What is Online Reputation Management?
Your online reputation greatly impacts your online and offline success rate. Establishing a strong and good online reputation can take years, but a single slander or comment can put your hard-earned reputation in danger if you fail to manage and maintain it.
A suitable and effective online reputation management strategy can help you decrease reputational risk and take the most out of social media platforms and search engines.
If you need to learn online reputation management, you have come to the right place. This article explains everything that you need to know about reputation management.
What is online reputation management?
To understand online reputation management, let's first understand what online reputation is.
The online reputation of a business is what people say about it on digital platforms and the internet. Several elements influence your online reputation. Some of these elements include content you publish on your website, posts you share on your business profiles, and responses to comments, messages, and queries of customers.
Online reputation is very important for the success of any business – no matter large or small. It can increase the number of customers, sales, value, and revenue of a business. That is why you should ensure your reputation stays good and improves over time.
Online reputation management (ORM) uses various tools, strategies, and practices to maintain, protect, and promote the image of a business in the online world. It ensures that users and search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing) find authentic and genuine content about your business on the internet.
Many things fall under online reputation management. You have to check and generate reviews, increase the number of followers, repair your reputation, boost search engine optimization of your website, and do much more.
To understand online reputation management, let's study some facts about it.
Why is Online Reputation Management Important?
For modern businesses, online reputational management can directly lead to profitability, customer satisfaction, brand awareness, and increased sales. However, it is often overlooked as one of the most important aspects of digital marketing strategy. This is unfortunate because most customers are researching products online before making purchases. As such, online reputation management is critical to business growth.
- 81% of consumer research a product online before purchasing.
- 88% of consumers check out a business's reviews before engaging them.
But what happens if they stumble upon a negative review?
The answer is simple: They don't buy from you.
Our recent study found that nearly half of the people surveyed had read a negative review about a local business within the previous six months. And while many consumers understand that there are legitimate reasons why a business might post a negative review, they still tend to believe those reviews are written by disgruntled former employees or competitors trying to sabotage the business.
As a result, many businesses need to do more to address the issue, which could cost them thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Facts and stats related to online reputation
Here are the stats and facts highlighting why managing and maintaining an online reputation is important for a business.
- 65% of people believe and trust the online searches they do when searching about a business.
- The number 1 result on the first page of Google gets 31.7% of total clicks. The interest of people reduces on the second page.
- Around 79% of consumers believe friends and family and online reviews give personal recommendations before making a purchase.
- Google is the most popular search engine in the world. It has a market share of 65.27%. Ranking your content on it can help businesses increase their revenue and customers.
- Around nine customers out of 10 go through online reviews before making a purchase.
- Since Google is the leading search engine in the world, 59% of consumers use it to read reviews of a brand or product.
How online reputation management works in business
Online reputation management is all about managing your business reputation on the web. You must ensure that potential customers or consumers have a good impression of your business when they search for it on the internet.
Numerous channels are used for online reputation management. The common examples of such channels include shared media (such as social media and partnerships), owned media (such as blog-positive content), paid media (such as sponsored content, brand ambassadors, sponsored posts, and lead generation), and publicity (such as influencer and investor relations).
How Does Online Reputation Management Protect You or Your Company?
Business owners are increasingly aware of how important it is to manage their online presence. They know that having a negative review posted somewhere could potentially damage their brand and affect their bottom line. But many must realize how much control they have over their online reputation.
While most people think of online reviews as something written by satisfied customers, there are plenty of ways businesses can shape those reviews too. For example, you can choose where your customer receives their email notification about a transaction. If you're a restaurant owner, send emails to happy customers thanking them for their patronage while sending others a link to a negative review. This way, unhappy customers won't even receive a notification.
Another thing you can do is make sure your business' name appears high up in search results. An online presence study conducted by Moz found that companies ranked within the first three positions for certain keywords had a 25% higher conversion rate than those further down the list. So, getting your business listed closer to the top of search results is key if you want to increase sales.
You can also monitor your competitors' online activity. Review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor allow you to view information about your competitor's reviews, ratings, and photos. And while it may seem like a good idea to respond to negative reviews, doing so can harm your reputation. Instead, focus on responding to positive ones.
Of course, it's impossible to keep your online reputation clean all the time if you don't manage it. People are bound to post things about you online. However, if you take steps to ensure that negative reviews aren't damaging your business, you'll find yourself in a better position to handle anything else that pops up.
Advantages of online reputation management
After elaborating on what is online reputation management, we have further explained why online reputation management is important for your business.
Build a good brand image
It takes years to build a brand image. But it takes only a single rumor or slander to ruin this image and waste your years of effort. Reputational damage can seriously impact your business growth and sales.
But you can control these slanders and rumors from spreading with the help of reputation management. It will tell you which tools to use to destroy the issue from its roots and prevent such incidents in the future.
As we have already mentioned in the stats section, many consumers check reviews of a product before buying it from an online store. People read reviews to see what others are saying about them. They will likely never buy a product or service with bad reviews.
So, if your business has positive reviews, it will attract buyers from everywhere. But if you have more negative than positive reviews, you will lose many potential customers and profit opportunities. Therefore, you should strive for positive reviews using the right reputation management strategies.
