Any budding entrepreneur knows that managing an online reputation can consume hours (if not days) of the work week. Between monitoring reviews and building a presence on social media, the process only gets more time-consuming and difficult as time goes on.
In 2018, 46 percent of small businesses didn’t have a web presence, according to a study conducted by The Balance Small Businesses. A lack of online reputation, good or bad, can seriously damage a start-up’s chances of growth.
Still, you don’t want to lose huge chunks of your work time to solely managing your online presence. You need to streamline the process to ensure you stay productive while building a necessary online presence. Here are three tips that will make your process effective and efficient.
**1. Make Use of Cheap (Free) Monitoring Tools **
When you start out with a small presence, it’s easy to stay on top of your social media conversations and brand sentiment. However, when operations begin to pick up and your business becomes established, this task becomes monumentally more challenging.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can help speed up the process. Do yourself a favor and get up to speed on the NLP monitoring tools that can automatically take care of watching your social media and online presence. Not only will this save you time, but it will also make sure that fewer problems fall through the cracks.
One great tool to start with is Hootsuite. This platform helps you manage up to three social media platforms in one place, schedule posts in advance, generate leads, and manage your statistics - all in the free plan.
Another option is Buffer, a widely respected platform that allows you to monitor follower activity to better target your audience. Like Hootsuite, it allows you to monitor a social profile while scheduling posts in advance, all for $15/mo.
Managing an online reputation all comes down to the tools you have in place. Do yourself a favor and start researching early. It’s always better to have these in place before you really need them.
2. Encourage ‘Quality Over Quantity’ Sentiment
A significant part of managing an online reputation is garnering reviews, both positive and negative. When you reach out to a customer to request a review, make sure it’s an easy process. You need prompts that encourage in-depth answers, rather than a quick star rating or one surface-level sentence.
For example, look at this review on Trustpilot. Users were prompted to answer multiple questions that dove deep into the business and what they thought about its services.
There’s a star rating, but consumers have so much more information with which they can judge the program, including positive and negative opinions from every reviewer.
The best part is that reviewers are directly prompted to provide multiple angles of feedback, leading readers to trust their review more than they would a short, one-sentence rating.
Despite what many entrepreneurs seem to think, a small number of substantial and honest reviews is always worth more than dozens of short, one-sentence reviews. Still, it’s important to work on gaining plenty of reviews - prospective customers want to see an average of 40 online reviews before they’ll believe a business’ star rating, according to BrightLocal’s 2018 study.
Another way to boost the quality of your business reviews is to respond to good and bad feedback promptly. Generally speaking, consumers these days expect fast responses. By responding to feedback, entrepreneurs have the chance to polish their online presence and indicate their professionalism to current and future customers.
Generally, customers are more likely to leave negative reviews than they are positive feedback. In the experience of Andrew Thomas, Founder of Skybell Video Doorbell, one in 10 happy customers leaves a good review online. Combat this ratio by encouraging detailed positive reviews as much as possible and responding to negative reviews that drive your overall rating down. If you play your cards right, the response can far outweigh the review itself in terms of customer perception.
3. Know When to Outsource
A successful entrepreneur knows when to get their hands dirty and when to leave the job to others. If you’re spending multiple hours every day managing your online reputation, you’re probably struggling to stay productive in other crucial areas of the business. This can be true even if your online reputation management process is streamlined and effective.
In this case, it might be time to hire someone else to take over, at least on a part-time basis. This will help ensure that small details are taken care of and that no part of your business suffers.
It’s vital that you choose someone who knows how to handle the process efficiently and professionally. Here are some tips for outsourcing that will make sure you leave your online presence in good hands and boost overall employee productivity.
Create a brand guide that you can share with new employees. Any social media manager or online presence service will need to know what you want your brand to look like. Create a comprehensive guide that dictates what you want your tone, image, and standards to look like.
Design specific goals. Any presence management team needs to know what goals they’re working toward and how they can achieve them. Whether it’s bolstering your social media following or obtaining more positive reviews, come up with a strategy that your whole team can follow.
**Determine which social media platforms you want to focus on.* For some entrepreneurs, Pinterest is an essential part of their growth strategy. For others, Instagram provides the best access to their target audience. Do some research with your outsourced team so that you know where to focus your efforts, instead of doing a sub-par job on multiple social media platforms.
It may feel counterintuitive to hear but taking scheduled breaks can help to improve concentration as it maintains a constant level of performance. Whereas working at a task without taking regular breaks can lead to a steady decline in your performance.
It’s no secret that online presence management is important. 97 percent of respondents in a TripAdvisor study confirmed that reputation management is important to their business, as are reviews and social presence.
However, your daily upkeep of your online presence shouldn’t hinder your overall productivity. Use monitoring tools to seek high-quality, powerful reviews. Outsource when necessary, and remember to be purposeful in your reputation building. Online presence is vital, but it shouldn’t impact the overall efficiency of your budding business.
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in White Label Services for Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, he is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.
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