Building your business’ Web presence seems like a daunting task, but there are some good practices you can follow to build and manage a great online reputation.
Take these tacks to help attract your target audience, increase click-throughs and drive sales.
Be Wise, Take an Eagle’s-Eye View
Perspective is vital in any endeavor.
It’s unlikely your site is competing with Microsoft or Google, so don’t expect millions of visitors (at least, right away). Let your design, content and outreach build a solid foundation that poises your company to gain momentum.
Focus on your demographic and finding that sweet spot between niche appeal and mass interest.
The best way to attract a specific audience is to establish “online authenticity,” according to Inc.com. Because the barriers of entry are so low for creating a website, there exists a culture of skepticism online.
No matter what your product or service may be, transparency with your personal and marketing strategies are essential to help foster trustworthiness; and potential customers will be more likely to believe you when you make claims about your products, particularly if the information you make available are things your competitors normally keep under wraps.
According to the Small Business Administration, 51 percent of businesses fail within the first five years, and a large portion of this is due to a lack of audience understanding.
Make it easy for your customers to communicate with you via an excellent “Contact Us” page, and keep a keen eye to the comments they’re leaving on your site. Always respond to negative comments, asking readers what they think is lacking and how you can improve. This makes it clear that you’re not some faceless website out there is the big bad Internet world, and that you’re interested in learning how you can improve their experience with your product and your site.
This is a win-win for everyone involved – not only do you create a dialog with visitors, but you also get tips on improving your product and website.
Keep Your Rep Together
In addition to keeping tight tabs on your social media presence and all around online image, consider contracting a company to monitor and manage your online reputation.
Reputation.com, for example, can help you improve your Google results and manage ratings and reviews of your business. If negative press is plaguing you, a reputation management company can create and promote positive content about your business that you want customers to see.
Taking your reputation management offline is another positive way to spread your wings.
Get active in your local chamber of commerce, show your face at charity events, and let the world know you’re here to stay.
Finally, establish and maintain a social media policy for your employees, and make sure it’s not vague. Look to the Gamestop “planking” firings as a case study on this one; when employees use social media, there are no limits to what kind of situations might arise, and a clearly defined policy can prevent negative content from blowing up online.