One of the most critical assets of a company is its online business reputation. What makes it even more valuable is the advantages and challenges it brings: It can take months, if not years, to build a reputable brand, but only a moment to take down.
For every one-star rating you get on Yelp, your revenue can increase as high as nine percent, reports a Harvard Business School Paper.
In 2020, 87 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, a 6 percent increase from 2019 and a 20 percent increase from 2010, according to a BrightLocal survey.
With everything and everyone going online, we deem the reach and power of reviews to be much higher today.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics:
- What is brand reputation management?
- Techniques for managing online reputation
- Why is online reputation monitoring important?
- Tips for the best online reputation management strategy
- How to perform brand reputation analysis
- Brand reputation metrics to look at
- The best approach to brand reputation management
What Is Brand Reputation Management?
Generally, brand reputation management is the practice of monitoring and managing the public’s conversations and perception of your brand.
Techniques for managing online reputation include:
- Listing your business on top online directories
- Encouraging feedback
- Engaging with your audience
- Openly addressing negative comments
Why Is Online Reputation Management Important?
Let’s look at Sony to help you understand the importance of online reputation marketing or management (ORM).
A global consulting and market research firm, Axios and The Harris Poll gave the company an online reputation score of 79.4, which is “very good” according to Work + Money.
Sony is renowned for its electronics, such as premium TVs, headphones and gaming consoles. Consequently, the electronics company’s reputation is tied to technology and entertainment; being high-tech, stylish and fun is something its consumers can associate with.
Whether or not you’re aware, individuals and companies like Sony communicate certain messages.
These “certain messages” translate into your online reputation score and can lead to or hinder a consumer’s decision to buy from your company, making plain the importance of ORM.
Tips for the Best Online Reputation Management Strategy
Knowing the importance of online reputation marketing often stir you to take action, so here are some tips to help you.
Claim All Your Business Listings
A sound brand reputation management strategy begins with securing your business listings or local citations online. Some of the most prized online directories you should consider in your online business reputation strategy are:
If you want to know more about local citations and the top online directories, you can check out this blog.
Be Proactive With Social Listening
Social listening or social media listening pertains to analyzing conversations about your brand, industry, or other topics of interest.
Besides enabling you to know who said what, social listening allows you to understand why, where and how these conversations occur — providing valuable insights that will help you determine opportunities and make informed marketing decisions.
Look Beyond Your Brand Name
More than just your brand name, your topics of interest to monitor should include:
- Company name variations and misspellings
- Key persons
- Products and services
- PR and marketing efforts: campaigns, press releases and hashtags
- Competitors: company name, key persons, products and services
- Industry news and trends
Often, brands mistakenly disregard the role and value of these factors. For instance, if a key person like a CEO tweets a careless comment about a current social issue, that would potentially elicit a backlash against the brand.
Looking beyond your brand name and into the subjects above will provide a broader view of how the public sees you. In the process, however, ensure not to overlook any available sources; this means checking out outlets beyond your social media channels or past the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is so you can identify opportunities and address threats early on.
Automate Your Online Reputation Monitoring
Manually going about online reputation services for your brand is inefficient and will not result in the all-inclusive data needed for brand reputation analysis.
On the bright side, online reputation management tools allow you to track brand reputation metrics automatically while providing comprehensive reports.
Whether you have 20 or 200 million sources to crawl your mentions from, automated online reputation management services will give you real-time results in an instant. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the varying languages across the numerous online sources.
Befriend Real-Time Alerts
Some online reputation management tools enable you to opt for real-time alerts whenever your brand is mentioned online.
So in the event of a positive mention, you can seize the moment to return your consumer’s enthusiasm by engaging with them at once.
Alternately, if an unfavorable mention surfaces, being informed immediately allows you to address the situation, avoiding potential damages.
How To Perform a Brand Reputation Analysis
Negative feedback and false comments are essential to watch out for, but they are only a part of a bigger picture of online reputation management services.
To arrive at a comprehensive analysis that would help you make better marketing decisions, you must gather quantifiable and non-quantifiable data.
Here’s how you can take data and use it to your advantage. And to show you some of the most important brand reputation metrics, we’ll use Rize’s best online reputation management tool as an example.
Step 1: Track Your Ratings and Reviews Over Time
It matters to track your ratings and reviews over time because it’s how you check if your numbers are constant, peaking or declining — this insight may serve as your deciding factor.
For instance, if you see trends where your numbers are usually high, you can counter check your marketing strategy and see how the peak periods correspond to any marketing campaign such as product launch, press release and so on.
It’s the same case for declining trends; they both ultimately inform you whether your campaigns affect your online reputation score or not.
Before diving deeper, if conducting analysis isn’t your strongest suit or you don’t have the time, you can find an apt online reputation management agency to carry out your reputation analysis professionally.
Step 2: Identify Primary Outlets Where Conversations Happen
Knowing what people say about your brand is just as important as knowing where these people say it.
With this insight, you’ll discover where your hotspot is when managing online reputation. In the sample’s case, Rize’s Reviews pie chart shows that the leading outlet of its client is Glassdoor.
Step 3: Conduct Sentiment Analysis
Focusing on numbers alone could be dangerous — a high number of mentions does not always mean good because most of those mentions could probably be harmful or false feedback.
This is where sentiment analysis comes into play; it provides you with what the numbers lack: context. In the sample, sentiments are defined as positive (blue), negative (yellow) or neutral (green).
Not all online reputation management tools have this feature, so consider this when looking.
Step 4: Get Feedback From an Online Reputation Marketing Expert
When we undergo a medical test, we let doctors interpret them and inform us what we should do next. So it’s only fitting to let experts like online reputation consultants analyze the data you gathered.
You can get better help managing your brand’s online reputation from there.
Delegation: A Strategic Approach to Online Reputation Management
But what is brand reputation management if you cannot correctly implement it?
For starters, doing online reputation services in-house can be complex and frustrating, especially for companies with no dedicated team to handle it.
So to quote Eli Broad, philanthropist and businessman who built two fortune 500 companies,
The inability to delegate is one the biggest problems with managers at all levels.
Delegation or lack thereof could make or break your online business reputation, and with Rize Reviews, you can avoid the latter.
Rize Reviews is an ORM agency with a team of online reputation consultants dedicated to enabling businesses to maximize their potential online.
On top of our competitive reputation management tool, we offer full-service brand management, helping business owners and managers like you build a reputable brand image and gain loyal customers. Talk to our ORM specialists, and get an initial brand analysis for free!