Starting an online business or just a business website can be a daunting task. Just how should you approach getting your message out their and what are the important ‘metrics’ you should follow to see that your investment is working? I have dealt with the issue of websites vs social media in previous articles, (the answer is – you need both!) but once you have them how do you know if they are being effective? What ‘metrics’ should you monitor.
Search engine and social media providers kindly furnish us with a plethora of statistics to show how well or badly we are doing, from views, followers, likes, favourites, retweets and fans. But are they all of similar worth? No! Chief Marketing Officers of all the major brands know this and the good ones know where to focus their strategy to grow their brands online presence. Building a positive reputation and trust are probably the most important elements of growing your online business but how do you measure this? There is no ‘metric’ for reputation or trust, or is there?
Measuring Trust & Reputation
Not all online interactions are of equal value. And some reflect the level of trust and reputation you have fostered with your online presence. There are, in essence, three levels of audience interaction that help you build your reputation and trust.
At the lowest level of importance is ‘Exposure’ this includes page views, followers and fans. It takes relatively little effort on behalf of your audience to click on a link to your website or follow you on Twitter or become a Facebook fan. These actions have no emotional cost associated with them. To view your website or follow you on twitter does not have any impact upon their own online reputation and trust levels. Consequently these actions have relatively little impact upon your brand’s trust levels with the rest of your potential audience.
The next level of interaction is “Low Level Engagement’ this refers to types of actions such as Facebook likes and Twitter favourites. These actions require a relatively more effort on behalf of your audience and have a larger emotional cost. Your audience is using some of their own ‘reputation’ to lend trust to your content. As such these actions cost those that share your content and help build your brands reputation amongst a wider audience.
At the highest level of importance in measuring your businesses online reputation is ‘Amplification & Influence’. These actions include Facebook shares, retweets and reviews. These are meaningful as social actions. People sharing your content on social media help them define their personality and profile, online. They inextricably link their reputation to yours. You borrow trust from them and their actions amplify your reputation and message.
So how do you measure how well your website and social media presence is going? You look at the shares, retweets and reviews you are getting. This will indicate the level of trust you are developing online.
How do you go about building trust in your business?
The most important lesson is karma exists in the online medium. The more you help people and provide them with useful information the more they will help you back, by sharing your stuff and spreading the word about you. Let your readers know that you are not just a business but a person who cares about their issues and they will care back!
Solving people’s problems through direct communication via social media or email is an outstanding way of building trust. It will show people that you and your business can be trusted. This is what engagement is all about, and this kind of support can lead to reciprocation with your audience spreading the word about you and your business.
Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. People are not stupid and if you make unrealistic claims they will see through them. Bad news travels ten times as fast and to ten times more people then good news so don’t get caught in a lie.
Why is it important to build your online reputation and levels of trust?
Simply economics! 70 percent of customers are more likely to buy something when they see content about a product or service shared by a friend on Social Media. People who share your content become your advocates. This is the real power of the internet. It does not come from content. It comes from social sharing of that content. The money and effort you put into developing content does nothing for you if it is not seen and shared.
Gaining the trust of your audience and building your online reputation takes time and requires a lot of effort on your part. Don’t ever miss out on the opportunity to engage with your audience. Building trust instead of traffic, increasing the number of people who share your content is the key to developing a successful online business.
See my article on choosing the best hosting provider HERE. My overall choices for the best hosting providers are –
Best Budget UK Based Shared Hosting Provider
Best Overall Hosting Support & Platform Shared & VPS Hosting
Best Cloud, VPS & Dedicated Server Hosting Provider
*A relatively new type of hosting, ‘Cloud Hosting’ has emerged in recent years. I will write another article on this subject and or amend this article when I have firmed up my thoughts on this development.