tone in order to regain control of the situation.

Leave comments before others do so in your place

Previously, we made the assumption that you were trying to “clean up” a comment left against you. Do research ahead of time and talk about your own product or business yourself by signing up for various platforms. In addition to the fact that you will optimize (perhaps) your SEO by creating back-links, you will ensure visibility for your company and facilitate interaction with your potential customers. Just make sure that your company page on the platforms has a link to your industry if you do not want to waste your time (obvious as it may be, this is still worth mentioning).

If you do not know which platforms to use, make a research on your main competitors and analyze which websites they are on. You can also analyze the e-reputation of your competitors by reviewing the various comments and articles that mention them. You can even create a Google Alert in your competition’s name so you don’t miss a thing (I can guarantee they’ve already done it for you).

Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Viadeo, or Google+ are also excellent sources of traffic and exchange not to be overlooked. Regular communication on these platforms will allow you to create and maintain a relationship with your customers. The more you (meaningfully) communicate on these networks, the more your brand will increase in terms of the perceived reputation and trust vis-a-vis your clientele and potential customer base.

If you liked this article, you might like this one: 3 Essential Tips for Spying on your PPC Competition.

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