Online reputation management is the act of monitoring, influencing, growing, and managing what’s being said about a business or person online. However, maintaining a positive online reputation is more important and challenging than ever. This is due to the ever-increasing volume of activity on a wide variety of review websites, social media platforms, online forums, and other digital channels.
Consumers are now the ones who sculpt a company’s reputation collectively by providing real-time feedback online. This shift to consumer-generated content, plus the ever-increasing level of transparency that’s expected of businesses today makes it essential to monitor and actively manage your company’s reputation on a minute-to-minute basis.
Reputation management is typically part of a greater digital marketing strategy that works in sync with other elements of the local marketing stack. Complementary pieces of reputation management include review management, business listings, digital advertising, social media management, and SEO.
Why is reputation management important?
People (at least 88% of them ) read reviews before they make a decision to purchase anything. It’s the pivotal step of the modern customer journey, and without a positive online reputation, people just won’t trust you enough to buy from you.
However, it takes time to build a positive reputation, which is why taking a proactive approach to reputation management is essential.
While it can take years to cultivate a healthy online reputation, it may only hours or minutes to undo all that work. Did you know that only 14% of consumers would consider purchasing from a business with a 1 or 2-star rating?
When negative reviews or comments happen online, it’s essential to be on top of them with an action plan of how to respond and handle that event.
The top websites for business reviews (platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Google) are teeming with customer activity. Monitoring these and the many other review websites is an essential element of managing and maintaining a business’s reputation.
Businesses that don’t monitor customer feedback on these and other crucial platforms may miss both positive feedback (missing marketing opportunities) and negative feedback (damage their reputation) from their customers.
Responding to Reviews
Responding to online reviews is another critical piece of building a positive online presence. Businesses should respond to ALL reviews.
It’s an easy way to engage with happy customers, which benefits both your brand identity and your one-to-one relationship with that customer. Plus, when it comes to negative reviews, you need to remember that you’re not just replying to just the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers.
Social media monitoring provides a look at what your audience has to say about you, your competitors, and your market in general. With approximately 500 million Tweets sent per day and 68% of Instagram users engaging with brands regularly, there’s a ton of social activity online.
Monitoring this activity helps you better understand your customers, and provides the insights to improve your marketing strategy, stay on top of trends, protect your brand, find leads, and build relationships.
Brand-related mentions can happen in many areas online, including blogs, news websites, forums, listings and more. With so much activity happening online, tracking the full range of brand mentions across the web is a crucial part of a comprehensive reputation management strategy.
Without mention monitoring, companies miss out on key information that can help them keep track of what clients and customers are saying about their brand, their products, and what their competitors are up to.
Responding to Social Mentions
With all the work that business owners put into their company and digital presence, it makes no sense to ignore the valuable feedback and opportunities that happen all the time online. By monitoring social mentions, you now have the opportunity to engage with your followers, deepen relationships, and leverage existing conversation as marketing opportunities.
On the flip side, with the right approach to negative mentions (an apology and solution), a business could turn a disgruntled customer into a happy brand advocate.
Keeping on top of your competition can be complex with the sheer magnitude of content businesses have all over the web. Competitive benchmarking can help you monitor your competition to see how your business stacks up.
Competitive benchmarking helps you determine how you compare to competitors for local search terms. It can also help you track competitors’ social activity and provide insights on the best times to offer deals, share updates, and find out who’s checking in. Plus, it allows you to compare the most important social analytics for local business.
How reputation management works
Due to the volume of mentions that can happen across the thousands of review websites, social platforms, blogs, forums, and beyond, manually monitoring and managing your online reputation is nearly impossible.
Businesses can instead take advantage of solutions that automate the process and allow them to track everything from one platform.
There are many reputation management options out there for local businesses. Our advice for local businesses is to get reputation help from a trusted local digital marketing agency or media company. They’re most likely to have the solutions, expertise, and knowledge of your market and vertical to meet your needs.