Is the online reputation of your business heading south?
Do more negative than positive reviews come up when someone Googles your business?
Does your potential client-base prefer your competitors over you?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this article is for you!
Why Online Reputation Matters for B2B Businesses
B2B decision-makers are forming an opinion of your business based on what the search engine giant Google has to say about it. Here are few stats that prove this fact:
- 42% of potential clients Google the people that they are going to do business with.
- 45% of people change their mind after reading about a company online.
- 68% of business owners consider reviews to be the most important trust indicator.
Furthermore, although most B2B businesses have a higher profit margin when compared with B2C businesses, they also have a smaller customer base. Additionally, generating a lead in B2B is more difficult than in B2C. It is therefore vital for B2B businesses to build a solid reputation online.
There are a number of ways for a B2B business to build and maintain its online reputation. Here, I have assembled a list of 4 tactics to help you build a solid reputation for your firm in the industry vertical:
Step #1: Capitalize on the Benefits of Client Testimonials and Case Studies
To evaluate vendor products and services, the first thing a potential client will do is Google the business. The very next step is to visit the corporate website: this makes it vital for B2B entrepreneurs to ensure that no mistakes are made when designing the website.
Website visitors tend to make decisions on impulse, so you only get a few seconds to impress them.
How can you turn visitors into customers in less than a minute?
The best way is by leveraging ‘Social Proof’.
Positive reviews and recommendations from clients on your website will entice visitors to stay longer and motivate them to take action. B2B entrepreneurs must therefore publish captivating client testimonials on the homepage. Another great way to build a positive reputation of your firm is to publish detailed case studies about client experiences with your firm.
You should also include snippets of your clients’ feedback in other marketing arenas such as email, social media posts and PPC ads.
Step #2: Harness the Potential of Social Media
Social media has revolutionized the world. Millions and millions of people are using social platforms to inform purchasing decisions, as well as to keep up with friends. This is true for B2B firms as well. If reports are to be believed, almost 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities to analyze a business.
This whopping figure makes it vital for B2B businesses to be actively present on social platforms. Moreover, search engine giant Google gives social platforms high authority. As such, positive comments on social platforms will lead to higher rankings with search algorithms.
However, not all social platforms are a good fit for your business. You need to figure out the ones where your target audience is present. Popular social platforms for B2B firms include Twitter, Linkedin and APSense.
Being actively present on relevant social platforms gives you a golden opportunity to build brand awareness, establish credibility, and ensure that your business has a competitive advantage over others in your industry. It's important to study the best social media practices for business in order to succeed.
Step #3: Make Your Brand A Thought-Leader Through Content
The best tactic for a B2B business is to have an outstanding online reputation!
According to reports, content marketing is considered an important marketing strategy by 88% of B2B companies, so there is a high chance that your competitors are leveraging this tactic. To stand out from the crowd and create a strong impression of your company, brand yourself as a thought leader.
The key to being a thought-leader in your industry vertical is to regularly publish relevant, informative and fresh content.
To make your content contagious, figure out exactly what your target audience needs, what their problems related to your market are, how your product/service can help them in solving their problems, and build this information into engaging articles. Take the time to learn how engaging content is crafted, and make sure to keep track of the latest changes in your industry to prevent your platform from becoming irrelevant.
Maintain a content calendar and stick to it. This way you will get desired attention, build reputation in your industry, and generate qualified leads for your business.
Step #4: Invest in Monitoring Tools
These days, word-of-mouth travels almost at the speed of light, thanks to technology. The negative impact of this on B2B companies is that years of brand-building can be tarnished by a single negative comment or tweet on social media. Even worse, if the negative reviews are on review platforms with high search engine rankings, any potential customer doing a Google search on the company will probably see them. These negative search results can jeopardize your company’s online reputation.
This makes it crucial for all B2B companies to monitor and analyze conversations about their brand that are occurring in the social-sphere and on review platforms.
Social monitoring tools such as Mention, Topwalker and Topsy allow you to track conversations, demographics, geographics, keyword tags and more. Monitoring social conversations can help you alleviate a social media crisis before it spirals out of control. Monitoring tools can therefore help to strengthen your brand and improve your overall reputation.
Implementing a Reputation Strategy for Your Business
If you are not taking the aforementioned steps to build your online reputation, don’t forget - your competitors are.
It’s critical to tie your reputation strategy to your digital marketing strategy. Invest your dollars in building and maintaining your brand reputation. A strong reputation online will automatically promote your brand, generating more leads for your business.
Kim Smith is a Content Consultant at GoodFirms, a full-fledged research firm that offers a transparent and unique platform for web development agencies to stand out from competition and magnify their industry-wide credibility and visibility. Online you can find her on twitter: @contactkim11
Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Social Media Strategy for Business, Creating and Curating Content People Love, Crisis Management with Social Media