Managing Your Online Reputation

Managing Your Online Reputation

The world’s a critic as the saying goes, and today all the world’s critics are online and many are commenting, critiquing, liking, sharing and recommending your marine business, right now! Marine businesses today can live or die by a rating or an online review, and this means controlling your online reputation is a top priority.

What is Reputation Management?

Reputation management is the practice of monitoring and influencing how your marine business is perceived throughout the internet. While that seems like an easy to understand description, there is much more to it. According to a recent online article by ReputationX, 64% of people trust search engines for research the most when conducting review of a business. That is a big and powerful statistic, and it’s a strong indicator that the odds of your reviews, likes and shares on your marina, boat yard or boat dealership customer experience……both good and bad, will probably be seen. Understanding reputation management will give you insight on what customers are saying, help you to respond and manage any negativity and it can affect your placement in Google rankings. In fact, reviews are the second most powerful ranking factor for Google. 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 30% of consumers say they positively judge a business which publicly responds to online reviews.

Setting Your Online Management Goals

According to BrightLocal, reading reviews online is an important part of a consumer’s buying process, 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more and 54% of people will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews. Whether you operate a marina, boat yard, boat dealership or maybe all three, if you want your reputation management strategy to succeed, here are a few approaches to keep in mind.

Keep it Simple: Create a defining statement that clearly summarizes your reputation goals. But don’t make it too complex or include multiple sub points. A great goal statement is simple, direct, and easy to understand. In fact, if it takes you more than one sentence to define your reputation management goal, you probably ought to try again. Some examples, “to obtain 3 positive online reviews of your marina per month” or “to respond to any negative online sentiment about your boat service within 24 hours with a positive and professional response”.

Measurable: Make sure you set goals that you can measure. If you don’t set measurable goals, you’ll never know if you achieved them or not. For example, a goal like improving your company’s online reputation is simple, but how do you know when you have actually improved? TalkWalker offers a good overview of 8 Brilliant Online Reputation Management Tools that can help your marine business accomplish this.

Engagement: To truly engage with your customers, you must pay attention to what they are saying. Social media engagement is a two-way street, so make sure you’re listening to help build better customer trust and loyalty. Social media continues to grow as a leading resource for customer care. Don’t be afraid to respond, negative messages are going to happen on social and it’s easy for people to target businesses. As an example, on Twitter if you have to respond to an upset boat yard customer, always try to be transparent and appear as human as possible. People feel better and trust your brand more when they know someone is making the effort to resolve their issue (instead of an automated message). The negative comments need a response. If someone is posting a bad experience, try to provide clarity or a resolution to the problem.

The competitive environment of the marine industry is intense and it will continue, online reputation directly impacts your revenue and can secure a competitive advantage. Disregarding negative comments and reviews that appear on page-one of Google will cost much more in lost revenue than putting sufficient resources into effective reputation management. The key to success is being proactive, with a good plan to help you win this battle.