As businesses strive to build their online presence, many still don’t fully understand what it takes to craft an online reputation management plan. This is due in part to the myths and misconceptions that surround the practice. From deleting reviews to being stingy on the budget, there are plenty of untruths about online reviews that need debunking.
We’re here to set the record straight on seven common misconceptions about reviews and help you craft a better brand reputation management strategy for your business.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of monitoring and influencing an organization’s or individual’s online presence.
Online reputation management “is not only a measurable score but also more qualitative content that can influence your brand’s reputation through the internet,” said Tim Clarke, Rize’s Senior Reputation Manager.
Furthermore, he says that your online reputation is how your business looks through popular content, such as:
- Customer reviews
- Discussions on social media channels
Unlike traditional PR, online reputation management focuses on collecting and curating positive content about your business. This means taking control over what you can to ensure that any harmful content is managed correctly.
It also involves proactively engaging with customers to shift sentiment toward your brand. By actively monitoring and responding to customer feedback, you can create a positive online presence, build trust and increase customer loyalty.
So now that we’ve answered “What is online reputation management?” let’s take a look at some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding ORM.
7 Myths and Misconceptions About Online Reputation Management
While it’s essential to keep an eye on what people are saying about your business online, it’s even more critical to be aware of the myths and misconceptions that can hinder your reputation management efforts.
Myth #1: People Don’t Read Online Reviews
This is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. In reality, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
That means that people are reading what other customers have to say about your business – and they’re taking it seriously. So, it’s clear that people do read online reviews!
Myth #2: People Don’t Write Online Reviews
It may seem like no one wants to write reviews, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Studies show that over 70% of consumers are willing to write a review if asked – so don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your customers.
And if you do get some negative reviews? It doesn’t hurt to respond kindly and let them know you value their opinion.
Myth #3: You Should Only Focus on Getting Five-Star Reviews
Maybe it seems like five-star reviews should be the only ones that matter, but this isn’t true either. While positive reviews certainly help build up your reputation, bad reviews can also provide valuable insights into how you can improve brand reputation.
So try not to worry too much about star ratings.
Instead, focus on building up your overall average rating by getting more four-star reviews than three-star or lower ratings. This will show potential customers that you are providing consistent quality service regardless of any hiccups along the way.
Myth #4: Deleting Bad Reviews Will Solve Your Problems
Deleting bad reviews may seem like an easy fix, but this can actually do more harm than good in the long run.
Not only will deleting bad reviews reflect poorly on your business, but it may also make potential customers more suspicious of any positive reviews they see, leading to even more negative feedback in the future.
The best thing you can do when faced with negative feedback is to respond thoughtfully and professionally with an apology and offer suggestions for improvement if appropriate.
Your responses will show customers that you care about their experience and are willing to work towards improving things in the future.
Myth #5: A Bad Reputation Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Bad Customer Service
Even if your online reputation looks good on paper (i.e., lots of five-star ratings), that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re providing good customer service or quality products/services in real life.
Consumers want honesty above all else.
They want businesses they can trust and rely on in times of need – not just companies with spotless reputations on paper.
Online reputation reflects the quality of your customer service, so don’t get too caught up in the numbers, said Clarke. Ensure you have stellar customer service, including replying to client reviews, and your online reputation will follow suit.
Don’t forget that a good reputation has less to do with ratings and relies more on reliability and transparency!
Myth #6: Managing Online Reviews Take Too Much Time and Money
We understand why this myth exists. Managing online reviews does require time and effort, after all.
Requesting too many reviews from your customers might make them jaded, so be sure to keep your requests reasonable, Clarke said. An excellent way to prevent this is through SMS and incentive campaigns to leave reviews with rewards like discounts or gift cards.
However, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming if you use automated tools or software solutions designed specifically for brand reputation management tasks quickly and efficiently (like Rize Reviews).
Plus, think about how much time (and money!) you’ll save in the long run by avoiding potential PR disasters down the line.
