Table of Contents
- Why Online Reputation Management is Important
- How Negative Online Reputations Affect Businesses
- What is Online Reputation Management?
- What are Online Reputation Management Services?
- Types of Online Reputation Management Services
- Strategy of Online Reputation Management Services
- Benefits of Online Reputation Management Services
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was once criticized for allowing negative customer reviews on products on his site. His criticizer thought this would reduce his sales.
Bezos was the wiser, realizing that these reviews help build customer trust and loyalty for his site since they help people make informed purchase decisions.
And that customer loyalty will INCREASE his sales and lead to his success.
Now, as a small business owner, you may not have the same business structure as Amazon, but increasing customer trust can do wonders for your company as well.
To be clear, we are not saying you should aim for negative reviews. We’re simply pointing out the effect that customer trust can have on a business. And nowadays, customer trust starts online.
So how does your business look online? Do you have a trustworthy online reputation? What are online reputation management services? Can they help you build customer trust and increase your sales?
First, let’s take a look at why having a positive online reputation is important.
Make sure to read until the end where you’ll see a downloadable PDF of tips to improve your online reputation!
Why Online Reputation Management is Important
How your business is seen online is your online reputation. Online reputations let consumers know whether or not your business is credible, allowing them to make purchase decisions. In today’s digital world, competition has never been greater. By the click of a button, consumers can see multiple different businesses all offering similar products or services. They have a plethora of options to choose from, and when evaluating their prospects, you want your company to come out on top.
Let’s go through a hypothetical scenario of what a customer’s journey may look like online.
- David, a university student in New York, is looking for a new Pizza place to try. He may start with a simple Google search. “Pizzerias in New York”.
- David’s search will most likely pop up a bunch of different Pizzerias for him to check out. He may go through the various restaurants and look at their star ratings. He wants to choose a business he can trust!
- Next, David may choose a couple of top picks and go through their reviews in detail, reading what previous customers have said about each business.
- Maybe David wants to see what these restaurants and their pizzas look like. He may check out their photos on Google or Yelp, or he may even start searching through their social media pages.
- Finally, once David has chosen a Pizzeria, he’ll visit the business’s website to look at their options. If he likes what he sees and can easily navigate the website, he’ll order himself a delicious meal!
Going through this hypothetical, we can see the steps that customers often take when discovering new businesses online. Throughout the journey, David is forming opinions and evaluating each of the companies he sees based on their online presence or current online reputation. A missing piece of the puzzle can alter his views, such as a low star review rating.
Reviews play a large role in online reputations as 94% of consumers say they have avoided a company due to negative reviews.
We’ll go into more detail about the factors that influence online reputations in a minute, but first, let’s take a look at how a negative online reputation can affect your business.
How Negative Online Reputations Affect Businesses
Having a positive online reputation helps build trust, brand credibility, and ensures more customers choose your business over your competitors! A negative online reputation can do the opposite, diminishing online trust and opportunities to generate and retain customers.
A negative or non-existent online reputation can also hinder your already-in-place marketing efforts. The hypothetical journey that we mentioned above about David, the university student, describes a marketing funnel where he discovers a new pizzeria through a Google search.
Let’s say David finds your business through a Google ad or a social media ad. After he sees your ad, David may research to discover if your business is trustworthy. Without a positive online reputation to back up your business, your marketing efforts could be wasted. Especially if you are running PPC (pay-per-click) ads, David’s click on your ad may not convert.
Now that you know the importance of a positive online reputation, are you thinking “how do I ensure I have a positive online reputation?” Or “what is online reputation management?”
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management (ORM) involves monitoring, protecting, or improving a brand’s online image and identity. For this reason, it can also be called online brand reputation management. In digital marketing, ORM has become a key value in helping businesses build customer trust and grow. Some businesses use an ORM service to help them with their online reputation.
What are Online Reputation Management Services?
Online reputation management services create and implement strategies to ensure a business has a positive online image throughout many platforms.
Types of Online Reputation Management Services
The types of online reputation management services usually boil down to the factors that influence online reputations in the first place. Almost any online activity can play a part, but when breaking it down, digital reputations tend to form based on four main factors; Social Media, Online Reviews, Search Engine Results, and Business Websites.
Social Media Reputation Management
Think of social media as a free tool to communicate with your customers and online audience. You can create an online voice through your social media content. The way you interact on social media plays a role in your online reputation and how your customers view your business. Through content creation and publication, you can choose what voice you want your business to have. Is it professional? Playful? Etc.
The type of content you publish impacts your reputation as well. If you post valuable, informative content, you can position your business as an expert in your field, building customer loyalty.
Managing the aspects of social media is considered a type of internet reputation management services and can be called social media reputation management. You can think of these online reputation specialists as profile defenders or profile protectors.
Online Review Reputation Management
Online reviews, such as Google and Yelp reviews, are a vital piece of the puzzle. As many as 89% or nearly nine out of ten consumers worldwide read reviews before making a purchase! A business with a high star rating can make a great impression on these online viewers.
Unfortunately, even one bad review can lower a business’s star rating. But there are ways to improve your online reputation even after a stream of negative reviews. Just like how most consumers read online reviews, many of them also read business responses, as much as 97%!
The way a business responds to its reviews can impact its online reputation. 56% of consumers say their perspective has changed based on how a business responded to a review.
We’ll be writing a future blog giving tips on how to respond to negative reviews. Make sure to keep an eye out for it!
