5 June 2021

Online Reputation Management – Your Customer Said What About Your Business? Find Out How

If you own a business in today’s modern world, you know that it’s no longer a question of whether you have an online presence or not. It’s now a matter of what that online presence is. You need to know how people perceive your brand and whether that perception matches the one you want established. It’s not wise to just let things fall where they may when your online reputation is involved. Businesses can’t just let other people determine what their brand is, they should be the one on top of it controlling the narrative.

This is where online reputation management comes in.

What is online reputation management?

Online reputation management is the practice of taking charge of a brand’s reputation on the web. It involves constant monitoring and making sure that the perception of a business stays on the favorable side by boosting positive content and decreasing the visibility of negative content.

Why is online reputation management important?

Everyone is online these days. Your customers have social media accounts, your competitors have a website, and your prospects are scouring forums for product reviews. There is no escaping the power of the internet and how it’s become the ultimate source of business for a lot of brands.

Studies have shown that 75% of potential customers check reviews first before they make a purchase and four out of five of them choose the competition after reading one bad review. That’s eighty percent of new customers lost due to a possibly mismanaged online reputation.

Take control of what your customers see online and don’t let others – your dissatisfied customers or competitors – do it for you. Or it’s eighty percent of your new customers out the door before they even reach it.

How do you go about managing your online reputation?

There are a lot of details involved in successfully plotting and executing a good online reputation management strategy. Depending on how big your organization is and how much of a presence you already have online, the amount of work and time needed will vary. But the three things that are consistent no matter what when dealing with managing your brand’s online reputation are: 1) establishing where you currently are reputation-wise and your goals, 2) fixing any damage and working on accomplishing your goals, and 3) making sure you keep the goals you’ve reached.

Determining Your Online Reputation

Before executing any steps in managing your brand’s reputation online, it’s important that you figure out what the baseline is so you know how much work still needs to be done. Here are some important questions that will help steer you towards a good start.

What is your audience saying about you?

The most common sources that determine the general opinion about your brand are blogs, forums, social media, and review sites.

Go to these places online and type in the name of your business and check out the results. Are they mostly complaints about your product or service? Do they show your brand in a positive light? Is your website on the first page of search engines or are other sources shown first? The results will give you an idea on what your potential customers see and what their first impression might be when researching about you.

It’s important to note specific quotes and complaints or praises so you have a more concrete idea on how you’re being perceived online. This will also give you a more rounded view of your online reputation goals.

What are your reputation goals?

The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland said it best when he told Alice, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead you there.”

The same truth applies to reputation management. You can’t just be general about your goals. “I want a better online reputation” will not do. You have to be specific in what you want to happen. Is your business being bashed in forums? Plot a game plan on how to combat that. Does the competition keep on posting untrue reviews about you? Find a way to make them stop. Does your brand need more positive reviews? Get strategizing to encourage happy customers to share their experience with you.

It also helps when you divide your goals into immediate ones versus the mid-term and the long-term. That way, you can prioritize better and can audit your accomplishments more clearly.

Is it necessary to conduct a reputation audit?

Yes. Again, you won’t know how far you’ve come if you don’t mark where you started. Write down all measurable info about your current reputation online, compare it to your goals, and set a game plan on bridging the two. Some of the most common things you can measure in your audit are:

These are just examples of measurable data you can base your goals and strategy upon. It’s also essential to remember to set a timeline for these items so you know how often to conduct your audits and adjust any items needed.

Conducting Online Reputation Damage Control

Now that you’re clearer on what the problem is and what your goals are, it’s time to do some damage control. Consider the following questions when putting out some fires related to your online reputation.

Can you remove negative reviews?

It depends. If the reviews are posted on your space – your Facebook page, website, or YouTube channel – then you have the last say on what content gets to stay. You can remove anything negative about your brand and push the more positive comments on top of the pages. Some online personalities do this with the goal of fostering only positive thoughts on their spaces, especially in the comments thread in YouTube. You really can’t blame them. YouTube is infamous for having some of the most vicious commenters in the entire World Wide Web. If the threads are not moderated, it can get quite ugly.

