In Part 1 of Doing Business in the Digital Age, we looked at the changing landscape of doing business online, the do’s and dont’s as well as how to keep up with current and new trends.
Managing your online reputation
Reputation management is the practise of shaping public perception of an individual or business. This should be an ongoing and long term investment to ensure your brand and business is positively positioned among the audiences or the market you are targeting.
Too many companies neglect reputation management until they find themselves in a crises. Instead monitoring and interacting should be a continual exercise.
As a business owner you should plan for a crises ahead of time, keeping policies and procedures current and ensuring all staff members are trained and prepared accordingly.
During a crisis things can feel overwhelming, but take the time to read through everything and properly assess the situation. Address the matter directly with the customer, and be sincere, but never defensive. Most people will understand that mistakes happen, but whether you lose a customer for lifer will depend on how you handle the situation. Remember the goal is to turn a brand hater into a brand champion.
How to go about it
As a company you should first consider your personality, then your business objectives, then your expertise and target market before considering any social media platform, and would it surprise you even when designing your company website you should consider these points!
An Existing SME client that manages their online presence well is Pine Lodge George. Their website is responsive and mobile friendly, giving up to date information about happenings in and around George and the Garden route via their Activities Calendar.
Using Facebook as a marketing platform has worked particularly well, given their target market of price sensitive holiday makers looking for self-catering accommodation.
Search engine optimisation plays a huge role in their online visibility, remaining at the top of search pages has been key, and well worth the effort and spend. Combining this with constant visibility on the mainstream accommodation booing establishments has seen their traffic grow year in year as well as help them remain in business where others bigger businesses in the area have had to close shop.
Search Engine Optimisation
Basic search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental in online marketing, and essential. Search engine optimization (SEO) can bring a tremendous amount of the “right traffic” to your website (people who are actually in the process of searching for products and service … just like what you’re selling) – if done correctly.
SEO will help you position your website properly to be found at the most critical points in the buying process.
Thinking about doing it yourself? Consider the fact that optimizing a website for search traffic is not a simple process, it requires a lot of time and effort, and requires a working knowledge about a wide range of topics from content writing, to html coding, analytics, link building and more.
To make seo work for you, you need to know what search engines are looking for. You should be experienced in building your website in a way that it will please both your visitors, as well as Google, Bing, and other search engines. Once your visitors are on the site do they convert? Are they the right type of visitor? How did they find? How long are they staying on the site for? The list goes on…
Today Google isn’t a just a search engine anymore, Google is a reputation management system that will help will help increase traffic and hopefully sales conversions. With increased visibility comes and increase in visitors.
Your website traffic can and should come from your core generic search terms, as well as a broader range of search terms that are more specific to your brand and your unique selling points. Of course you need to give your potential visitors a reason to visit your website and there are factors around how you do this that will impact on search engine optimisation.
But the main reason that you need SEO is that everybody uses search. The simple truth is with search you hit all of your customers all of the time.
Making the move
Some companies fear the idea of moving into the digital, search marketing and social platform age very daunting. They are reluctant to change their ways of doing business, which may have seen great success in the past. Most business owners are of the opinion that their industrial age legacy is being challenged by the information age legacy, which cause a huge disconnect between what is promised to staff and customers and what is actually delivered.
But it’s not all gloom an doom, not all older or more traditional approaches heeds to be abandoned entirely, but that’s the way we’ve always done it isn’t good enough anymore, especially in a wold where everything changes so fast!