Online Reputation Management

What Is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management is a combination of techniques and strategies that positively influence the online perception of your business.

Some facets of online reputation management include social media, online community engagement, and the search results for your business.

Reputation Management Increases Transparency and Trust
How Reputation Management Benefits You AND Your Customers

It’s no secret, a great reputation online does wonders for business, here’s why:

To say that consumers value transparency is an understatement. Your customers want to trust your business, but they can only do so if you are honest, open, and communicative. Transparency demonstrates that you are willing to be vulnerable, accept criticism, and learn from your mistakes.

If you can demonstrate real accountability when things go wrong, if you address your customers’ most pressing questions and concerns, if you show that you care about your customers and not just your image, people will be more likely to do business with you.

 

Reputation Management Increases Transparency and Trust

How Reputation Management Benefits You AND Your Customers

It’s no secret, a great reputation online does wonders for business

To say that consumers value transparency is an understatement. Your customers want to trust your business, but they can only do so if you are honest, open, and communicative. Transparency demonstrates that you are willing to be vulnerable, accept criticism, and learn from your mistakes.

If you can demonstrate real accountability when things go wrong, if you address your customers’ most pressing questions and concerns, if you show that you care about your customers and not just your image, people will be more likely to do business with you.

 

You Have More Control Even When Things Go South

To say that consumers value transparency is an understatement. Your customers want to trust your business, but they can only do so if you are honest, open, and communicative. Transparency demonstrates that you are willing to be vulnerable, accept criticism, and learn from your mistakes.

If you can demonstrate real accountability when things go wrong, if you address your customers’ most pressing questions and concerns, if you show that you care about your customers and not just your image, people will be more likely to do business with you.

You Have More Control Even When Things Go South

Businesses are run by human beings, and it is the nature of human beings to make mistakes. Most of the time, those mistakes are small and don’t impact your business in any significant way. Sometimes, however, those mistakes can be big, or a small mistake can grow and grow until it reaches a big audience).

When that happens, online reputation management is your first defense. When there’s a negative conversation about your brand, you can join in on that conversation to defend yourself, clarify information, or make amends. You have much more control and can shape customer perception at the moment when it matters the most.

Reach New Customers & Strengthen Your Relationship With Existing Ones

When prospective customers search for your business on Google, they’re going to see more than just your website; they might see a review from an industry influencer, a comparison article between you and your competitor, or some yelp reviews. If all (or most) of those search results are positive, that could be the tipping point that converts that person into an actual customer.

 

Where You Can Monitor Your Online Reputation.

Before you get into online reputation management, first you need to know what makes up your “online reputation”. What makes this difficult for most beginners is that your online reputation can be spread across different platforms, and it’s hard to keep track. Below are some of the platforms you need to monitor as a business.

News Sites

Features from established newspapers/journals (think The New York Times or The Washington Post) are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, that’s the kind of publicity that most small businesses can only dream about.

On the other hand, negative coverage can be difficult, if not impossible, to counter. Whether positive or negative, how a news site frames you will have a huge impact on how customers perceive you months or even years down the line.

 

Review Sites

A huge part of online reputation management is your rating: a quantifiable, measurable number that reflects the collective perception of your brand. If you have a Facebook business page, a listing on Yelp, or can be found on Google My Business, you’re probably already aware of the impact and significance of review sites with your online reputation.

Most people consider reviews before purchasing a product or patronizing a business. Since your customers can weigh in on your business—and go into detail about their experience with you—reviews are one of the most trusted sources of information about your brand. In fact, according to surveys, a good review from a stranger is almost as good as a recommendation from a friend.

A business with a 5-star rating with hundreds of reviews is naturally going to be more trusted than a business with a lower rating or no rating at all. Positive reviews could convince customers who are on the fence, while negative reviews could dissuade potential customers from buying your goods/services.

Using Search Engine Optimization To Influence Your Online Reputation

Search engine optimization is the catch-all term for anything you do to boost your ranking when people search for your business name or other related search terms. SEO is critical in boosting your visibility, but it can also be used to influence your online reputation. By getting positive content to rank higher than negative content, you can minimize the impact of a bad review or unfavorable coverage.

Social Media

Whether your target market skews older or more millennial/Gen Z, your customers are on social media. Customers can reach out to your brand on Twitter for support, leave a rating on your Facebook business page, and share their thoughts about you on Instagram. With huge social media platforms being home to millions or even of billions of users—all of whom will be able to see and join in on the conversation—neglecting social media is not an option.

 

Blogs

Most blogs won’t have the same reach as a news/feature site, but the right blog can be even more powerful. Blogs still get a lot of traffic within their target market because they’ve established themselves as authorities within their communities.

Although niche, large blogs are very authoritative sources of information on business services.

If there is an industry-specific blog that’s popular within your niche (such as Pitchfork is for music or TechCrunch for technology/gadgets), then getting a favorable feature from them can significantly change how their readers—your actual target market—perceive you or your product/service.

 

 

What Online Reputation Management Involves

One of the biggest mistakes most small businesses make when DIY-ing their reputation management strategies is not taking a multi-faceted approach. You need to support your online reputation in different ways to get the best results. Below are some of the most important elements of any reputation management plan.

SEO

SEO covers a wide range of practices, such as creating good content, establishing and claiming your business directory pages, and building quality backlinks to your website.

 

Forums

Forums are often thought of like the older “sibling” of social media. Forums operate a little bit differently than the likes of Facebook or Twitter. Some forum sites, like Reddit, are incredibly popular. Others, like a niche or industry-specific ones, are targeted to a smaller yet very passionate subset of the internet.

Reddit has a tight-knit user base and will often talk bluntly about their experience with online services. A good review from Reddit is generally a trusted source for other ‘Redditors’.

Generally, forums have a smaller reach than social media, but that doesn’t mean you can discount their influence. The nature of forums is that they promote discussion, and they can be a hub for information. Fitness forums, tech forums, or car forums (for example) get thousands of hits a day from people seeking out advice and recommendations from people in their communities.

Forums are a great place to interact with your customers, learn more about their perception of you, and gain insight into their interests and needs.

Media Monitoring/Listening

Monitor the conversations around your brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media networks. Take content from all around the internet, including news sites and blogs. Get a bigger picture of how people really feel your brand and find out if there are any problems you need to address.

To make the most out of media listening, be proactive and do it regularly—not just when a crisis is already unfolding. Check industry and consumer sentiment at least once or twice a week. Better yet, set up an alert to get notifications whenever your brand is mentioned online.

 

Manage And Collection Of Online Reviews

As we’ve previously established, reviews are a huge part of online reputation management. Whenever a new review is posted to your Facebook, Yelp, or other profiles, take the time to read through it and respond. Encourage your existing customers to leave you a review.

You can do this on your own, or use a review software/reputation management system to automate some of these processes, giving you more time to focus on actually running your business.

 

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