Most modern consumers will research products before spending their hard-earned money. And whether or not they will buy your offerings is determined by your product’s star ratings and reviews.
So generating leads and sales is extremely difficult for companies with little or no digital reputation. It is, therefore, necessary to build the brand reputation by generating positive reviews and high star ratings.
Digital reputation is social proof of brand trustworthiness. The greater the brand’s perceived credibility, the greater the opportunities for conversions and sales. So to succeed in the online realm, businesses and marketers must know how to improve brand reputation and the factors affecting their reputation score.
4 Factors That Affect Brand Online Reputation Score
A reputation score is a metric used to understand online reputation. Businesses can use it to compare themselves with competitors to develop better strategies. They can also improve performance to enhance their brand reputation.
The following are the factors used in calculating online reputation:
1. Volume of Online Reviews
Up to 82 percent of consumers do research by reading online reviews before buying a product or service. If there is no review, 80 percent are less likely to make a purchase.
“Start with positive reviews right away,” said Tim Clarke, Rize Reviews’ Senior Reputation Manager.
Considering that nine out of 10 trust reviews online as much as personal recommendations, even one review is enough to increase leads and conversions.
So, how many reviews do products or services need for consumers to buy?
According to Spiegel Research Center, conversion rates increase as products begin showing reviews. And, with five reviews, the purchase probability is 270 percent higher than those with zero reviews.
Consumers also need to see a specific volume of reviews before trusting the reviews. For instance, 25 percent will begin to trust if there are 11 to 50 reviews. Meanwhile, 19 percent need to see 51 to 100 reviews.
A higher volume of online reviews correlates with higher revenues. A study by Womply, for instance, showed businesses could earn 82 percent more annual revenue with 83 average number of reviews compared to those with fewer. Moreover, those with more than 200 reviews can make twice as much.
According to BrightLocal, the top three factors that make consumers who read reviews feel optimistic about a local business are the following:
- A written review that describes a positive experience (75 percent)
- A high star rating (58 percent)
- The brand responded to the online review (55 percent)
So, star ratings, second to written reviews, matter to consumers – and are more evident in high-consideration categories. Usually, these products are expensive, have safety risks or are unknown.
A perfect five-star average rating is preferable as it provides the highest points on online brand reputation scores. But it may also give the impression that a perfect rating is too good to be true, which is why eight out of 10 people look for negative reviews when researching a brand.
Instead of targeting a perfect rating, it is better to keep the average rating between 4.2 to 4.5 stars, as this group generates the most favorable customer response.
A TripAdvisor survey found that 78 percent of respondents focus most on the latest reviews. It makes sense as consumers want the latest information about a product or service.
Table 1. Importance of Recency vs. Volume by Category
|Appliances and Consumer Electronics
|Health and Beauty
|Apparel, Accessories, and Shoes
|Home Improvement, Decor, and Furniture
|Perishable Goods and Grocery
|Dry Goods and Consumer Packaged Goods
Source of data: PowerReviews.com
Across many product categories, 73 percent of U.S. consumers place more importance on review recency than volume when reviewing a local business. Hence, brands must focus on more than just improving their local business listing and social media presence.
They can also use online reputation management strategies to gather new reviews on various platforms, including business review sites.
4. Google Review Summary
Google displays different types of rich snippets on search results pages. Star rating snippets, for instance, appear between the title and meta description as a graphical star rating, an aggregated rating and the number of reviews/ratings. On the Knowledge Panel, Google may display short excerpts of a review taken from a review site.
Image source: google.com
While Google review summaries do not score as much as volume, rating and recency in reputation scores, they are nonetheless factors that influence online reputation.
Quantifying the benefits of Google review summaries, though, is not easy. Even after optimizing the local business listing of a company, there is no guarantee that Google will feature it in Google Search snippets. One thing for sure is that brands that appear on the Knowledge Graph or other rich snippets are more noticeable. So their click-through rates would be higher, resulting in more organic search traffic.
4 Other Factors That Affect Digital Reputation
Besides the number of reviews, average star ratings, recency of reviews and ratings, and Google Sentiments (Google Review Summaries), several other reputational factors can enhance or ruin an online reputation.
1. Search Engine Rankings
Google, by far, is the world’s search engine. Baidu, meanwhile, is the most widely used search engine in China. So unless a company targets the mainland Chinese audience, most companies focus their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies on Google.
Table 2. List of Top Search Engines and Their Market Share
Source of data: BlueCorona.com
Ranking high is essential because most web traffic, 93 percent, comes from search engines, and websites that appear on the first page grab the most shares of organic traffic.
While the primary goal of SEO is to attract more visitors to increase leads, appearing more often in search results helps build a stronger brand image, enhancing online reputation.
