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What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is simply the act of proactively creating and managing customer perception about your brand online. It determines how people perceive your business when they find you online. It primarily includes your online reviews and any comments that customers leave about your business on social media
What’s the value of brand reputation?
Brand reputation is how a brand is viewed and perceived by its customers, stakeholders, and the market as a whole. It is the most valuable asset that a business can have. When customers think of doing business with you, they want to be assured that not only the product will satisfy their needs, the experience of doing business with your company will be great as well.
The stronger your brand’s reputation, the greater is the willingness to pay for your product or service and that results in greater profits for your business. Your brand’s reputation is therefore critical for the your success. This is why your brand’s reputation has actual value. According to the Economist, 30% of the value of the S&P 500 comes from brand reputation.
Reputation Management History
Reputation management is not a new concept. Ever since the beginning of commerce, people have wanted to do business with companies they’ve felt they could trust. So businesses have always aimed to build a great reputation that inspired customer trust and credibility.
With the rise of the Internet, reputation management evolved and moved online. Consumers gradually started seeking out the experience of others who have had an experience with businesses they are interested in on review sites and social media. In other words, they look at businesses’ online reputation.
What is a strong online reputation?
Of course, having a strong online reputation isn’t always as simple as it seems. When asked, most businesses will say that having a high overall star rating makes their business look great to customers. While this may be partially true, it’s definitely not the entire story.
Imagine this: If a business has 5 online reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars, would you say that this company has a strong online reputation? Some people might say yes.
Now, if this company has a competitor with 500 reviews and an average rating of 4.3 stars, which company are you more likely to go with? Our money would be on the competitor. While both companies have a good overall star rating, customers typically also consider factors like number and recency of reviews.
So here’s the moral of the story: your business’s online reputation isn’t determined by any one metric like star rating. It’s important to take a holistic view of how customers are talking about your business online.
Why you need an online reputation management strategy
Building a strong online reputation doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes work from the business. Even if you are providing a great customer experience, it’s possible that your online reputation doesn’t reflect this. There’s a reason why this happens. Most of the time, the customers who are most likely to leave a review are those who’ve had a strong negative experience. As a result, your online reputation might end up reflecting the opinion of your displeased customers.
Luckily, there’s a way to fix this. An online reputation management strategy can ensure that the reviews posted on sites like Google and Facebook are a true representation of your business’s customer experience.
The benefits of online reputation management
Staying on top of your online reputation can help you stay ahead of your competitors. Here are a few of the benefits of online reputation management.
• A great online reputation means more credibility with customers
We can’t stress this enough: people want to do business with companies they trust. However, if a potential customer has never heard of you before, they don’t know if they can trust you or not. That’s where online reputation can help. If you have lots of great reviews, you can build credibility with customers.
• A great online reputation means more visibility on search
Your customers aren’t the only people who value your online reputation. A great online reputation means your business will rank higher in relevant search results (more on this is the next section).
• A better online reputation means more revenue
Studies show that a great online reputation means more revenue for your business. According to the Harvard Business Review, a 1-star increase in rating can result in a 5-9% increase in revenue.
Online reputation management and SEO
Search engines value online reviews just as your customers do. Online reviews provide fresh, organic content for your business and are meant to show the genuine experiences of your customers. Since Google aims to provide the best search results for customers, reviews provide them with valuable information.
Of course, reviews aren’t the only factor that matters for search. Search engines are the roadways that help direct targeted traffic to your site. Think about the signs on the side of a freeway that tell you there’s gas, food, and a place to sleep off a particular exit. If you don’t have your signs up, search engines won’t know that they can send traffic your way.
So the signals you send to search engines shouldn’t just include reviews. Your accurate and up-to-date contact information is needed to be discovered online – such as Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), opening hours and more. It’s also important to make sure that this information is consistent across the Internet.
Building an online reputation management strategy
Before you dive into managing and responding to reviews, let’s talk about how you can build a strong online reputation management strategy.
Keep a close eye on how customers are discussing your business or writing reviews for your business on review sites like Facebook and Google.
Ask your customers to leave reviews. Chances are that you have tons of customers who would be happy to do this. They just need an extra push.
Keep track of your reviews from all over the Internet and respond to reviews – both negative and positive.
Once you have lots of great reviews, use them as social proof. Share your reviews on your website and on social media.
If all of the previous four steps went right, you should have prospects who want to contact your business. Make sure that it’s easy for your business to communicate. That means having the right contact information on listings sites and easy ways to get in touch with you, like Webchat or a text number.
Social media reputation management
Of course, it’s also important to keep an eye on what customers are saying about you on social media. The last thing any business wants is to have a customer who feels like they had a bad experience going viral on Facebook and Twitter.
Managing your social media reputation has a lot in common with monitoring your reputation on review sites. Here’s three tips for managing your social media reputation.
• Monitor mentions of your brand
It’s important that you stay on top of mentions of your business so that you can know the moment customers talk about your brand in a positive or negative context.
• Respond to customer complaints
If a customer complains about your business, get in touch right away. If you get to the bottom of the problem, the customer will most likely be happy to update or delete their original comment.
• Encourage customers to post
Just as you should encourage customers to leave reviews, encourage customers to share your business on social media platforms. It’s an easy way to get more awareness for your brand.
