Our Best Reputation Management Strategies for Local Businesses
The best reputation management strategies can help local business owners stand out in competitive marketplaces. Learn how with our strategy guide.
Online reputation is a very important part of your job especially for small businesses because it builds trust with your employees, customers, and investors.
There aren’t many things that are more important than the online reputation management and online review management of your brand because they will grow your business more effectively and will deliver a lot better return on your investments.
The worst part is that companies are waiting until they fall into public relations crisis before they decide to invest in their digital reputation and hire an online reputation management company. This is happening because there is very low information that the industry is providing about online reputation management when it’s needed, and why is it good for your business.
Starting from the beginning of this year there is information that nearly 5 billion people were online and that means 60% of the world population. A positive online presence is very important because whenever potential customers search on Google results about your business, what they see will act as your first impression. That first impression will make a great impact and will decide if that potential customer will choose to do business with you or not.
There is a statistic that shows 80% of consumers are looking online when they are trying to find more information about your business which means it is vital to make a good first impression. Additionally, 90% of those customers that are looking online will not choose a business with a bad reputation.
If you are wondering what makes a bad reputation you should know that on the internet it doesn’t take much for your positive reputation to drop. If there is only one negative article visible online you are risking losing up to 22% of prospective customers and those numbers can increase very fast. For the businesses with 4 or more negative articles online, there is a statistic they can lose up to 70% of potential customers.
The great news is that your online reputation is always under your control, which means that you can make a strategy and start working on it whenever you want. Creating a strong online presence and hiring an online reputation management company will help you build your brand and present your company in a good way to potential customers.
Online reputation protection is something that requires a lot of attention and is also a long-term strategy. It will be able to protect you against threats that can ruin your reputation.
In these modern times, small business owners cannot just ignore the bad reviews that people are leaving about their business online.
You should know that 90% of potential customers are reading online reviews before they decide to visit or buy something which means your company’s online reputation is playing a crucial part there. Additionally, another statistic shows that online reviews impact around 70% of purchasing decisions.
A negative online reputation can become your business’s biggest weakness while at the same time a positive online reputation can be your biggest strength. You can simply get an example from people around you and see how much they use search engines like Google and others in order for them to get help when making decisions.
More Info About Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Online reputation management is a process that requires optimizing and publishing content online in order to control the first page of Google or other search engines for branded search queries. A standard online reputation management strategy will include search engine optimization, customer service tactics, social media marketing, public relations, and review management.
If we are taking a larger view we can see that online reputation management actually falls under the search engine optimization (SEO) category. Because if you put your focus on damage control, brand health, or reputation recovery your biggest priority for sure will be to take control of what people are seeing whenever they search your brand online.
By some statistics, 98% of people who are searching for something won’t look past the first page of Google results. This means content that is shown on the first page is actually creating the public opinion and their perception of a certain brand or service. With this said everyone needs to understand that quality and positive content and higher ranking will be able to make a great picture of your brand and bring you a lot of benefits.
You will need to know there are a number of digital channels that are involved in online reputation management. In order for you to create a positive feeling about your brand, you will need to actively manage all of them.
Digital channels mean the communications path and all the platforms that promote, market or sell our services, brands, ideas, products, and electronic services. This will include but is not limited to mobile apps, electronic shops, Self Service Machine (SSM), and websites. These channels can be separated into a couple of categories.
Your Brand Reputation is Worth Millions
In these modern times, a negative experience can go viral in a matter of hours because of social media and its speed and reach. This is something that can do serious damage to your business and online reputation. As an example in 2017, a United Airlines flight crew dragged a person off an airplane and somebody used that moment to record the incident. This video went viral so fast on social media and made an instant impact with more than 100 million views in a short period of time.
You are probably wondering what was the outcome? United Airlines lost more than one billion dollars in market worth. With this example, you can see how a minor accident or misunderstanding can make enormous damage to certain businesses and how harmful negative press can be to your brand.
In case your business has negative or bad results that are appearing in Google search you have some options and things that you can do or implement in order to create a great first impression.
Online Reputation Management Impact on Sales
You are probably aware that your online reputation management has a big and direct impact on your sales. Important information is that 88% of buyers make online research before they make a decision about purchasing something.
If those potential buyers see a bunch of negative reviews and comments they will probably change their minds and decide to look and buy from your competitors.
On the other hand, if they are able to see positive comments and reviews when searching for your brand that is something that will encourage them to go on and use your service or buy your products.
In addition to this article, we made a list of tips for you to consider in case you want to improve your online business reputation.
Best Reputation Management Tips
Google your Brand Name
One of the beginning steps, when you try to establish yourself online, is to Google your brand name and see what results will be shown and what kind of first impression people looking for your business are getting. If your business is going great it doesn’t mean your online reputation is on the same level.
Just try and Google your company name and check the results on the first 2,3 pages. The most efficient way is to look at those results through the eyes of your customers or potential customers and you will be able to see what kind of ‘picture’ those people are getting about your company.
You will need to make good observations and take notes of good and bad things in order to get a better idea about your online appearance.
