Why You Must Monitor Your Online Reputation Before it Hurts You One Tweet or bad review can ruin your reputation. Tracking online mentions is crucial to staying ahead of PR crises and maximizing your potential across the web.

By Adam Petrilli

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Reputation management is a crucial component of business operations, as it sets the tone for brand identification and consumer perception. For a business looking for growth, paying attention to your public image is essential. Consumer loyalty drives business growth from repeat purchases and word-of-mouth marketing. And in the digital era, maintaining a positive image online is vital to company success.

The need for online monitoring

These days, digital information reaches consumers quickly, with negative information often spreading like wildfire across social media channels. If your business is the target of misinformation or poor reviews, you can have your reputation negatively influenced in a matter of minutes. Online reputation management helps contain and control the factors that could affect your brand. These factors include:

  • Customer service
  • Visibility
  • Content
  • Products or services
  • Feedback

Being able to track negative online information about your business gives you a chance to address the issues and make the necessary improvements. Effectively managing your online reputation involves public relations strategies, search engine optimization and targeted marketing efforts.

Related: Key Ways to Repair Your Reputation Online

The connection to business success

Businesses interested in developing longevity and increasing revenue must think critically and seriously about online reputation management. Digital platforms provide a constant ebb and flow of content; as the content shifts, so can your brand's image. Harmful content can cost you current and potential customers, deter vendor relationships and create a lack of trust among the general public. A damaged reputation takes time and resources to restore, and your company can't afford to wait and spend that money when operating in a competitive market. It's better to be proactive about your online reputation.

Related: 4 Key Metrics In Repairing Your Reputation Online

The benefits of monitoring your online reputation

You should never risk a half-hearted approach when working to manage your reputation. Because of how quickly things move online, it requires consistency and a clear strategy. When successfully done, your company benefits in a number of ways.

Boosting sales

Consumers often want reassurance about the product or service they are interested in before making a purchase. Online research is now the go-to way consumers learn about products and services, especially now that everyone has their very own research machine (aka smartphone) on them everywhere they go. Online reviews will impact what consumers believe about your brand, and the more favorable the reviews, the better the perception of your brand. Positive reviews and comments attract more customers.

Developing your brand's image

Customers and competitors can blast negative information about your company across the web in just seconds, destroying your brand reputation in the process. Even if the information is inaccurate or completely false, just one bad review can often shake customer loyalty and hurt your bottom line.

And as the maxim goes, where cultivating your reputation and earning consumer respect can take years, just one misstep or ugly comment can ruin it all in a heartbeat.

Effectively managing your online reputation gives you control over how your brand is seen and perceived. Monitoring the responses of your consumer across all communication channels allows you a voice in the conversation, making it easier for you to ward off potential damage and cultivate the image you want.

Related: Shaping The Narrative of Your (Personal) Brand is The Secret to Your Success. Here's Why.

Fostering credibility and trust

Digital platforms allow people to say whatever they want, factual or not. Consumers want to believe the brand they've chosen is the best on the market, but many times that belief is easily influenced by the opinions and comments of others. Businesses can shape their image as credible and worthy of consumer trust by guarding against negative reviews.

You can avoid consumer distrust by taking an active role in what the online audience sees about your business. You can't afford to leave web content about your company unattended. Whether it's monitoring content for uniformity across web platforms or addressing misinformation and negativity, your response to web content impacts how current and potential consumers regard your brand.

Improving brand visibility

You can build your presence with content-rich blogs, website pages and social media accounts. Even if you execute an optimal content strategy, failing to monitor responses and daily user activity can weaken your efforts and investment. Fortunately, there are several reputation management tools and programs that can help you deal with online traffic and rein in its impact on your reputation.

Providing crucial business insight

Today's businesses can boost their ability to succeed by using insights gained from online reputation management. Paying attention to the feedback your customers, vendors and the general public provides lets you know how to direct your operations. Reviews are a way to develop your brand awareness and tailor your message to address the needs or expectations of your market.

Keep in mind that you aren't just looking for negative comments. While you want to address the content that puts your brand in a negative light, it's also important to know the positive things people share about your business. You can use the information to boost your employee morale, attract new customers and build on that positive sentiment down the road.

Even though there are many ways to propel your business forward, failing to manage your online reputation could quickly sabotage your efforts. Reviews and online engagement offer ways to connect with consumers and gain invaluable insight into improving customer service, products and general operations. With the right strategy and management tools, you can leverage online platforms for success.

Adam Petrilli

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO & Founder, NetReputation.com

Adam Petrilli develops and executes winning strategies while inspiring teams to embrace change to promote business excellence. He thrives during challenging situations and in making high-risk decisions with a strategic revenue-focused perspective to generate growth.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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