As a promotional product distributor, if you’re only doing one thing online it should be this: managing your online reputation.
Whether you’re active on all the major social media networks or don’t have a website, this is one step you can’t skip. Because whether or not you’re active online, your customers and prospects are. And there’s a good chance they’re talking about you.
Today’s prospects are increasingly turning to the Internet to learn about companies and make purchasing decisions. The explosion of blogs and sites with user-generated content, such as review sites like Yelp and Citysearch, has made this easier than ever. Companies need to stay on top of what’s being said about them so that they can respond quickly and appropriately.
The first step is to set up Google Alerts, an easy and free tool. Go to www.google.com/alerts and enter the keywords and terms you want to track, such as your business name, your competitors’ names, and key industry terms. Google will email you whenever one of these terms is mentioned online.
The second step is to have a plan for how you will respond to both positive and negative comments. If someone posts a positive review or comment about your business, a quick response will show that you value feedback and are listening to your customers.
For example, if someone writes, “Promotional Company A was extremely helpful in getting my rush order filled on a very tight deadline,” you can respond by saying, “Thanks! We appreciate your business and your feedback. We take pride in fast turnarounds for our customers.”
If someone posts a negative comment, you can demonstrate that you care about customer service by posting a thoughtful response. Say that you’re sorry they had this experience and that you’d like an opportunity to fix it, then provide your contact info and encourage them to contact you directly.
You can also find opportunities for new business by using Google Alerts to monitor what people are saying about your competitors. Let’s say someone posts that your competitor surprised them with unexpected charges at the end of their order. You could respond by saying that your company has a no-hidden-fee policy and provide a link to your website.
Once you’re following these steps, you can also work to proactively build your reputation online. You can do this as part of your ongoing social media strategy. We’ll discuss this in an upcoming post.
Are you monitoring your online reputation? What steps or tools do you find helpful? Please let us know in the comments!