However, you need to be careful when deleting negative comments and reviews. There’s a difference between removing a mean note from an online troll to removing a valid complaint from a customer. The former is understandable and usually necessary. The latter can send the wrong message to your audience – it might be construed as censorship and can have a negative effect in how your brand is perceived.

In cases like this, it’s better to let the reviews stay – as long as they’re not disrespectful – and just respond to them. This can be a great opportunity for you to give your audience a first-hand look into how your business handles criticisms and customer complaints.

How do you respond to bad reviews?

Very professionally. Here’s a helpful guideline when replying to negative reviews online.

Maintaining Your Online Reputation

Performing damage control is not enough when you want to be consistent in managing your online reputation. Once you’ve put out the more critical fires, it’s essential that you have a plan in place that focuses on the upkeep. In online reputation management, being reactive is only good if you’re catching up. After that, the goal is to be proactive. That means monitoring, tracking, and constantly updating.

Can you prevent any more bad reviews?

Realistically, you can’t – unless you tirelessly censor every mention online that puts your business in a negative light. In which case, you should probably stop because it’s not a very productive use of your time.

There will always be someone who won’t be very impressed with you or your product or your service, and they might get very vocal about it. You can’t really stop them from doing so, but you can mitigate the damage those reviews can cause.

What are the ways of lessening the damage from bad reviews?

If there’s a way to directly address the business when there’s an issue about their product or service, most consumers will use it. Only when that’s unavailable will most of them resort to grumbling on their personal FB account or going on a Twitter rant. You don’t want them to do that. You want the conversation to happen in your space not only so you’re updated but also to make sure you have the capability to moderate it.

What’s the best way of monitoring and tracking your online reputation?

The goal now is to be on top of the conversation. You’re already aware of the general audience consensus and have done some considerable work into repairing any damage caused by any lack of online reputation management. At this point, you just want to be kept abreast and just using basic Google search is not going to cut it anymore.

You now need the big guns. That means a tool or software that’s designed for online reputation monitoring. How these usually work is you set up the tool with the keywords you want monitored – your business name, your competitor’s, the keyword for your industry, etc. – and the tool will send you an alert when these words are pinged, giving you an opportunity to deal with any issue as soon as it pops.

What features do you need in an online reputation monitoring tool?

Do you also need to focus on good reviews?

Definitely. They say you need at least five good reviews to counteract one bad one. Find those good reviews as well. Be approachable to happy customers. You want them to post about their positive experience so your prospects don’t just get influenced by those that wrote bad reviews.

How do we get people to post positive reviews?

You can do it directly or through some other subtler ways.

The direct method would be to offer your products for free in exchange for a review. Of course, it doesn’t usually follow that the experience for the reviewer is going to be positive, but if you’re confident about what you’re offering, chances are they’ll be writing something good about you. You can also have contests or promos where the winner will then write something about the product. This will work not only to help you get more positive reviews for your brand, but as advertising as well.

A more indirect method of encouraging your happy customers to post about you is making social media sharing buttons prominent on your online spaces. Any time you write a new blog post or record a new YouTube video, close it with something like: “Have a story to share about our product? Email us, leave a comment, or post your story in our Facebook page!” Most of the time, your audience want others to know how much they like your product, they just need to be reminded.

The rising popularity of social media and the internet has made online reputation management a necessity for all kinds of businesses. It’s not just a witty phrase marketers throw around anymore. It’s become an essential part of how you take care of your brand. Be vigilant when it comes to protecting your online reputation. Know what people are saying about you and make sure you have the tools that will help you track your brand and manage the conversation. Remember, bad reviews will influence prospects and can cost new customers while proactive reputation management will engender loyal consumers and invite more. Give your brand’s reputation the focus and work it deserves.



Source by Caelan Cheesman


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