The Complete Guide for 2020
Online Reputation Management
Your business’s reputation is one of the most valuable asset. Online reputation management can help you leverage it to its fullest potential. In this guide, we’ll cover how you can use online reputation management to score higher on Google search, get chosen by more clients, and be the most preferable business in your area.
A beginner’s guide for online reputation management
Here’s what you need to know before
you get started with online
Online reputation management is 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 the comments that people leave about your business on social media.
What’s the value of a 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.
The history of online reputation management
Reputation management is by no means a new idea. Ever since the dawn of commerce, people have wanted to do business with organizations they’ve felt they could trust. So businesses have always aimed to build a great reputation that inspired trust and credibility. With the rise of the Internet, reputation management 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.
Do negative reviews hurt your online reputation?
While a business with lots of reviews probably will have some negative reviews here and there, it usually shouldn’t be an issue. A study by Spiegel Research Center showed that customers prefer businesses with some negative reviews over those with a perfect 5-star rating. A few negative reviews prove that your reviews are authentic.
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.
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.