Fun fact: In the United States, almost half of the adults are not satisfied with the Google search results they are getting.
These results mean that with quality content and good management of your social media accounts you will be able to place yourself in that small percentage.
Establish Your Business Online (Social Media Management)
Once you make an observation of your online status it is time to establish your online presence and appearance on review sites and business listings.
You will need to be sure that you appear on sites like Bing, LinkedIn, and Google. Make research and try to claim all unclaimed profiles for your business because if you don’t register your accounts your business may appear absent and put some question marks about your business.
Another interesting aspect of your online presence is social media platforms. You will need to go and search for most professional social media platforms and start creating profiles. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are just some of the many social media platforms that you can use to advertise and additionally inform your consumers and potential customers.
It is fine if you don’t have a plan to use some of the accounts, however, you will need to open those accounts and take them under your control. It is very important to hold the original username so you can at least prevent others from taking it and potentially making harm to your online appearance.
Monitoring Your Online Appearance (Social Media Monitoring)
With Google, you can set monitoring for your name and the name of your business. With this option enabled Google will be able to send you notifications whenever someone posts about you on another website, blog, or anywhere across the internet.
These notifications come early (right after someone posts about you or your company) and you will be able to prepare a response depending on the situation. If it’s about bad news you will need to prepare an answer and if it is about good news then you should try and boost engagement. The sooner you get informed about the situation the sooner you can try to manage it.
Making Great Online Content
Many business owners are focused on how to get more reviews for their business. It is good to encourage your customers to write online reviews about your company but you should know that those reviews are something that you cannot totally control.
Another and even better option is to create and post relevant, informative, and interesting content and articles. This process is time-consuming because high-quality content creation can take time and also it will take more time to make an impact on search results, however, it will definitely bring you great benefits.
One interesting idea when you are creating quality content is to post useful ideas, tips, and tricks like free content for your audience.
You may feel like you are giving free advice but it will actually attract positive feedback. If the ideas you are sharing are useful people will share them and interact in comment sections which will improve your Google ranking, expose your business to new potential customers, and will improve your online reputation.
Avoid Posting Fake Reviews
Because of the big impact that positive or negative reviews can have, most business owners are often tempted to leave or pay online reputation management companies for fake reviews. This may look like an easy job to do without any consequences but that is not the case.
It is well known that businesses trying to manufacture reviews often come to the losing side. This kind of action can result in a red flag on certain profiles and are almost always getting uncovered.
Paying for reviews often tends to make more harm than bring positive to your company’s reputation. The truth is that Google actually punishes websites that are manufacturing reviews because those reviews aren’t true. This will decrease your position in Google rankings and may further damage your online reputation.
You will need to put more trust in yourself and your business and you can be sure that customers will recognize hard and honest work which will be able to generate natural good reviews.
Join or Host Community Events
Another good way to bring media attention is to involve with your community events because this can be a great way for you to generate positive online content about your business. For example, a team from your company that will join in a local fundraiser marathon or donation of resources and time to a local festival can result in mentioning you in articles or maybe press coverage.
If you are not sure where to begin it is always a great idea to ask your employees or customers and get more information about community events and which one you should support.
Be Sure to Respond to All Reviews
If you want to show that you care about your customers, we suggest your reply to the reviews that people are writing about your business and your company.
If a particular customer is using some of his free time to write a great review about your business, be sure to thank him. You will need to make sure that you value your customers and that you appreciate the time they spend writing good reviews about your business.
On the other side responding to negative reviews will give you a chance to turn that negative review into something positive. If you are not sure that you can approach the customer in a positive way you can consider asking for help from a public relations specialist.
If you decide to do it on your own be sure that you apologize to the customer first and then find a way to fix the problem. Once you fix the problem with the customer ask him to update his review. Even from this situation, there are some positives because customers will see that you care about them and you work hard to keep them satisfied, be sure it will be well appreciated.
Do not Respond Emotionally
What represents great online reputation management is not only reacting well to comments and reviews about your company, services, and products but exactly knowing whether to react or not. You should know that sometimes reactions are not necessary and misplaced or poor reactions can bring negative impact.
When you are approaching your online reviews you should leave your emotions on the side. When a customer twisted a positive interaction into something bad and inaccurate you shouldn’t lose your had and put an emotional comment. You should look for your negative reviews to have apologetic and respectful responses that will help the customer solve the problem.
Always keep in mind that some of the sites will allow customers to modify their reviews if you successfully solve their problem. This means you can turn a 1-star review into a 5-star review if you handle the issue properly and professionally. Trust me, once you turn a one-star review into a five-star review you will feel a great amount of satisfaction.
Try to Generate More Reviews
Whenever you ask your satisfied customer to leave a review be sure they will do it happily. More than 72% of consumers in the US reported having written at least one online review in 2021.
You will need to avoid asking customers to leave positive reviews about your business. Simply ask them to put a review and once you provide them with great service it will inspire them to put a nice review about your business. Always treat your customers as potential reviewers and just ask them to leave a comment or review.
