Find Out What People Are Saying About Your Business Online

by Guest Author on March 17, 2014

What People Say About Your BusinessOnline feedback can make or break a brand, especially when that feedback is presented in a public place that’s easily accessible for potential customers. Today, more than ever, online users resort to reviews and feedback from other buyers before making purchasing decisions or deciding which companies to do business with. Because of this, learning what is being said online should be a top priority for all companies interested in managing their reputations for optimal results.

Find Out Where the Comments Are

To find out where individuals are commenting online, you have to know your brand, your industry and your target market. For some industries, users are most likely to be found on Facebook. On others, Twitter or Tumblr might be more relevant. For others – think restaurants and brick and mortar stores – users are likely to comment on Google Places accounts or specialty travel sites for hotels and getaways.

If you’re unsure, ask. This is a general rule of thumb that applies to multiple areas of business. When you have a question that relates to your customers, the easiest way to get answers is to ask the right questions. Create a survey that rewards those who complete it, start a social media contest where entries are gained by answering specific questions; the options are limitless. Find out where your target customers spend their time online. This is where the comments will be found.

To successfully navigate these comments, become a part of that online community. If a certain social network is a hot spot for comments and reviews, start a business page so that you can address each one individually. If it’s another site, or Google Places, optimize your brand’s presence accordingly.

Once you’ve set up an account, market it. Put it on your receipts, your website, any company collaterals and anywhere else that your customers may see it. By raising awareness of your online presence, you’re making it more likely that customers will comment directly to you, rather than to the general online world.

Set Up Alerts

Sometimes, regardless of whether you have a branded online presence or not, comments will still happen that you may be unaware of. Because of the availability of information and the vast number of websites and applications that allow for reviews, keeping up with them all, or running a general search may not be enough. This is where Google Alerts come into play.

Alerts allow business owners – and the general public – to create online alerts based on specific keywords or phrases. These alerts can be set up to notify you on an instant, daily, weekly or other preset term, when articles and comments relating to the keywords you designate, like your company name, are posted.

For example, Envisupply, an environmental equipment and supply company, could set up a Google alert for a specific product, like their YSI 63 meter, designed to monitor specific environmental factors. When a review or piece of information would be posted online relating to the keyword in question, Envisupply would be notified, allowing the company to respond quickly and adequately to ensure positive reputation management.

Setting up alerts and responding professionally and quickly can mitigate any negativity associated with online reviews and public comments.

Respond Properly

All of the account creating and brand tracking may not matter if your responses to online comments don’t work in your company’s favor.

Customer service matters just as much today as it did 20 years ago. While the format has changed, in many cases online communication is now the method of choice, the fundamentals are the same. People want to connect with brands that take the time to listen and respond to their customers. They want wrong actions to be corrected and they want responses that are considerate.

By taking the time to monitor online comments and by responding publically, even if it’s with a “We will respond immediately through e-mail” message, you’re showing your existing and potential customers that they matter to you. Your responses can drive just as much traffic as a successful SEO campaign or solid website. Remember that at all times.

Finding out what people are saying about your business online can be the difference between making it to the next level and stalling for the next five years. Take the time to explore what the public has to say and set up a strategy for dealing with it, starting today. Your business may depend on it.

About the Author

Courtney + PageCourtney Gordner is a blogger with a passion for all things internet, social media and SEO. Read more from her on her own blog, www.talkviral.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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