Remember when you were in middle school and a few kids made up a rumor about you or a friend. Whether it was true or not, the rumor spread like wildfire, and after that, it became a part of how others identified you -- and you weren’t able to do much to counter the claim.
Your business’ digital reputation is susceptible to the same risk, only now we have online reputation management tools to intervene and minimize the damages -- so you’re no longer helpless.
Google yourself. What do you see? Are you happy with how your business is represented? Are you represented fairly? In less than a second, your entire digital reputation is accessible -- which can be a good or bad thing depending on what’s displayed.
The search results you see are also what consumers see. Meaning, if you aren’t impressed, neither are your prospective customers, which is problematic for obvious reasons.
An Overview of Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management is the practice of creating strategies that shape or impact a business’ online reputation. It helps drive public opinion about a business, its products and services through reviews, while also monitoring and in some cases, removing fake or unfair reviews.
Managing your online reputation includes deploying strategies to regulate, generate, improve, and respond to online reviews that customers leave about your business -- both positive and negative.
To further break it down, online reputation management usually includes:
- Implementing an online reputation management software to request reviews from customers and display them on all major online review sites;
- Being proactive about asking customers to leave online reviews about your business (email, SMS text message, in person, on receipts, etc.);
- Adding review schema markup to your website;
- Thoughtfully replying to both positive and negative reviews to either thank the customer for their feedback or address and resolve the issue;
Popular review sites include Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, along with so many others.
The Important of Online Reputation Management
More than 8 in 10 consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Let that sink in. When a consumer is researching a business, they turn to the internet.
It has become common practice for consumers to look for and view online reviews prior to choosing a company to do business with. Consumers want to understand what it’s like to choose your business and the kind of service you offer before committing.
The best way to gain this insight is to hear from other customers who have already experienced it for themself -- hence the growing reliance on reviews for customers and the increasing importance of online reputation management for businesses. What they find in a search matters a lot.
If you’re trying to build your online presence (which every business should be), you have to pay close attention to what customers say online. Your digital reputation can help you to acquire new customers or effectively deter new ones from choosing your business.
As consumers have migrated online, the need for positive customer sentiment online has grown and reviews have shifted to the forefront. Online reviews are now an essential part of the decision making and overall purchase process.
Reviews are everywhere. If you make a search on Google, you’ll notice the star ratings appearing alongside organic search results in the Google 3 pack.
As a business, you can’t ignore reviews -- they will be displayed regardless of whether you acknowledge them or not. And you shouldn't want to. If done correctly, your online reputation can be your business’s biggest asset.
More than ever, potential customers go online to look at reviews so they can make decisions about which local businesses to visit and which service to use. You want have a flawless reputation to signal that your business is the best and only choice.
Types of Online Reputation Management
Google My Business Reviews
Managing your Google reviews can be a daunting task. You’re probably thinking: Where do I even begin? If you take it slow and go step by step it can be a lot more manageable.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind when you are managing your Google reviews:
- Figure out a schedule and block off time to manage your reviews (this can be daily, weekly, biweekly, etc.);
- Start responding to reviews -- both positive and negative reviews require attention;
- Ask customers to leave you reviews and include the direct link; and
- Never write fake reviews or bribe customers to leave you positive feedback.
Reputation management isn’t limited to business directories, reviews have also infiltrated social media platforms. Social media reputation management is the process of tracking, monitoring, and removing negative social media material about your brand to improve your name or standing. If done properly, social media reputation management builds your credibility to customers, which strengthens their trust in your brand.
SEO Reputation Management
When you think about reputation management, SEO probably is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, there is work to be done. You want to make sure that when a consumer searches for your business, you are the one showing up -- and not one of your competitors.
SEO reputation management also consists of ensuring that your business, location, products, and services are accurately displayed in the search results. All of this is critical when your customers make a relevant search.
Take Control of Your Brand with Online Reputation Management
Your online reputation is how consumers see your business when they search for you or a relevant business online. Online reputation management means taking control of the online conversation and having a say in the way your brand is portrayed. In other words, you’re able to protect your reputation, improve your credibility, and make a positive first impression to grow your bottom line.
The purpose of online reputation management is to create balance, counteract misleading information, engage with customers, and put your best foot forward. GoSite’s Review tool offers all of the aforementioned perks, plus more, all from a single dashboard. With GoSite, you can build a digital reputation that you’re proud of and use it to attract new customers by turning searchers into buyers.