Make a Connection with Your Customers
Besides interacting with your customers and asking for reviews you should additionally connect with your customers online or in person. Try communicating with them and find out if they have some advice or ideas for your business. Customers want to be listened to and showing them that their opinion matters will bring you great benefits and with this kind of approach you will earn their loyalty.
Using your social media on a regular base, answering customers’ reviews and comments, and going to local events will help you connect with your customers better. One of the easiest ways to get connected with your customers is on social media. You will need to pay attention to the people that are tweeting or leaving comments and consider responding to them.
Making a Long-term Plan
If you are one of those businesses that have outdated results on the front page of Google you will definitely need to make a good plan and strategy. It is crucial to understand that you cannot change your online appearance overnight because online reputation management is a long-term project that asks for detailed planning and patience.
Google is not updating its results on daily basis and even great content will need some time to gain a digital foothold. You will need to be sure that you are making a realistic long-term plan that will boost your online presence and enhance your online reputation.
Again, if you don’t have time to deal with all these things you can consider appointing an online reputation management firm or online reputation management providers.
Removing Negative Results, Content, and Comments
This process can be easily done on your own because on the internet there is a lot of information on how to remove negative results connected to your brand and business. In case you don’t have time because this process is time-consuming you can hire an online reputation management company at any time and they will be able to remove old, falsified, and incorrect results linked to your brand.
While doing this process you should be careful because people are used to taking screenshots of specific bad comments or reviews that are made and posted about your brand. You may be able to remove the old and bad content about your brand but a single screenshot made by an individual can cripple the whole process. Those screenshots and internet archives can be difficult to remove once they are published, especially if they go viral.
In case you find an online reputation management companies that claim to be able to remove the negative result on the internet about your brand, make sure they are doing the whole process within the guidelines of the review platform in question. You need to know that it is against the law to falsify the information so you can de-index negative reviews or articles.
Brand Image Redesign
Your profile is something that reflects the face of your company. Once you start working with an agent or a team that offers online reputation management services it will be a perfect time to consider rebranding your image.
Changing or creating a website, rebranding, generating new content, and claiming your profiles are the changes that can make a big impact and boost your company to the top of the list.
After you make the necessary adjustments you should implement them through all of your online profiles, from your company’s main website to its Facebook, Instagram, or Yelp profile. Just keep those accounts active, fresh, and updated and you will be able to see the benefits of your hard work.
Things to Consider
Your financial status is not great at the moment? By some statistics, over 80% of buyers don’t trust advertising (digital marketing) and many of them are turning to Google searches and online recommendations. Once you get this information you can start to consider redirecting some of your advertisement budgets into online reputation management services.
This process is going to increase a lot your star rating on famous sites like Yelp, which could provide more than a 20% increase in your annual revenue.
Online Reputation Management – FAQs
What is Online Reputation Management?
ORM or online reputation management is the process where you manage the information about the brand, company, or person. The main purpose of online reputation management is to establish sustainable, controllable, and accurate information that is circling on the internet about your brand.
What is the main job of online reputation management services?
The online reputation management service is involved in writing, optimizing, and publishing digital content in order to control the first page of Google. There are some standard ORM strategies that include search engine optimization, social media marketing, review management, public relations, and customer service tactics.
How to manage online reputation?
Tips for improving your brand’s online reputation:
- Establish your business online (Broaden your internet presence)
- Produce a great content
- Avoid putting fake reviews
- Try to join community events
- Be sure to respond to reviews
- Do not respond emotionally
- Generate more reviews
- Connect with your customers
- Make a long-term plan
- Update your blog frequently
What are the impacts of online reputation management?
Once your business establishes a good reputation and starts receiving positive online reviews, that will appeal to more customers which means you will increase the number of your sales and most probably the number of your customers.
You should know that this is a chain process and the more customers you have, the better reviews you will get and those reviews will additionally attract more customers which will make your business grow.
Why is online reputation important?
Comments, reviews, and star ratings that your business is receiving are helping consumers to shorten their research time and make faster and better decisions with more confidence. We already mentioned that reviews can have a big impact on your business as they not only help to give consumers trust in your business but additionally help you rank higher on the search engines.
Your Local Business Deserves Professional Online Reputation Management Services
Following our tips will help you put your business in a strong position when it comes to online reputation. Once you establish your online presence and you get customers who trust your brand it will be hard for people who try to slam your business with fake comments or reviews.
Remember that established businesses with a lot of satisfied customers cannot be dragged down easily, especially if you try to do it with fake and inaccurate comments.
Proactive online reputation management services may cost you a bit more at the beginning, however, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. You can consider online reputation management as a form of insurance.
You are not going to be absolutely and 100% protected but this process will be able to reduce and amortize the potential damage that can occur. In case your already established business gets slammed by some inappropriate, unfair, or fake criticism, there are a number of strategic approaches that can be used.
Always remember that your online appearance will be your new business card and your business will be judged by the front page of Google and no business can afford to ignore this.
If you don’t have time to work on it but you still want to take charge of your reputation online you should delegate the task to online reputation management companies and rest easy knowing that your reputation is protected.
Read more about the reputation management services here at InternetReputation.com now!