More than ever, consumers are incredibly well informed. Almost everyone has a phone, enabling them access to information about anything at any point in time. This means that anything on the internet about your company, your products, and your competitors’ products are quickly accessible at their fingertips, even as they stand in the store directly in front of what you have to offer.
This means that the way your company and products appear on the internet – especially in comparison to how your competitors appear – is incredibly important. You want your customer to be able to type in the name of your company or product and find high ratings on Amazon or other websites. You want them to find positive news about what your company is doing for the environment. And you especially don’t want to see any scandals. Or, if there are scandals, your customer needs to see that you’ve taken care of the problem quickly and that it won’t happen again.
All of this is handled through public relations and online reputation management. Even more than by word of mouth, people research products online. This means high maintenance of your online reputation is key for getting business – especially if you’re selling online.
Online reputation management includes a broad scope of areas that will really keep the online view of your company in check. First, you have to keep track of your reputation on social media. Look at your Facebook page – what are customers saying in the comments? Are you addressing customer complaints as they come up? Are any customer compliments made visible to other followers?
On Amazon, are questions about your product being answered? Are negative reviews responded to with apologies and offers to fix the situation?
If a customer is looking on the internet for a product that’s similar to yours, how do they find it? Is your website engineered in such a way that it’s easy to find on the web? Will multiple keywords be able to direct your customers to search engine results for your company?
These things are just the tip of the iceberg of public relations and online reputation management, but it’s a start to see how important and essential it is for your company to invest in. It’s the touchstone for how customers see your business and how they determine to do business with you.