What is Reputation Management? Our Complete Guide
86% of customers say that negative reviews, or a negative business reputation, affect their buying decisions. This is what makes online reputation management so important in today's online marketplace.
What is reputation management? It's a question that has been asked more in recent years, as the internet and social media have given everyone a voice. With that voice comes the ability to share your thoughts - good or bad - about businesses, brands, and individuals.
It's important to know the basics of reputation management, some simple reputation management strategies, and how to protect your online reputation.
In this blog post, we will be looking at what reputation management is, why it's important to protect your online reputation, how to get reviews and use review sites to your advantage, and how you can make sure you are doing it right.
What Is Reputation Management?
Reputation Management refers to the process of monitoring, modifying, and improving your reputation online. This includes controlling what people see when searching for your name online, suppressing negative content, and consulting with professionals to create a reputation management plan.
Why Is Online Reputation Management Important?
In the current online landscape, your reputation and how you and your business are viewed online are more important than ever.
Reputation is the difference between the success of your corporation or small business and not being able to convert your target market. Especially if you're an online retailer, it's imperative to have a dedicated team to monitor reviews and stay on top of online reputation management.
What Role Does a Reputation Management Company Play?
An online reputation management company can discover more ways you can improve your business's reputation and do a better job of tracking how Google search results appear when certain keywords are searched in relation to your brand.
Every mention of your brand or name across news feeds and searches affects your business reputation.
Your Personal Reputation Management and How It Affects Your Business Listings
Let's start with your own personal reputation management, which can include yourself or anyone else you deem to be part of your brand's reputation. While we tend to think about reputation more for public figures, reputation matters to you and your business.
Your brand reputation management strategy should extend to your personal online reputation as well.
You Are Your Business
Your brand reputation can suffer from negative content about your personal reputation. This is especially true for a small, or local business, where people in the area know you. Whether it be a scathing blog post, poor review, or another detrimental piece of info it all adds up to fewer sales.
That's what makes a reputation strategy across the web and social media platforms so important.
Online reputation management is important because it shows that you are taking responsibility for what's being said about you and your brand online. If people are saying negative things about you, whether they are true or false, your customer will be the first to call you out on it.
How Even Just One Review Platform Has An Effect on Brand Reputation Management
The Washington Post reported that Yelp is one of the most significant and impactful review sites.
Even if the information in this one platform isn't correct, or features fake reviews, it can have a major effect on your business. In an ideal world, these reviews and information would be vetted by actual people but that's not always the case.
Offsetting the Results from Bad Customer Reviews
By getting in there first, taking ownership, and responding to the comments, you can take control of the situation and turn it around. Flipping the narrative to the story you want to tell is the entire point of managing your reputation.
You can also monitor social media posts to make sure nothing else negative is being shared about your brand, especially by competitors who might be trying to tarnish your name and sabotage your business.
Using a professional reputation manager, like us, with a proven reputation management process makes this even easier.
Your Business Reputation Management, Online Listings, and How Social Media Accounts Shape Public Perception
It's not just you and your personal reputation which needs protecting - so does your company's reputation. A good reputation becomes more important if you own a business. If people are searching for your company name online, you want them to see good things about it, not bad.
When people search for your personal brands they are looking to gain insight into you and your business. By using a quality reputation management process you can ensure that what they find first in online search results are the happy customers, quality search engine results, and the brand mentions that prove your great reputation online.
With 93% of consumers reading reviews before making a purchase it is crucial that you keep an eye out for what people are saying about your brand.
Using Reputation Management and Reputation Management Software to Track Customer's Perception of Your Brand
Using various monitoring tools to track how many times your business is being mentioned online, and what the sentiment is towards it (whether positive or negative), is a great way to monitor your online reputation. Proper online reputation management relegates the negative results to lower positions along with outdated information and irrelevant customer experiences.
This allows new customers to see the most pertinent and positive information first to help them with their purchase decision. The first impression will be much better for more customers if the first results they see are customers' positive reviews across different platforms, news sites, and media outlets.
Even if one platform has negative customer interactions the good outweighs the bad and makes it less likely for Google search to ding you for negative reputation.
Why Should It Matter to You?
Some people might be wondering: what if my reputation is terrible, and I've done some pretty awful things - does it matter? Well, the answer is yes.
You can either change your bad reputation to a good or neutral one (which is perfect if you don't want any of those past mistakes following you around online) or make sure that no one else finds out about them by keeping your name under wraps.
The Effect of Online Reputation
- Loss of trust from the public
- Lost sales
- Bad word of mouth
- More business and increased revenue
- A trustworthy brand
How Can You Manage Your Online Reputation? Using a Reputation Management Company is a Great Idea
There are various ways that you can manage your online reputation. Some reputation management methods require little investment or effort whereas others will take up most of your time. We have outlined five things here that you should consider doing immediately to help protect your online reputation against unwanted searches.
By starting on your reputation management today you avoid future loss of sales.
Get Rid of Any Unwanted Results
Make Sure You Show Up First
Optimize Your Website
Optimize Your Social Media
Educate People About You
Once people have searched for your name online, it can be hard to clear the slate of everything that's been said about you. However, on most search engines you will have an option to be able to remove any results that contain old or inaccurate information that might not reflect well on you anymore.
To get rid of unwanted search results, you need to contact the website directly. There are two ways of doing this, depending on which one you use:
Find the 'customer support' or 'report a problem' section on the website and ask them politely that your business needs them to remove any bad results that come up when your name is searched.
