Building a brand is not an easy task, and there are a number of different hurdles to jump in the process. And it doesn’t end there – when you've built that brand it's important to maintain a good reputation online.

In the digital world, online search and social media are two of the top ways any startup can build a good brand reputation. According to figures from Blue Corona, 70 to 80 percent of consumers research a company online before making a decision to purchase from a small business.

© iStock
© iStock

Therefore, as a new business your reputation online can either impact or disrupt your growth and scale of customers. It is a good idea to ensure you do what you can to monitor how your business is perceived online with a reputation management strategy.

To help, we’ve created a list of some useful tips to help you build a good online reputation for your startup.

What is online reputation management?

Online reputation management (ORM) is a continuous process that businesses should follow to cultivate and maintain their brand name online.

It includes building a public image, which can be done via online reviews and positive customer feedback.

Other steps include search protection, review management, social media branding, damage repair and reputation management. As a startup, the main steps to take into consideration in the early stages are search protection, review management and social media branding.

Build a good website

The first step to creating a good reputation online starts with a good website. That means you need to take the time out to develop a website that offers good user experience.

Consumers are likely to spend a lot of time navigating the site before making a decision to purchase your products or services, and nobody appreciates a terrible website. If information is difficult to find or there are no details regarding price, location or contact details then potential customers will exit and never return.

To avoid that, be consistent with regular updates to your website and make sure the site is easy to find online. Utilise SEO keywords to ensure the site ranks high on search results.

Be active on social media

Every successful business gains its success with the help of social media. It is a great tool for businesses to reach their target audience, whilst also driving the increase of sales and profit margins.

To achieve this, you should make an effort to post consistently on social media. This includes useful and high quality content such as updates to your startup, the launch of new services and relevant news to keep people engaged.

Set up multiple social media profiles across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A good way to track and easily send out posts is using social media scheduling platform, Buffer, that way you can schedule posts to go out daily or weekly.

Read next: Social media tips for startups: How to make the most of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Interact with customers & address complaints

Another important step to building a good online reputation is through customer engagement. Take pride in responding to customer enquiries, and interact with people via your social media platforms and email.

Depending on the service your startup offers, you may also consider embedding an online chat feature onto your website. This will enable a quick response to questions and enquiries that people may have.

In the world of business it is difficult to keep everyone happy, be sure to address complaints quickly and efficiently to avoid a bad reputation. If people see negative comments about your startup online they are less likely to want to try it out themselves.

Consider setting up Google Alerts for instant notifications every time your startup is mentioned online, that way whatever the comment is left you’ll be able to notice and respond quickly.

Encourage positive reviews

Just like word of mouth, online reviews are vital to your startup’s growth. It provides crucial insight for customers and competitors.

Encourage customers to leave positive reviews when they are happy with a service. This might be through 5-star ratings on Google search or other written feedback of their experiences.

This will help drive traffic to your site and also persuade consumers to choose your startup. So, similar to the above, monitor mentions and social analytics, but most importantly try your best to keep customers happy!