Online Reputation Management

As a small business, your reputation is crucial to your success and plays a more prominent role than ever, thanks to the Internet. Here are a few stats about reviews in 2020.

87% of consumers read online reviews from local businesses.

34% of consumers reading reviews for local businesses every day.

Only 48% of consumers would consider using companies with star ratings below 4. 

So customers are both reading and valuing online reviews more than ever. These reviews are vital components to your overall online reputation management.

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management is the influencing of others’ overall perception of you or your company, products, or services based on information found online. Your online reputation management is your business’s total view that customers can find online and includes search results, images, videos, social media mentions, reviews, and more. 

Reputation management involves more than reviews: customer service, responding to customer feedback, monitoring, and social listening are some of the other factors involved with managing your reputation. Because of how comprehensive managing your online reputation can be, working with a digital marketing agency will make it easier for your business.

Businesswoman rating with hand drawn stars | online reputation management | VIEWS Digital Marketing

Why Online Reputation Management Matters For Your Business

Online reputation is vital for all businesses in the 21st century, especially local businesses. Consumers are more and more dependent on search results and reviews when making purchasing decisions. More people perceiving your brand or company positively is a great way to convert those people into leads and eventually customers. In addition to increased sales, a positive reputation can improve your business’s visibility and drive more people to your website. The better you manage your online reputation, the more positive content people will find related to your business, too.

Benefit 1: More Sales

Managing your online reputation can lead to more sales and higher conversions from your current website visitors. Roughly 94% of consumers are more likely to use a business with positive reviews. Conversely, around 92% of consumers are less likely to use a business with negative reviews. People are more likely to purchase from companies that have a positive reputation. Managing your online reputation can lead to higher review scores and convert more potential customers.

Benefit 2: Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Rankings

A positive reputation for your company can also help drive traffic to your website. For example, when a user writes a positive Google review for a business, that user tells Google that the company in question is trustworthy and an authority in a particular field. Online reviews, trustworthiness, and authority are a few of the many factors search engines like Google use to rank websites; better reviews mean increased rankings. So more positive reviews and a better online reputation also help your SEO efforts by improving your search engine rankings. This comes with all the benefits of higher rankings, such as more traffic and leads coming to your website.

Benefit 3: More Positive Content about Your Company

In addition to your business and website ranking higher in search results and becoming more popular, online reputation management can help ensure more people see positive content about your company. Taking a strategic, active approach to online reputation will enable you to monitor the stories or content that more people find when searching for your business. Being proactive and staying on top of any negative content or misinformation will allow you to react and plan quicker, leading to people seeing more positive content about your company.

How to Improve Your Online Reputation Management

Your online reputation can be improved with a comprehensive strategy behind it. Below are five tactics you can implement to strengthen your online reputation efforts.

1. Listen to Your Customers

The first step in online reputation management is to listen to what your customers are saying. If you have a great product and excellent customer service, people are probably talking about it. Check out your social media outlets. When customers take the time to post, take the time to respond, regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative. Responding to negative feedback from customers is very important.

2. Target Relevant Review Websites

Determine which review sites are most relevant and beneficial to your business and create profiles. Google My Business (GMB) and Facebook are excellent business-to-consumer (B2C) forums, while LinkedIn is primarily business-to-business (B2B). Your target audience might be influenced most heavily by Yelp or another local review site. Once you have set up your business profile, be sure to check back for activity, so you can engage when customers reach out.

In addition to responding to your customers, take time to post consistently on your social media profiles. Create a persona for your business and begin to gain influence in your target community. Tools like Hootsuite or Likeable Local can make setting up regular posts in advance easy. Just be sure you continue to monitor the outlets regularly for feedback.

Chalkboard with "Feedback" written on it | online reputation management | VIEWS Digital Marketing

3. Gather Customer Feedback

Many customers have great things to say about you and need a little reminder to do so. Remember the difference that one star can make? Be willing to ask customers to write a review of their experiences. Online and offline feedback is valuable in two ways; feedback can encourage others to buy your product or service and inform you of areas your business could improve.

You have several ways to gather feedback. Polls, email surveys, and monitoring activity on various sites are all effective methods of gathering feedback. Social listening tools such as Hootsuite and Mention can help you monitor, analyze, and respond to feedback more easily.

4. Share Customer Feedback

Thank your customers for their time and comments. This small step shows that you value your customers. Share your customers’ compliments on your social media outlets; positive reviews have great value as marketing content.

5. Learn and Improve

When you do get feedback, make sure you are actively listening. Both positive and negative reviews are opportunities for growth and improvement if you handle them properly. Proper responses to reviews are always positive, professional, and polite.

Responding To Your Customers

Another critical part of managing your online reputation is responding to customer feedback. Responding to customer reviews is a careful process and represents an opportunity to show your customers that you value their feedback and bring in new or returning customers. Here are a few principles to follow when responding to customer feedback.

Respond Promptly

Monitor your review and social media profiles and when you get feedback, respond promptly. Thank the customers for their comments and let them know that you appreciate their business. Subsequent views of your interactions can influence other potential customers. Always respond positively, even if you feel that criticism is wrong or unjustified.

Smartphone or mobile phone with text rate your experience on the screen | online reputation management | VIEWS Digital Marketing

Take Responsibility

If the customer has a legitimate complaint, take responsibility for the problem. Admitting that a situation went less than perfectly gives you the chance to keep communication open with the customer. Your response will also encourage other customers to trust that when something goes wrong, as responses demonstrate you hear their concerns.

Be Professional

Maintain a professional tone. The customer may be wrong or unreasonable, but your professional manner could be the difference between a positive resolution and a lost customer. Again, future potential customers will be impressed with your respectful treatment of your customers and your availability.

Offer Solutions

When a customer is unhappy, offer a solution. That solution may be a simple invitation for the customer to call your company to talk in person about the situation. Personal conversation and attention can make all the difference in a conflict situation because they show that you respect and appreciate your customers. Once again, the interaction is recorded on social media or a review site for all future customers to see. Your business may be judged unfairly based on one unpleasant exchange, so consider each response carefully before you post.

Learn and Improve

Evaluate all of the conversations that you have on social media or review sites. Think of ways to improve future customer dealings and, if necessary, improve your product or service. Preparation can reduce future misunderstandings or conflicts.

All business owners would like to have 100% of their customers leave happy and provide return business. However, that scenario is unlikely. Since most consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing choices, a crucial component of your marketing plan should be to create and nurture a positive online reputation. Online reputation management is especially vital for a successful business in this era of online purchases and communication.

How VIEWS Can Help Businesses with Online Reputation Management

To improve your online reputation or website and conversion architecture, reach out to VIEWS. VIEWS Digital Marketing is a full-service digital marketing company. Our team of experienced digital marketing consultants has the tools and experience with search engine visibility and soliciting and nurturing online reviews. We have proven results in strengthening our clients’ online reputations and getting them more positive reviews. For further information, contact VIEWS Digital Marketing Agency today!