Prior to the internet, keeping yourself in the good graces of the people you served meant keeping your company name off the wagging tongues in the carpool line and out of the barbershop waiting area. Word-of-mouth was a thing, the only thing, but it moved relatively slowly. These days, though, the whole world is talking about everyone online. It’s important to have an online reputation management strategy to make sure you know what customers are saying online and responding to their reviews appropriately.

What is online reputation management?

Online reputation management generally refers to the practice of soliciting, monitoring, and responding to online reviews across multiple sites and monitoring your mentions across social media and other websites. This helps drive the public’s perception of and trust in your brand. It’s also a way to become involved with the conversations customers are having about you online.

Reputation management also protects your brand by keeping an eye out for competitors who are encroaching on your branded keywords in organic search. Why does this matter? Let’s assume you have taken a proactive approach to your digital marketing, and part of that is developing branded keywords to boost your organic search rankings. If a competitor comes along and uses those same keywords, they may be playing search results leapfrog, actually outranking you with your own words. And you can’t have that.

Why is reputation management important?

You likely already know that managing the public’s perception of your company is crucial. But, how does online reputation management change the equation, making it even more important? Here’s four reasons why it’s so crucial to have an online reputation management strategy in place, from the very beginning.

1. It builds trust in you, your company, and your product or services

Trust is hard to come by and challenging to restore once lost. Much of trust is built when you choose to be a more open company that makes it clear you are committed to customer satisfaction. While you won’t hit the mark every time, successful online reputation management strategies mean you show your customers you are dedicated to making it right. And that’s the next best thing.

Still not convinced? Consider these statistics about the power of people online.

  • Peers have replaced experts: 85% of customers trust online reviews
  • Online reviews build trust: 73% of people say positive online reviews make them trust a business
  • Reviews lead customers to you: 97% of customers read reviews (and 74% of them use social media when making purchasing decisions)
  • Google ranks you higher with good reviews: Zoom from a three-star review to a five-star and see 25% more clicks (plus reviews influence your place in Google’s local pack)
  • Those stars mean money: The difference between a four- and five-star review (or a three- and four-star one) can mean a five to nine percent jump in revenue

It’s not just online reviews. Social media is a hotbed of consumer information. Individuals address companies directly in positive and negative ways for billions of people around the globe to see. Consistent, respectful engagement with your customers on a variety of social media platforms helps to build consumer trust. It can result in – you guessed it – better reviews.

2. It controls the volume

It’s important to have a strategy in place to entice your happy customers to talk louder than the unhappy ones who typically share their opinion.

Some research indicates that it takes 40 positive reviews or comments to undo the damage of one negative one. Although there are ways to tip the balance, make sure the positive reviews get heard by ensuring you’re asking your happy customers to leave reviews in the first place.

3. It helps with SEO

When potential customers perform a search for you, a solid online reputation management strategy means they will also find the long list of positive reviews and mentions for your organization.

If they find negative reviews, that same strategy helps them see that your business is responding to customer concerns and making things right. Either way, this will likely make their decision-making process easier.

4. It takes the pulse of your business and helps you improve issues

Look, everyone has bad days. Sometimes your customer service will slip. Sometimes your organization is responding to a known issue. However, looking at what people are saying online can help pinpoint the areas in which serious help is needed. If you are routinely getting criticism about how appointments are never on time or deadlines are missed, that’s something to address with your team.

Address the cause of the negative reviews behind the scenes, then make it right in public by responding to the criticism. This kind of online reputation management strategy not only shows your customers that you are listening, but it also actually makes your business stronger.

How we help at Boost

At Boost, we offer online reputation management services that can help you better understand what people are saying about your organization and what it means to your bottom line. We create an ongoing reputation management strategy that is tailored to your industry. Part of this is developing a system that actively incentivizes existing happy customers to leave reviews. We also professionally respond to and manage other reviews that are not so positive.

Further, we know that fraudulent reviews are rampant online. Our reputation management team works to help identify and report fraudulent reviews. This means not only reporting the negative or fake reviews when needed but also keeping an eye out for hate sites or less than favorable coverage in the media (local and national).

Reputation management is an important part of any business, no matter the size. At Boost, we can help with an expertly-designed reputation management strategy tailored to your business. From monitoring reviews to managing social media chatter, we have the experience necessary to protect (or restore) your good reputation.

Get in touch today to see how we can help with online reputation management needs.