Online Reputation Management – What Is It and Why Does Your Business Need It?
Did you know that 74% of customers trust a business more if it has favorable online reviews? This stat shows just how important online reputation management is to your business.
But online reputation management should not be confused with public relations. With online reputation management, businesses employ specific strategies to ask for, improve, and respond to customer reviews on popular review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Trustpilot, and more.
Here, we explore what online reputation management is and how it can help your business.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is the practice of building and maintaining the public’s or your target audience’s perception of you, your brand, or your business online. It involves creating and maintaining good standing online and managing any negative opinions to limit damage to your reputation.
To ensure that your business has a good standing, you must use online reputation management strategies like:
- Asking for and publishing customer reviews
- Being verified and active on social media and review sites
- Engaging with your audience and the public by responding to and thanking customers for their positive (and negative) comments
- Promoting positive reviews through multiple channels, e.g., banners, social media sharing, and paid ads
- Adding a review schema markup to your site
Why Is Online Reputation Management Essential for Businesses?
One bad review from an angry or dissatisfied customer is enough to influence what others think about your brand, hindering your future revenues and profits. That’s why maintaining a good reputation and standing online is imperative.
An excellent online reputation management strategy:
1. Builds Trust with New and Existing Customers
Online reviews on social media and review sites have given customers a platform to “tell all” about their experience with a business or brand.
Reviews now have associated star ratings on Google searches. Sites like Trustpilot and Yelp also have star ratings, which can make a difference in how people perceive your business.
Who can forget the case of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ? Because of the owners’ outrageous behavior toward their customers and the subsequent negative reviews on Yelp, the business eventually folded in September 2015.
You can’t hide from online customer reviews. Managing them well and building trust with your audience is the only way to maintain and improve your bottom line.
2. Ranks a Business Highly on Search Engines Improving Web Traffic
Online reviews are an important ranking factor on search engines.
There is a clear link between customer reviews, the number of negative reviews, and the responses to the reviews with local SEO ranking.
Customers looking to purchase a product will consider businesses with a 3-5 star rating, and Google will prioritize these businesses over others. The top-rated companies feature on the “Local 3 Pack,” reaching more people and improving traffic.
If your business isn’t achieving a 3-5 star average rating, chances are you are losing out.
3. Solidifies Social Proof
Facebook is now the second most popular reviews platform globally after Google.
1.84 billion users visit the social media site daily. Additionally, in 2015, 52% of online and offline customers made their purchases based on Facebook recommendations.
Facebook and other social media platforms’ reviews act as valuable social proof of your brand or business.
4. Converts Site Visitors and Leads into Paying Customers
80% of customers trust online reviews and will base their purchasing decisions on them.
You must be displaying any 5-star reviews prominently on your website to entice potential customers to do business with you.
This strategy also converts mere visits and leads into paying customers.
How Can You Easily Monitor Your Online Reputation?
You must have a strategy to monitor these reviews to ensure that you maintain a good reputation for your brand or business. Leaving negative reviews unanswered or not engaging with positive reviews at all makes your business look amateur, uncaring, and untrustworthy.
You can invest in online reputation management software, but you may need to monitor and manage your reviews manually on some sites.
Ensure that you have a team that:
- Checks social media platforms for notifications and alerts on any new comments and reviews
- Conducts “most recent” brand searches across social media and Google to unearth new reviews.
- Creates a Google alert to your inbox that shows up whenever people mention your brand or business.
- Uses social media management software such as Social Pilot and Hootsuite to monitor what people say about you.
At Digital Engage, we have developed online reputation management strategies that will revolutionize your online reputation. Call us at (423) 397-2467 or contact us online to learn more.