February 1, 2023

Online Reputation Management 101

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Reputation Management

Online reputation management is crucial for businesses. It only takes a few negative reviews or comments to ruin your online reputation and cause customers to go elsewhere. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid online reputation management strategy in place. In this article, we will discuss what online reputation management is, why it’s important, and some tips for getting started.

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of monitoring, managing, and improving a business’s online reputation. It includes positive and negative online content about your business, including social media, online reviews, and news articles. An effective online reputation management platform can be used to improve visibility, build trust, and repair damaged reputations. Online reputation management is important because online content is often the first thing that people see when they search for products and services. A bad online reputation can damage businesses. Conversely, a good online reputation can lead to success. For this reason, every business should be aware of its online reputation and take steps to manage it effectively.

Why Your Business Needs Online Reputation Management

In today’s digital age, an online reputation management solution goes hand in hand with any business that has an online presence. Negative reviews, complaints, and other forms of online criticism can quickly damage a reputation, while positive reviews and endorsements can help to boost a company’s bottom line. Let’s take a closer look at the top benefits of having a great online reputation:  

  • Builds trust with prospects and customers. You can easily build credibility with customers when your business has a lot of positive reviews.
  • Improves online visibility for your business. Your customer reviews have a direct impact on how easily people can find your business online. When people provide fresh and genuine customer experiences and post positive reviews about a business, it helps to improve the business’s ranking in online searches. Search engines like Google, value online reviews as much as your customers do. As a result, search engines will prioritize you online and your business will rank higher in relevant search results.
  • Reviews equal revenue. Online reviews can have a big impact on your bottom line. Studies show that customer reviews produce an average of 18% increase in sales.

The 4 pillars of Reputation Management

In order to create an enviable reputation for your company, there are four key pillars of reputation management you need to know.

  • Review generation
  • Review monitoring
  • Review management
  • Review marketing

Let’s look at each of these in more detail. 

Pillar 1: Review Generation 

This is the process of getting online reviews from customers on relevant review sites like Google and Facebook, along with industry-specific ones. Review generation is a vital part of online reputation management that plays a significant role in customer acquisition and retention. To start generating reviews, you need to know the “when, where, and how.”

  • How? Actively seek reviews instead of waiting for them to come to you. Ask every customer to leave a review. Whether you do this manually or with reputation management software, every customer is a potential new review when asked.
  • When? You should send review requests within 24 hours of a sale or customer interaction. The experience will still be fresh in their minds, and they’ll be more likely to write an accurate, detailed review. The longer you wait, the less likely they will give a review as the memory of the experience fades.
  • Where? Your customers are discovering your business all over the internet, so you need to stay on top of your online reputation on all platforms.

For example, find and target the top review sites for your industry. Industry-specific sites like Avvo for lawyers, DealerRater for car dealerships, or Healthgrades for physicians, hospitals, and healthcare providers, can help create a great online reputation.

Pillar 2: Review Monitoring

If your potential customers are looking online for reviews of your business, there are hundreds of review sites they can consult to help them make their decision. Bad reviews on one site can turn customers away from your business altogether and potentially influence how they speak about your business to others. So, make sure you’re keeping track of every review site where your business appears. 

Review monitoring helps you keep track of the reviews you get from anywhere online and prevents damage to your reputation. With a review management platform, you can centralize all of those reviews in a single, simple dashboard where you can monitor and respond to your reviews in a streamlined manner.

Alerts for new reviews

A review management platform also gives you unique tools like alerts to make sure that you never lose track of a single review from your customers. With alerts, you can get notifications of who left the review, where they left it, and whether it was positive or negative. Instant review alerts help you react or respond to customer feedback as they come in. This is super helpful, especially in the case of negative reviews where issues can escalate rather quickly.  

Pillar 3: Review Management 

This is about when, where, and how to respond to your reviews. Customers notice and appreciate businesses willing to acknowledge and address their comments and concerns. The best way to do this is to respond to every review you get, whether positive or negative.

Timely and at scale

Responding quickly to customer reviews is critical. Customers will often write off your business as dismissive if they do not see a quick response to their reviews. In fact, one in three customers expects that their reviews are responded to in one to three days.

The cost of not responding

Not responding to reviews, especially the negative ones, can cause a snowball effect where customers leave reviews, feel unappreciated, and spread the word that your business doesn’t care about its customers. In addition, potential customers reading your reviews will not know your version of events, and will inevitably form opinions based on these unanswered reviews. This can be extremely damaging to your business’s online reputation. 

Automated responses

To keep up with the reviews you get and respond to them quickly, you can use automation integrated with a review management platform. This provides the capability to respond directly to each review you get the moment they’re submitted. You can also tailor your responses to specific criteria, so you’re always leaving the correct response to each review.

Pillar 4: Review Marketing

There’s a reason we read reviews before moving forward with a business. It gives important information based on prior customers’ experiences which helps make informed purchasing decisions. Positive reviews are a powerful tool that can be used in your marketing messages and campaigns.

Showcasing your customer testimonials 

Build trust and win new customers by amplifying the best reviews on your website, social, and search results. You can embed your reviews on your website, and display them on your social media channels to showcase positive customer experiences. The more positive reviews you have, the more people will trust that your product or service is right for them. 

Social media 

Make sure you have an online reputation management platform that not only allows you to aggregate reviews but enables you to promote your best reviews on your social handles like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, through a pre-configured tool.

Website

Use an online reputation management platform that allows you to embed your latest and greatest reviews onto your company’s website in real time. That way, anyone who visits your site will be able to see firsthand what others are saying about your business. And with testimonials from happy customers, you’ll be well on your way to winning over even the most skeptical shopper.

Paid advertising

Customer reviews can be a powerful tool for improving your ad campaigns. As we mentioned earlier, prospective customers believe in the testimony of other customers’ experiences with your company. For example, using the best reviews in your Google ad campaign can help you improve the quality score of your ad’s performance. In addition, displaying positive customer reviews can also help to improve click-through rates, as potential customers are more likely to click on an ad that has been endorsed by others.

By making the best use of all these methods, you’re helping to further amplify the impact of a single, new review. You’re also reaching your prospects wherever they meet you, in-person, on social media, on your website, through paid advertising, or through a Google search.

The Role of Online Reputation Management Software

Reputation management requires a lot of time and energy and can become overwhelming if your business is growing and you don’t have dedicated resources to manage it. 

That’s where technology can help. Online reputation management software can automate many of the tasks involved in managing your business’s reputation. This can free up time and energy for you to focus on other important aspects of your business. 

Reputation management software can help you keep track of your competitor’s reviews, respond to reviews, and request reviews from customers. If you’re expanding your business, it’s a good idea to invest in this type of software to help simplify the process.

This article, “Online Reputation Management 101” was first published on Small Business Trends

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