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“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

—Warren Buffett

Forging and maintaining a good reputation is challenging, particularly in today’s digital reality. Social media is unforgiving. It captures every good moment equally as well as every bad one and publicizes it for all to see. That’s where Warren Buffet’s advice seems especially wise, and reputation marketing a sound option for companies seeking to follow it.

The Search is on for You and Your Reviews

Put yourself in your potential client’s shoes. He or she is searching for your business online. Your website comes up. After getting some basic information about what you do, that same individual goes back to searching. Why? Because your prospective customer wants to know what the Internet thinks about you. Inevitably, reviews on sites like Yelp will be listed. If those reviews are good, and most of them contain the coveted five-star rating, your future customer is likely to convert. On the other hand, if the reviews are bad and the stars are few, that same person will probably pass you up for your better-reviewed competitors.

Reputation Marketing Puts You in the Driver’s Seat

Begin the process of taking control over how your company is perceived online. Reputation marketing starts by putting you in the know about who is saying what about your business online. You can then go into damage-control mode. Have a bad review? Respond to it positively, proactively, and publicly. Show the individual and everyone else who subsequently reads the review that you care about providing your clientele with the best customer experience possible, and are willing to apologize and make amends when that doesn’t happen. This is also a great way to build customer loyalty.

Keep in mind that it’s not acceptable to offer compensation or some kind of incentive to get someone to change a bad review into a positive one. Many review sites will penalize or ban you from engaging in such activities. In fact, they could lead to more harm than good when it comes to reputation repair.

The good reviews that your company does have are great marketing collateral that you need to use to your advantage. Put them on your website and social media channels. Quote them in online videos on YouTube.

Don’t Be Static; Be Proactive

Reputation management isn’t an entirely reactionary process. Give your existing customers the chance to participate. Solicit more reviews and continue to build your positive online reputation. Over time, more and more reviews will grow and spread across major sites. You don’t need to wait around for someone to make the effort. Be proactive and control your reputation; it’s as valuable as managing the reviews you have.

Still not convinced that reputation marketing is the way to go?

Consider this: your potential customers trust online reviews more than any other form of advertising. Most of them will look at six to ten of those reviews before they make the actual leap to exploring your company’s site. Make sure that the online word-of-mouth your target audience encounters makes, rather than breaks, your reputation.

To begin improving your business’ online presence, contact us about reputation marketing today. We’ll be happy to help you manage and maintain an excellent online reputation.