69% of potential employees won’t apply to a business that has a bad reputation
92% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to engage with a business
85% of people think online reviews are as valuable, or more, than personal recommendations
Your personal reputation isn’t so different from your business’s reputation online, except that online reputations are easier to harm, and harder to change. No matter your industry, business size, or target demographic, every company should have a plan when it comes to online reputation management (ORM).
Because good ORM isn’t just about putting out fires. It’s also about protecting your brand, increasing your digital presence, and establishing trust with your customer base to create lead generation opportunities.
What is Online Reputation Management?
ORM is about maintaining how people view and identify with your business—the good, the bad, the indifferent.
Your business’s online reputation can be built and sustained, and even recovered when it needs to be. But how is that possible?
The answer is, through at least 4 components that you can incorporate into your own business plan for ORM:
Making sure your brand is well-defined, occupies some kind of niche within your industry, and addresses a specific problem in a unique way for your customer base are all crucial ways to stand out from the rest of your competitors.
Branding isn’t just key for marketing. It makes sure that people aren’t leaving negative reviews because they think you’re someone else, or because they don’t understand what your company can do for them.
Crisis Management & PR
While crisis management isn’t the sole goal of public relations and ORM, contrary to popular belief, it is a great tool to have in your basket when things do go wrong.
Online defamation and slander are serious problems that can have detrimental costs, and having a plan to tackle these instances can ultimately save your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your web content for search engine rankings (by Google, Safari, and other browsers). An effective SEO strategy doesn’t just increase the number of views on your website and other digital content.
It also has the power to help drive brand awareness for your company: by establishing its credibility and widening its scope.
Monitor your mentions, reposts, and shares on whatever social platforms you’re using. Social is a great way to interact and communicate with your customer base directly and address any concerns that may have with your business, and with the products or services they received.
How ORM Impacts Lead Generation
Online reputation management practices can actually help generate leads. The more you’re able to establish trust with your existing customers, the more that message will spread to potential customers. Good ORM can augment your efforts in digital marketing—mostly through your campaigns in SEO, paid advertising, and (you guessed it) social media.
You’ll be able to drive conversions and increase your lead gen capacity, and even acquire partners and other networking opportunities.
Online Reviews are Key for ORM
When it comes to gaining customer feedback, online reviews can go a long way in helping you build a great reputation online. You can increase awareness for your business and stimulate interest in your company compared to other competitors.
Where You Can Get Reviews
We talked about utilizing social media as a customer service tool, but the traditional routes for getting reviews are still just as effective, and even necessary when it comes to building your reputation online.
There are many avenues available for getting reviews, but the important thing is maximizing quality as well as quantity, in a place where people are most likely to read them.
You can build up your customer reviews through:
Business Listings: Google My Business, Safari, and Bing.
Online Forums: Trip Advisor, Yelp, Reddit, Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram comments
Your Website: Blog comments, other commenting portals
Responding to Negative & Positive Reviews
Answering reviews, regardless if they’re positive or negative, is an important part of customer service online. It’s also a crucial aspect of ORM.
But there’s an art to responding to reviews that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially because what ends up on the internet usually stays there forever. That’s why you shouldn’t argue with reviewers in such a public sphere, or be too aggressive.
Your knee-jerk reaction to a critical review probably isn’t what you want the world to see, because it may end up reflecting poorly on your business. Here are some tips for dealing with reviews:
Be decisive in responding, but always be professional and polite.
Be honest and transparent; if a mistake was made, own up to it.
Identify common feedback concerns and strengths.
Look for ways to make your processes better.
Encouraging Customers to Leave Reviews
Gaining new reviews from your customers can be as easy as asking them. In person. At your business when they’ve purchased a product or at the end of a service.
When face-to-face isn’t an option or isn’t enough, you can create online surveys in email campaigns and paired with e-commerce. Use social media to generate buzz about product reviews, as well as other helpful automated customer service feedback tools.
Need Help with Online Reputation Management?
Negative feedback can not only have adverse effects on your brand, but also future opportunities that may be lost due to bad press. People value companies they believe they can trust, which is why establishing your credibility, and maintaining it, is so important.
If you need help with online reputation management for your business, you don’t have to figure it out by yourself.
Here at Digital Resource, we are dedicated to helping businesses succeed through all methods of digital marketing, including protecting your brand from harm. Our services include social media marketing, SEO management, optimized content creation, and so much more. Contact us today to get started!
Alexandra is a content specialist, graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She has a passion for literature and writing, and has extensive experience in content writing for digital marketing.
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