Reputation is a measurement of trust “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and minutes to lose it,” according to Smart Local’s Nick Rink at the Meetings Industry Association’s recent Business Briefing, which Custard’s Lesley and Alex attended last week. Having spent over 20 years in marketing, starting out in a traditional manufacturing business and then moving online, during his session entitled ‘Building and managing your online reputation’, Nick highlighted how you manage and monitor your reputation, will have a big impact on your business success. Something that is music to the ears of the team at Custard, who for nearly ten years, have been advising and managing their clients’ reputation both on an off-line. For the past five years Nick’s been helping independent SME’s get on the map with their local online marketing so has first-hand experience of how online reviews are now a key part of building trust for your venue and increasing conversions. The key focus of the session was your venue’s online reputation is everywhere – from your own website to review sites, social media, forums and media. What’s crucial is your online reputation conveys trust and experience, it transfers your offline performance to the web, it builds your brand, attracts customers and can ultimately increases sales. More than 250 new reviews are posted on TripAdvisor every minute – that’s 360,000 per day! Nick explained that by just going from a 1* online rating to a 4* rating can result in a 5-9% increase in revenue as 85% of people trust and are using reviews as part of the purchasing process. He therefore emphasised that it’s important to proactively ask customers to post reviews of their experience online. During the session he also provided some advice when implementing your social media strategy. To help manage your social campaigns he suggested using one of the following social dashboards: Hootsuite Sprout Social Cyfe Sendible When actually implementing social activity, he said: Keep it simple – be useful and showcase your knowledge and expertise with your content Always think before you tweet or update your Facebook status If you have various Twitter accounts check which account you’re tweeting from React quickly and politely Address negative comments Take any discussions offline and use direct messages to engage further Search and check for phantom pages for your venue A few handy tools to manage your reputation include: Search alerts: Google Alerts net Review monitoring: com Smart-Reviews Trustpilot co.uk Social media monitoring: Brandwatch Buzzsumo Nick’s top tips for protecting your reputation online, concluded with the following points: Be proactive – ask clients for reviews and testimonials Monitor review sites and respond appropriately Track mentions on social media and the wider web Build relationships with key influencers and media Learn from what people say about your venue online Build trust and respect through performance In addition, Custard always advises clients to ensure their online activity is integrated and forms part of their wider marketing communications strategy that aligns with the overall organisational objectives. That way, rather than being in isolation, you will have each part working in unison to achieve the wider business goal and consistent messaging across all touch points. Also, be clear from the start of what you are hoping to achieve online and how you plan to measure your success and the subsequent impact on your original business objectives.