10 steps to a stellar online reputation
So now that you know why your business’s reputation is so important, let’s talk about how you can create a stellar online reputation. We’ve put together these ten tips to lay the foundation for a great online reputation and future business growth.
• Aim to provide quality service
The first step to building a great online reputation is by providing a fantastic customer experience from start to finish. Make sure that you are making an effort to consistently delight your customers.
• Send review requests to all of your customers
Next, you want to make sure that your customers are sharing their great experience, on review sites and social media. Remember, a business with 500 reviews looks a lot better than a business with 5. There’s an easy trick to getting more reviews: just ask. By sending review requests via text and email to all of your customers, you will make the process of leaving a review easy. All they have to do is click on the link and write a review.
• Be on the first page of Google search
75% of users never go past the first page of Google. By taking the steps to rank higher on search, your business will get discovered by more customers. To increase your business’s visibility on search, get more reviews and make sure that your business listings are accurate across the Internet. It’s estimated that reviews and listings together account for more than 25% of ranking factors.
• Monitor all relevant review sites
Customers are constantly making the decision whether or not they want to buy from your business by through the hundreds of review sites on Internet. Bad reviews on one site can lead to customers turning away from your business and going to a competitor. Make sure that you’re keeping track of every review site that you appear on to prevent damage to your reputation.
• Engage with all of your customers
Be sure that you’re responding to your reviews to show that you care about the experience of all of your customers. Responding to a positive review is a great way to show appreciation and build loyalty. On the other hand, responding to a negative review in the right way can help turn an angry customer into someone who is ready to have a conversation with you or even an advocate of your business based on the way you handled the situation.
• Treat negative feedback as an opportunity to improve
Remember, negative reviews can also be an opportunity to improve your customer experience. For example, if you see a customer complaining about something like “long wait time”, you might want to explore how you can make your processes more efficient. Use the insights that you get from reviews to better understand what aspects of your business customers love and what aspects need to be improved.
• Fight slander against your business
Occasionally, you may get a bad review that comes from a someone you don’t recognize or is reviewing the wrong business. In this case, put your evidence out there strongly and politely so potential customers know that they’re looking at a fake review. This shows the public that the review doesn’t actually represent your business.
• Make sure that your listing information is accurate
Incorrect business listing information can spread across the Internet and cause serious damage to your business. Because there are just four major data aggregators that distribute listing information, a wrong address or phone number can quickly spread all over the Internet. That means a lot of confused and angry customers.
• Keep track of your competitors
Whether customers are trying to find a new restaurant or a new dental practice, they’re probably going to look up multiple different businesses online. That’s why it’s important to see what customers are saying about your competitors on review sites. If there are areas where your competitors are excelling and where you’re falling short, you can figure out what you can do differently to stay a step ahead.
• Stay active on social media
Customers do keep track of what friends and family are saying on mediums like Facebook and Twitter. So make sure that your business is posting regularly on social media. Recent news about your business, a new offering, a promotion or sharing one of the great customer reviews you recently received are all great things to share with your social media followers.
Can I do online reputation management myself?
Yes, you can do online reputation management yourself. However, if you do choose to do this, be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy.
Sending review requests to every customer is not something that most business owners have the time or energy for. Fixing listings, responding to reviews, and keeping track of competitor reviews requires a lot of effort on your part.
On the other hand, you can invest in an online reputation management software. This can help you automate these tasks and give you more time to run your business.
Reputation management software
Reputation management software can make the process of managing your reviews significantly easier. Here are a few ways reputation management software can help your business.
• Stay on top of customer reviews
Your customers aren’t just on big sites like Facebook or Google. Customers are discovering your business all over the Internet, making it important for you to stay on top of your online reputation on all platforms. Of course, this isn’t easy. It’s hard for business owners to go through every single review site manually, there just isn’t enough time in the day.
Luckily, there’s an easy way you can impress all of your potential customers, no matter where they discover you: Review Monitoring.
With Review Monitoring, it is easy to track all reviews from Google and Facebook to more industry-specific sites.
• Generate new customer reviews
The more reviews you have, the better your business looks to customers. While sending review requests to your customers can help, it’s tough to manually send out emails and texts to your customers.
Luckily, there’s a better way. Reputation Minded can send review requests to your customers automatically. We can help you integrate with your customer relationship management or practice management system and generate new reviews while you do the hard work of taking care of your business.
• Manage reviews all over the Internet
Want to make sure that you’re dealing with negative reviews quickly and effectively? Reputation Minded gives businesses automatic notifications every time they get a bad review. That makes it easy for your team to deal with these problems before they escalate.
• Share your reviews on social media
We can’t say it enough: customers value reviews. So why not share them on social media? With a review management tool, you can make sharing reviews on social media and on your website easier than ever.
Whenever you get a 5-star review, Reputation Minded allows you to share it automatically on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Reputation Minded also allows you to showcase your glowing reviews on your website with an easy-to-install review widget. All you have to do is copy and paste a simple line of code. After that, website visitors can see the testimonials of all your happy customers.
Online Reviews Are The Deciding Factor For Potential Customers
People that trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
People that say a review must be written within last 2 weeks in order to be relevant
People that would choose a business with a 3 star or below review rating