As an online business, should you leverage the feedback economy to improve your reputation? Nowadays, social media, web forums, and online reviews have a significant impact on customer opinion of a product, service, and enterprise in general. Many buyers take online reviews into account when making their purchase decisions. Thus, public opinion presents a vital opportunity for brands to either succeed or fail.
According to a recent article published by Forbes, the average online buyer gets about 10,000 marketing messages from various brands a day. But many consumers avoid getting exposed to those messages by using ad blockers on their web browsers. This means if you want your business message to reach your target audience, it must come from people that have already used your products. Therefore, online feedback plays a crucial role in the delivery of product or brand information.
What Exactly is the Feedback Economy?
Today’s consumer relies on other people’s opinions before deciding where to take their business. What the end-users are saying about a product has a greater influence on where a potential buyer will shop, hence “feedback economy.”
In the digital age where social media and the web, in general, serve as the voices for those with opinions about a concept, brand, or product, companies must pay attention to customer sentiment and actively engage with them. That offers an effective way of managing one’s business reputation.
The feedback economy is certainly influential, and it is also widely distributed. A consumer can change their view about a product because they have read a negative review on Twitter. When users are discussing your products on web forums, the discussions are shaping their perceptions of your business. Ignoring the feedback puts your business at risk of losing potential visitors, customers, and even retaining your current ones.
How can your business take the lead in the Feedback Economy?
If you want to take the lead in the feedback economy and manage the reputation of your business, there are several strategies you can consider. Here are a few:
- Find Out the Social Networks Where Your Consumers Post
- Always Listen to Your Customers’ Questions and Concerns
- Take Advantage of AI and Machine Learning
Find Out the Social Networks Where Your Consumers Post
The most vital thing for any business is to identify its target audience. It is your target audience that dictates where your customers are online and what they are saying about your brand. Thus, consider demographics because they are crucial in determining the channels your customers are using. Are a majority of your customers on social media networks like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook? Where do they leave their reviews? Google and specialty sites like Yelp, Amazon, Yellowpages, Better Business Bureau, and Manta are popular places where consumers leave their comments, opinions, and reviews about brands. By gathering enough data on where they are posting online, you will help your business define and reach the target audience. Therefore, include such findings in your customer research.
Always Listen to Your Customers’ Questions and Concerns
Once you identify where your consumers are posting online, the next step is to listen to what they are saying. It can be challenging to manually track conversations about your brand on all web forums and social media networks. Luckily, many social listening tools can ease the work for you. Look for a solution you can integrate with Google. Find one that allows you to follow relevant channels.
Take Advantage of AI and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proven to be useful to businesses in many ways. For example, you can use it to generate improved customer experience, automate interactions, and predict outcomes based on consumer shopping behavior. Also, machine learning algorithms help brands analyze unstructured text from online reviews, web forums, and social media posts. That means it can be useful for getting customer insights. The insights can help you do the following:
- Identify patterns in their buying
- Understand what is important to them
- Find trends in how they interact with your business
- Know what actions to take, and when to take them
You can make adjustments when interacting with customers by engaging with them and reshaping their experiences.
How to Succeed in the Feedback Economy
A practical way of succeeding in the feedback economy is by connecting with your customers directly. A direct connection with consumers helps to improve your online reputation management. You also need to develop an ongoing engagement strategy to improve service delivery across all channels used by your audiences. Research indicates this can help drive your brand to success.
It is also crucial that you respond to customer feedback. Take time to reply to reviews and comments on social media, offer conflict resolution, and answer their questions. That will help you remain engaged with them. The actions will show them you are highly interested in their opinions. At the same time, you will be gathering information that will go a long way to shape the future of your business in the dynamic feedback economy.