For many businesses, their online reputation has become a crucial way of finding sales and driving revenue upwards. Regardless of a company’s size, what is being said about it online has a big impact on credibility and trust. This, unsurprisingly, can also affect a company’s bottom line. With reviews and digital reputations shaping how a business is perceived by consumers, it is becoming increasingly important to train employees so that they understand how to best manage their online personas.
In a local consumer survey, it was reported that almost 90 per cent of people have used online reviews to find out more about the reputation of local businesses. In fact, 88 per cent of people trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth, whilst 72 per cent said that authentic and positive reviews can help them trust a business. Just 12 per cent revealed they didn’t read any reviews at all.
In 2016, companies that do not take the time to train and educate employees on building and maintaining reputations could see negative impacts. Warren Buffett explained: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to ruin it.” In the age of social media, those five minutes can be cut further to just a few seconds.
Training includes managing websites, using social media, and producing and maintaining content. Training also has to be more than simply outlining what not to do; it needs to dig deeper into the advantages of building interactions, trust and influence online.
In the modern age, many private and public sector companies do have social media policies. However, not all employees may read these. Making sure that staff do not have this excuse is important because there is an increasing blurring of the lines between personal and professional social media and internet use.
Online reputation is a big issue, and companies need to ensure that they do everything in their power to maintain a positive perception. Tiered training systems work best, providing masterclasses for key personnel whilst giving an overall base level of understanding for other employees. As the digital landscape continues to change, so too will the need for further training.