Increase customer trust
Customer trust and credibility are vital for the success of any business. Today, people can freely share their views and opinions about a business online. Reviews that you have on your website will help you build the trust of potential customers.
Similarly, sharing informative content on your blog is another way of increasing customer trust. When you share authentic content regularly, you tell the world that you have knowledge of your field and know the current trends. A knowledgeable person is better trusted than someone who needs to be aware of market trends and his business.
Reputation management can help you provide customers with the right content to make them believe in your business.
Improve online brand visibility and awareness
Increasing your online brand visibility and awareness is a great way to boost web traffic and increase sales. You can make your business visible online by creating websites and blogs.
You can create business profiles on different social media platforms and then share the URLs of your online store there. You can take your social media traffic to your online store.
Creating and managing your social media profiles is important for your business reputation. You will need an active team to regularly post fresh and engaging posts on different profiles and respond to comments and messages.
Collect insights on customer satisfaction
When you receive customer reviews, you get to know their views about your services and products. You learn what the things that you need to work on are and what your strengths are. It will help you create a better business plan in the future.
Online reputation management helps you receive more positive reviews and reduce the chances of negative reviews. It shows you the right way of responding to all sorts of reviews, even negative ones.
Increase search engine rankings
Search engines where millions of people do searches daily are the best places to rank your products and make them more visible to your potential customers.
Many people search for products every day. Most only go to the second page and scroll through the first page of products. If your website is ranked on the first page, your website can get a lot of organic traffic daily.
Google usually promotes brands that optimize their content and have user-friendly web pages. If you fulfill the requirements of Google, you will be able to get more traffic on your site. And this is where reputation management comes to help.
Attract productive employees
Customers, as well as employees, like a well-reputed and trusted business more than a company that has a poor reputation.
People like working in a place with a good name in the industry and caring for its employees. So, online reputation management can help you attract hard-working and productive employees who can offer their services to help you expand your business more.
Low reputational risk
A small incident or even a comment can influence your online reputation. It means you need to be extra careful when posting something on the internet. Billions of people use social media platforms. Anyone can see your posts and make them go viral in the bad sense if it is not appropriate. It can ruin the reputation that you developed over the years.
Companies that use the right and suitable reputation management strategies have a low reputational risk. They implement the best practices that help their customers see their positive image.
Influence of poor online reputation
Online reputation management is necessary for the success of any business. It does not matter if your business is large or small; a little mistake from your side or slander from competitors can disturb your peaceful online world and ruin your business reputation in a few minutes.
- Poor online reputation can influence your business in the following ways.
- It can reduce your search engine rankings.
- It can lead to a loss of revenue.
- It can damage your hard-earned reputation.
- It can reduce the customer retention rate.
- It can damage the trust of your loyal customers.
- It can increase your marketing expenses.
- It can reduce customer engagement on your business profiles.
Top online reputation management tips
Now that you have learned what is online reputation management. Let's see how you can do it. Below are the expert tips on online reputation management
Build an effective online reputation management strategy
Now that you know why online reputation is important for your business, you should work on building an effective strategy for it. You should set achievable goals, boundaries, and limitations and prioritize each task.
It would be best if you also built a crisis management strategy to use when an unfortunate incident occurs. This way, you will have your defense ready and be able to tackle the issue on time.
Own your mistakes
It does not matter whether you are a small or a large brand; anyone can make a mistake, whether you accept it or blame the customer for it. A well-reputed and upfront business knows how to own their mistake and offer the best solution for their mistake.
Tell your customer that you are sorry about that issue and are willing to make it correct. Contact them in the inbox and offer the right solution.
Improve your search engine optimization
Search engines, particularly Google, are a great source of organic traffic. You can increase your website's traffic by boosting your search engine optimization (SEO). Optimize your website's speed. People only like websites that take up to 5 seconds to load, and they leave such sites and land on others.
Similarly, optimize your content by using the right keywords and answering common queries of your customers.
Encourages customers to leave reviews and comments
Encourage your customers to share their experience with your products with others. It will help you generate more reviews, understand if your customers are satisfied with your services, and see what you need to improve in your products.
Respond to positive and negative reviews professionally
Negative comments and reviews do feel bad, but you should take them seriously and respond to reviewers professionally. Giving the right reply can help you change the reviewer's perspective, and he may give your business another chance.
Take the most out of email marketing.
Email marketing is a great tool to add to your reputation management strategy. Send emails regularly to your potential customers. Remind them of your upcoming sale, product launch, or latest content through compelling and catchy emails.
Choose suitable niche-related influencers.
Influencer marketing has become a great marketing tool now. You can collaborate with niche-related influencers and make their followers your loyal customers. Now, people believe in the words and recommendations of influencers a lot. So reach suitable influencers and let them boost your sales.
Online reputation management – Summary
If you want to preserve the business reputation that took you years to establish, you must use the right reputation management practices. These practices can be about improving your search engine optimization, utilizing different social media platforms, sharing authentic content, email marketing, and responding to reviews (both negative and positive) professionally.
Reputation management can boost your sales, increase loyal customers, attract better employees, increase search engine optimization and develop customer trust. So, use the above reputation management tips mentioned and let your reputation skyrocket.
January 4, 2023