The Definitive Guide to Online Reputation Management
Can you recount the last time you selected a restaurant without going through its online reviews? Today, checking out online reviews before trying out a service or a product is not limited to dining or entertainment alone. In this day and age, buyers heavily depend on what people are saying online about all kinds of businesses.
If you look at the statistics, 91% of people in the 18-34 age group trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Considering this, you can easily tell one thing. If a person searches for or comes across your business on the web, your online reputation determines how they perceive your brand.
Therefore, it is important to know that the online reputation of your brand is “everything” today! Online reviewing is like digital word-of-mouth marketing. It can influence whether or not prospects purchase from your business.
Given that people consider a brand’s online reputation before making a purchase, it has become more important than ever to know about ORM. It is short for Online Reputation Management. ORM is all about creating a positive online narrative around your business. It proactively influences the kind of information individuals will find about your business online.
Simply put, ORM is an ongoing task that creates and maintains your brand name as well as its good standing.
Why Does Online Reputation Management Matter?
Always remember, individuals, are talking about you irrespective of the size of your business. These people can be your clients, customers, prospects, and friends. Even as we speak, they could be posting a comment on your blog, tweeting about your current product, posting on Facebook about their experience, and doing a lot more.
Keeping this in mind, you need to put in ORM efforts for the purpose of protecting or restoring your brand image. ORM manages content in search engines. Moreover, it encourages satisfied clients to provide more positive feedback.
The Top Content Types Which Hurt Your Brand’s ORM
Let’s discuss the types of content that can hurt your business:
1. Negative Feedback on Social Media
You can get negative reviews on social media portals such as Instagram and Facebook. During this time, ensure you provide a speedy resolution. Negative reviews are inevitable and responding to and resolving customer complaints does not tarnish the reputation of your business permanently.
2. Online Reputation Bombs
Poor online reputation can impact your reputation and sales for an extremely long time. They are incredibly powerful because of their prominence in search engine results.
Some examples of defamatory content that can appear in Google’s search results about a company are:
- Negative Reviews: Review sites allow customers to express their opinion on a specific business. On these sites, they answer if they liked your product/service and will recommend it to others. Negative reviews on these websites can impact your sales.
- Negative Media Coverage: Unfavorable print, TV, and online media coverage negatively affect brands and companies.
- Hate Sites: People can also create an ad hoc website on which they express their opinions and even post illegal content it. These so-called “hate sites” sometimes attack public figures and companies with false information and insults. A search result such as “The truth about YOURCOMPANYNAME” for instance can make your prospects change their mind about purchasing from you.
The Key to ORM: Check What People Say About Your Business
As we mentioned above, people are constantly talking about your brand, products, and services online. You should make it a point to listen to these people to manage your online reputation. And for this, you can use social media monitoring tools.
For instance, you can do social media monitoring for your business via Google Alerts. It helps you monitor the web for mentions of your business. All you need to do is sign into your Google account, visit the Google Alerts page, and enter a phrase or a keyword in the search box.
You will get a notification on your email each time Google finds a result that holds relevance to your alert criteria. Also, you can easily set alerts for specific languages and regions.
Online Reputation Management Tips
Given that we live in a digital era, nothing can protect your business from criticism. To help you remain on top of your reputation, there are some practical tips that you can follow. Apart from making efforts to become well-respected in your field, here are some useful tips you can implement:
A. Check Your Google Results
Always pay close attention to your Google results. If the words “rip off” and “scam” are linked with your business, then it is something that must concern you. Implementing a strong SEO strategy is your best answer to negative reviews, false reports, and negative press.
B. React Fast But Politely
Ensure you respond quickly but politely to a customer complaint. For instance, if a customer writes a complaint on Twitter, you can reply with a simple and prompt response, such as:
“Thanks for making us aware of the problem. We are working on it and will get back to you as soon as possible.” This is better than a late reply, even if you communicate more information in it.
C. Focus on Improving Yourself
Sometimes criticism can offer an opportunity to know more about your audience and create a better message for them the next time.
Best Practices for Online Reputation Management
To monitor and manage your brand reputation online, you can follow some best practices. Let’s discuss some of these practices in detail:
1. Your Business Needs to Be Transparent
Today, brands are required to be completely transparent. When you share the good and the bad about your brand, this means you are transparent with your audience. The benefit you get out of it is simple – it helps build trust among your audience.
Now, you may wonder how to “be transparent.” Let’s discuss some of the ways in which you can do that:
- Requesting feedback
- Letting employees talk about services and products publicly
- Establishing a one-to-one communication channel
- Addressing criticism publicly
2. Update Your Digital Handles Regularly
Ensure that you make a complete profile of your business on professional and social media platforms. Moreover, make it a point to create a consistent and cohesive brand presence on landing pages, social pages, and other digital media handles. You must use the same colors, logo, and content tonality during this time.
3. Encourage Your Satisfied Customers to Write Reviews
You can always encourage your happy customers to write a testimonial or review for your business. This way, your prospects get to read positive and honest opinions about your brand. To help your customers leave a review, provide them with a link or send them an email.
Note: Make sure that you thank the customers who have left a positive review.
4. Respond to Negative Reviews
Make it a point to respond to negative reviews promptly. Try to think hard of a solution to reply back with. Providing a resolution helps curb the damage a negative review can cause. If you respond with an apology without a solution, then it just feels empty.
Tip: If the mistake is from the customer’s side, ensure that you gently point it out. Refrain from using foul or sarcastic language.
All in all, when you publicly respond to negative reviews, it shows that you are a brand that acknowledges its mistakes and is more than willing to rectify them.
The first step towards managing your online reputation is listening to what your audience has to say and searching for ways in which you can connect with them. Building an SEO strategy and responding to online criticism are other crucial steps that you need to follow.
If you haven’t started to build your brand’s online narrative yet, it is time you start now! Because believe it or not, people may be putting up reviews, vlogging, or talking online about your products as we speak.