You will usually be given an explanation as to whether they can do it or not (and how long it might take) but if you keep trying different search engines there's no harm in asking again.
If your business needs to remove search results and Google is your main search engine, then all you need to do is go into their advanced search options and use their removal tool. This doesn't always work though, as other search engines may still show those results even if Google has removed them.
Using a professional reputation management company, like us here at InternetReputation.com, with reputation management software will make this process easier. The reputation management company will have processes and systems for dealing with search results and will generally have faster results than you on your own.
If you are most concerned about the reviews of your business, check out our review removal service here.
When people type in your name, make sure they see what YOU want them to see about you first before what anyone else has to say.
This reputation management strategy can include blogging on LinkedIn, posting more often on the company Facebook, uploading company profiles on more sites, and sharing your business news/links across multiple social media sites.
Publishing more of the information you want on the web about your business (think writing blog post entries about every aspect of your business, personal profiles on the owners, etc) gives you more opportunities to be found first.
A poorly-optimized website won't place higher in organic rankings, which means you can kiss goodbye to potential customers finding you online through search engines.
Your aim is to make sure that your website is optimized for both natural (or 'organic') search and paid ads, otherwise known as PPC (Pay Per Click).
This involves having your keywords properly placed throughout the site so that it appears high up on the list when people are searching relevant terms. You will also need to have a well-written meta tag or description, which needs to include your main keyword phrase.
Try Googling 'keyword phrase' plus the product or service you provide to get more ideas about how to optimize your site for search engines.
The better your website is optimized for user experience, the better your content is, and the better you've answered the questions your visitors are asking the more likely it is that what you want them to see will be served up first by the SERPs.
If you are not actively monitoring what people are saying about your brand online then it might be time to start. You can opt to handle this yourself, just use social media management tools like Hootsuite, Schedule Once, or Tweetdeck.
However, if your time is limited then you could contract this out instead. There are many companies that will help with online reputation management (ORM) and engage with users who have tweeted, posted on LinkedIn, or commented on Facebook (among other channels).
Sometimes, simply educating people about who you are and what you do is enough to change their perception of you. It builds up that trust and shows that you are an expert in your field.
This can make a huge difference to the steps above - after all, if people like and know you (and can see what YOU want them to see about YOU) then there's little reason for them to search anywhere else!
The Importance of Online Reviews in Reputation Management Work
Online reviews are more important than ever before. In fact, some statistics have shown that one-third of consumers now read reviews before making a purchase with around 84% of users saying they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations (which is pretty high!)
By investing in your business you can ensure that this trust is put to good use and you reap the rewards of gaining a positive reputation for your company.
All businesses stand to benefit from great online reviews and positive content about their brand. And people are more likely to be persuaded by them than by advertising because they come from real customers rather than the company itself; they are an impartial third party if you like. So, when it comes down to it, good word of mouth only helps.
How to Get Reviews
There are lots of ways to get those positive reviews for your business. And, if you offer an incentive (such as discounts or additional benefits) you can encourage people to make their voices heard about your brand.
Ask people who have bought things from you or used your services to review their experience. You can set this up automatically with email service to trigger an email a certain period of time once the customer received their order. Make sure they receive it while the product is still fresh in their minds, 2-3 days after delivery, and make sure it's easy for them to leave the review.
Include a review link in the email and use a review software that makes it as simple as possible for your customer. Remember, you're asking them for a favor, if it's irritating or complicated why would they do it?
You can also use review sites. Review sites give you an opportunity to have a discourse with your audience and address customer feedback.
If nothing works for you… remember that the worst thing that could happen is nothing at all! You need to make sure that your customers know what you're doing and take them with you on this journey.
Remember, it all starts with honesty; build trust by keeping things transparent, and ultimately it will pay off!
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to leave you a good review. But, in business online, anyone with an online reputation with all positive feedback and no negative feedback will be looked at as suspicious. The most important part of negative feedback is responding to it quickly and effectively.
Yes, it can be difficult when someone has had a negative experience with your company and said some pretty unfavorable things about you online. But by responding in a timely manner and doing what you can to make up for the issue means that they are less likely to spread their complaints across other sites or do any further damage.
In short, it's important that companies take criticism seriously and demonstrate that they care about resolving customer queries quickly and effectively - because if they don't then it could get even worse!
When you're responding to a negative review make sure to express sympathy and understanding of their concern, even if you disagree with it. Offer a way to make it right. If you need more information include a contact email in your response. Showing empathy with your unhappy customer can go a long way in turning their opinion around.
A proper response also shows other potential customers reading the reviews that you take feedback seriously. It also shows that this could have been an off day or mistake and the negative review will do less to harm their opinion of you.
How to Avoid Getting Bad Reviews in the First Place
The best way to avoid bad reviews is, of course, avoiding them in the first place!
And one way you can do this is by making sure your product or service lives up to expectations. By doing whatever it takes to ensure that people are happy when they use your company and its products or services then following through with any promises you make will ultimately mean a much happier customer.
There's no point in promising something if you don't intend on following through with it, so be sure that you always offer good value for money and give your customers what they want.
That way, there won't be any negative surprises down the line and it will result in positive word of mouth instead!
Need to Repair Your Online Reputation? We Can Help
Here at InternetReputation.com we understand the importance of your online reputation and aim to offer you a way of protecting, repairing, and consequently improving your standing online.
We offer a number of different services that will help to enhance your online presence and make sure that customers are aware of the quality service you provide.
Ready to take the next step in repairing your online reputation? Check out our reputation management services here.