Managing, monitoring, and generating online reviews is another type of digital reputation management services.
Search Engine Results (SEO Reputation Management)
When you Google your business, what do you see? You’ll most likely see a Google Business Profile, your website, and maybe your Facebook page, but what else is there?
What shows up on search engines, such as Google, can affect your business’s online reputation. Typically, the first page of results matters the most (90% of the world’s population only look at the first page!).
If there are any negative articles written about your business that show up on the first page, this can impact your credibility.
Search engine results influence online reputations in other ways as well. Say a customer isn’t explicitly searching for your business but a product or service that you offer. How does your business look online in this scenario?
In this case, your business’s directory listings, such as your Google Business Profile/Google My Business listing or your Yelp business page, play an essential role.
Monitoring what consumers see in search results is a type of online reputation management services called SEO reputation management or search engine reputation management.
Business Website Reputation Management
Do you think online viewers form opinions about your business based on your website? The answer may surprise you since 75% of users make judgments of a company’s credibility based on its website design! With this in mind, you can see how business websites play a part in shaping online reputations. But it’s not just the design that is important; the content and technical aspects – such as loading speeds – of a website play a role as well.
Actually, websites that take too long to load oftentimes don’t even get to leave an impression as 74% of mobile users in the US will abandon a website if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load!
Website development and maintenance are also a type of online reputation management, ensuring business websites are up-to-date, functional, and optimized.
Strategy of Online Reputation Management Services
Depending on your business’s primary goal, the strategies that an online reputation management company uses may differ. There are three main goals that most companies fall under when considering online reputation management services; build, repair, and maintain.
Online Reputation Building
For businesses that don’t have much of an online presence, an online reputation specialist will strategize to create or build a positive online image. This can include creating and optimizing social media accounts, claiming and optimizing Google Business Profiles and Yelp listings, and developing a professional website and blog. To build a positive online reputation, experts will create positive online content and help your business acquire positive user-generated content such as reviews.
Online Reputation Repair
For businesses with a negative online reputation – such as a low star rating and multiple negative reviews on popular review sites – an online reputation specialist will work to improve how the business appears online. This can include suppressing negative content and ensuring that positive content, such as a business blog, is search engine optimized. It can also involve helping the business get more positive reviews or social media comments and creating effective responses to ensure negative reviews don’t go unanswered. Other tactics can include removing inappropriate content, such as flagging reviews, and website updates.
Online Reputation Monitoring and Maintenance
Once a business has developed a positive online image, an online reputation specialist will monitor and manage online platforms to ensure the business’s reputation remains positive. This can include monitoring review sites and responding to comments, managing social media accounts and publishing content, and maintaining the business’s website. This can also involve monitoring forums, blogs, and search engine results to understand and report what, if anything, is being said about your business online.
Now that you’ve gotten to know the strategies involved in online reputation management, are you wondering, ‘how can I keep up with all of this?’.
Online reputation management services will help you save time. You won’t have to do any of this yourself. But, saving time is not the only benefit of online reputation management services.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management Services
Hiring an online reputation management service means you can focus on your business, knowing you leave a good impression online.
An Expert’s Touch
Have you ever read one of your online reviews and had no idea how to respond? These services have specialists who focus solely on online reputation and have experience handling even the most challenging online reviews. You can sleep easily at night knowing your business’s online reputation is well taken care of.
You won’t have to question whether your social media presence is effective, whether your website leaves a good impression, or whether your review responses sound professional. With an online reputation management service, you get an expert’s touch.
This also comes in handy during worst-case scenarios. If your business undergoes an online reputation crisis, say with a bunch of customers leaving negative reviews, you have experts by your side to handle the situation.
With the help of professionals, you can take back control of your business’s online image, deciding what voice you want to have and ensuring that positive content is at the forefront of search results.
Get More Customers
Having a positive online presence and reputation helps build customer trust. Think about the hypothetical journey we went through earlier with David, the university student in New York. If your business maintains a positive online reputation, more customers can complete the buyer journey and choose your company.
Customers like to choose businesses that they can trust, and because of this, search engines such as Google want to show customers reputable companies. Businesses with an excellent online reputation tend to rank higher on Google locally because they have better star ratings, a social media presence, and a high-ranking website.
Online reviews alone account for a little over 15% of Google’s local rankings! Online reputation management services can help your business rank higher on Google organically and locally, meaning more customers can discover what you have to offer!
Get More Valuable Job Applicants
Maintaining a positive online reputation not only helps your business get more customers, but it can also help your business get more qualified applicants as well! When searching for a suitable workplace, many job seekers today turn to the internet, specifically social media, to learn more about the business they may end up working for.
As much as 79% of applicants use social media to assist them in their job search.
Not only that, online review sites come in many forms; many of them have a focus on employee reviews – such as Glassdoor. Certain online reputation management services can also monitor and handle these reviews for you.
When qualified job seekers see your business’s social media activity and employee reviews, you want to give off the right impression. Having an online reputation management service by your side can ensure that you do!
Adler Social Online Reputation Management Services
Now that we’ve gone over online reputation management services and their benefits in detail, do you want a hand with your business’s online image? Adler Social offers affordable online reputation management services designed for small business owners. To learn more about us and how we can help build, repair, or maintain your business’s online reputation, give us a call or schedule a FREE demo on our home page!
Make sure to check out these FREE tips to improve your online reputation! Click the link below to download!