It wasn’t too long ago that reputation management was something that was a concern largely reserved for big, well-known brands. Today, online reputation management is something that every business owner needs to pay attention to, regardless of the size of their operation.
Whether you run an independent insurance agency or you operate under the name of an established brand, it’s vital that you actively manage your agency’s reputation online. While you may have some great insurance marketing ideas, they won’t really matter if your reputation is in the tank, will they?
Establishing Your Digital Presence
Of course, the natural place to start managing your online reputation is by establishing a digital presence for your agency if you haven’t done so already. According to the “United States Ecommerce Country Report,” about 88 percent of shoppers conduct research before they purchase something online or in a brick-and-mortar store.
How likely do you think it is that someone will trust you to handle their insurance needs if they can’t research your agency online? If you lack a digital presence, it can be difficult for people to trust you. In fact, not having an online presence is almost the equivalent of you referring prospects to your competitors’ websites. Why on earth would you want to do that?
To establish an online presence, create a website and maintain an active blog. List your insurance agency in relevant directories, such as:
- Google My Business
- US Insurance Agents
As you claim your listings in various directories make sure your agency’s name, address and phone number are consistent across listings. If they’re not, it can make search engines skeptical of your business and negatively influence where your site ranks in search engine results pages.
In addition to listing your business in directories, you should also list your website with review sites. You should include a review feed on your website so people can read the reviews that other people have written about your agency. If you don’t want to do that, you should at least provide a link to one or two of the review sites where your agency is listed.
Finally, you should identify the social media platforms that the members of your target audience use most often. Once you’ve done that, set up an account for your business with a few of them and keep your social media pages active. If you’re new to social media, it’s important for you to not overdo it by opening more accounts than you can keep up with. Managing your reputation requires you to be active on your social pages so only open accounts you can manage and use daily.
Online Reputation Management, Social Media and Review Sites
When it comes to reputation management in general and online reputation management in particular, social media and review sites have changed the landscape in recent years. In general, agencies used to be able to dictate their own reputations by crafting a message and promoting it through traditional insurance marketing channels like print ads or radio spots. Today, it’s largely in the hands of consumers to shape an agency’s reputation thanks to social media and review websites.
Because social media and review sites allow so many people to make comments about every facet of an insurance agency, managing your reputation is much more difficult now than it was just a few years ago. While that’s the case, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to manage your online reputation effectively.
Find Out What’s Being Said about Your Agency
The first thing you need to do is to find out what people are saying about your insurance agency on social media and online review platforms. To do this successfully, you’ll have to identify and keep track of keywords as they relate to your agency, products, agents and competition.
There are several tools you can use to receive alerts whenever your brand is mentioned. Here are a few of them:
- Google Alerts
Join the Conversation
Once you know what people are saying about your business, it’s time for you to join the conversation. People expect to hear back from a brand when they make a comment about an insurance agency these days. It’s not enough to just respond, however. You need to respond quickly. A quick response is particularly important whenever someone makes a negative comment about your business, products or personnel.
When someone makes a negative remark, look at it as an opportunity for you to demonstrate your problem solving skills in front of an audience that might include thousands of viewers. While you may be tempted to remove negative comments, you should resist unless they’re slanderous or defamatory. When business owners delete negative comments, it can give the impression they’re trying to cover something up or that the agency is “guilty” of whatever offense was mentioned in the remark.
Search Results and Online Reputation Management
As you probably guessed, just about everything you do online and everything that is said about your insurance agency has the chance to affect where your website lands in search engine results pages. Just as frighteningly, a negative comment or a website designed to bash your agency may rank higher in SERPs regarding your agency than your own website does!
Contact the Source
If a website has negative remarks about your business that are appearing in SERPs for your agency, you can start to combat them simply by asking the relevant webmaster to remove them. Even though this normally doesn’t work, it’s still worth a try.
Make the Most of Your Social Media Presence
Social media profiles often rank quite well when it comes to branded searches. For this reason, it’s vital for you give Google good reason to rank your social profiles in its top results by filling the profiles out completely, linking your website to them and linking them to meaningful content.
Publish High-Quality Content Regularly
To outrank the negatives, it’s crucial for you to publish high-quality content that’s relevant to your target audience. You shouldn’t publish once in a while. You should set up an editorial calendar and publish fresh content regularly.
Become a Guest Blogger
Becoming a guest blogger on respected websites can help your agency outperform the negativity that might appear in SERPs. Just remember to mention your brand in your author profile and always represent yourself and your agency as industry authorities.
Schedule a Discovery Session with Musselwhite Marketing Today
Whether you’re trying to establish an online presence or you need assistance with managing your insurance agency’s online reputation, Musselwhite Marketing can help. Contact our experts today to schedule a strategy session.