2. Social Media Presence
Around 59 percent of the world’s population, or 4.7 billion people, use one or more social media platforms. On average, users are online for two hours and 29 minutes. So what this means for businesses is that they need to be active in platforms frequently used by their target customers.
Image source: smartinsights.com
Today’s most popular platforms are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. As for video consumption, YouTube remains the most dominant streaming service, followed by Vimeo. There are, of course, many others, such as LinkedIn for business professionals.
So, what can businesses do on social media?
Businesses can use social media marketing (SMM) to enhance brand awareness and attract more customers. But SMM is more than merely posting promotional or marketing messages. It can also be used in the following:
- Paid advertising
- Conducting a customer feedback survey and market research
- Building customer loyalty
- Establishing the brand as a thought leader
- Increasing website traffic
Social media has also proven to be an invaluable tool for communicating and connecting with customers. For example, 68 percent of consumers said social media allows them to interact with brands. Two out of five also reported they engage with brands by following or liking their posts.
Users also said they use social media to report issues with a product or service. In this case, they either leave a review or send the company a private message. If they have a positive experience on social media, 78 percent of consumers said they are willing to make a purchase.
As one can see, a broad, positive social media presence can enhance a company’s online reputation.
3. Responses on Social Media and Business Review Sites
Interacting with customers is essential to building a brand reputation. One example is conducting a customer feedback survey to understand consumer market insights that serve as a basis for digital marketing and advertising strategies. Review response helps solve customer problems to forge a stronger customer relationship.
More consumers today share their brand experiences online. Unfortunately, it is challenging to find all brand mentions. So one solution is to use an online review monitoring tool or hire an online reputation management company to do the job.
Image source: trustpulse.com
Brand responses on social media and review sites can make or break a company’s online image. So businesses need to know how to improve brand reputation by responding to two types of messages – positive and negative reviews.
- Positive Reviews. Engaging customers who share a positive experience helps forge a stronger relationship and strengthen their online reputation by showing them that they appreciate and care for the customers.
- Negative Reviews. Companies can reach out to dissatisfied customers and offer help. Upon resolving an issue promptly, there is a high chance that the customer will appreciate the care and become a loyal customer. In addition, since the messages are public, others who see the brand response will feel assured, trust the brand more and likely become customers too.
4. Technological Problems and Security
A technical issue may slow or shut down a website. Even a few seconds can wreak havoc in some industries, such as those in financial services. So getting services back and running is critical, or customers may lose their patience.
Security, like a data breach, is another concern. If such an event occurs, the company’s reputation will take a hit if word gets out.
Misinformation or disinformation is also becoming a problem. Regardless if they are “harmless” pranks, spam reviews or deliberate acts to sabotage a company, they must be stopped.
Companies can mitigate security and other tech-related risks by implementing a crisis management plan. An online review management team can then repair its brand reputation.
The Role of Customer Experience Management in Reputation Management
Brand reputation, to a degree, is a matter of perception. But it also comes down to meeting or exceeding customer expectations. One thing to understand about improving brand reputation is to know what customer experience management (CXM or CEM) is and its importance.
So what is customer experience management, and how does it affect online reputation?
In marketing, CXM refers to the practice of “designing and reacting to customer interactions” in a manner that either meets or exceeds expectations. Its goal is simple: to increase customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and advocacy.
Traditionally, companies focus on providing good quality products and services. While this method may have worked decades ago, present-day market conditions are highly competitive. As such, CXM entails strategic marketing strategies and using technologies to put customers at the center of a business.
Rather than planning customer interactions from the company’s perspective, CXM is customer-centric, providing a personalized end-to-end customer experience across all channels. Thus far, CXM has proven to be effective. Its adoption is also high, with 61 percent of marketers saying their company has a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) or equivalent role.
So whenever thinking about how to improve brand reputation, think about CXM. In elevating the customer experience to greater heights, customers not only become loyal and repeat buyers. Some also become advocates, helping the brand enhance its reach and digital reputation through word-of-mouth and social sharing.
Optimized Online Review Monitoring Builds Stellar Online Reputation
Companies cannot focus on only one or two factors to build an online reputation. Building an online reputation also requires brands to focus on multiple fronts, including the customer experience.
Building a positive brand reputation and monitoring, though, is hard – and one little mistake can cause a customer to be unhappy and vent their ire on social media. So if you need help to improve or repair your online reputation, use our online form or call 866.325.0303.
Our online review management specialists can explain how to enhance your local business listing to increase leads. More importantly, discuss how our team can increase customer satisfaction and brand reputation by generating authentic reviews or running a customer feedback survey.