Myth #7: You Can’t Control Online Reviews
While it’s true that businesses don’t have control over what people say about them online, they do have control over how they respond, which is critical when it comes to maintaining a positive public image.
Responding professionally (even when faced with negative comments) goes a long way toward building trust with potential customers. Responding thoughtfully also shows that you care about what people think of your business, building credibility in itself.
Benefits of ORM
While it may seem like a lot of work, reputation management will pay off in the long run. Here are some benefits of ORM.
Improve Brand Reputation and Visibility
Every business aims for its presence to be felt online, and reputation management helps put your business in front of the right audience.
By keeping an eye on your online presence, you can keep your information up-to-date and ensure your business details are on point. It allows your audience to find you quickly and easily and helps create a positive impression, ultimately improving brand visibility.
Become More Trustworthy and Credible
Online reviews also play a significant role in influencing customer buying decisions.
Positive reviews, for instance, could incentivize potential customers to check out what your business has to offer. On the other hand, while you can’t avoid negative reviews, a professional response assures your customers that you’re taking their opinions seriously.
One great example would be Home Run Pest & Termite Control which leveraged the power of reviews so their customers would choose them. Because they have a glowing 4.92 average rating, thanks to Rize’s reputation management services, they got more customer attention and grew their business.
In the end, consumers are more likely to trust companies with established digital footprints and less likely to do business with those without them.
Rank Higher on SERPs
Your online reputation management strategy can help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The better you manage online reputation, the more visible your business will be in top search results, which means more traffic to your website and more potential customers.
Google also uses ratings and reviews as a signal for ranking local search results, so it is critical to building a positive online presence.
Reinforce Your Advertising Campaigns
Social proof is a fundamental driving force behind purchasing decisions. Sure, paid campaigns can be effective, but consumers are more likely to engage with companies that others have already tested and approved.
Positive online reviews, ratings and testimonials from satisfied customers tell people that your business is trustworthy, competent and reliable. Promoting happy customer reviews can create social proof that reinforces messaging in advertising campaigns.
Enhance Your Customer Service Experience
A great customer service experience is one of the most critical factors in building a positive brand reputation.
One way to enhance your customer experience is to professionally respond to reviews. And this is what Rize helped in doing with a recognized multi-location hospital in North Carolina. They ran a review generation and response campaign for five months, soliciting reviews from previous customers and sending custom-written responses to every review submitted.
By putting customers first, you can address issues before they escalate, minimize the damage of negative feedback and create goodwill that enhances your reputation.
As a result, better customer experiences lead to increased customer satisfaction, decreased churn and higher retention rates.
Get More Insights From Your Customers
Your business can learn a lot from analyzing customer feedback as you manage online reputation across channels. You can uncover pain points, gaps, opportunities for upgrades and how to stay ahead of the competition.
With brand and reputation management, you can gather valuable business intelligence by analyzing the sentiment of customer feedback, customer demographics and what customers say about your business.
These insights can help you to enhance your product and service offerings, refine your marketing efforts and give you an edge over your competitors.
Online Reputation Management Tips
Knowing what steps to take when managing your online presence is crucial, especially if you’re heavily investing resources into your online reputation management plan.
So, how will you ensure you’re making the most out of your online reputation management strategy? Here are some online reputation management tips to get you started.
Tip #1: Continuously Monitor Your Online Presence
An effective online reputation management plan requires knowing what other people say about you.
Set up alerts for your company name, product name and other keywords to keep track of what’s being talked about on the internet.
Whether it’s a negative or positive review, responding to your online reviews shows your customers that their opinion matters and that you care about their experience.
It also prevents minor issues from becoming larger problems. A timely response can often help reverse a negative review.
Tip #2: Leverage Emails, QR Codes and Text Messaging
Streamlining your customer feedback process with technology can make review generation easier.
To do this, Clarke recommends you use email, QR codes and text messaging to solicit customer reviews.
You could send them a survey after they purchase a product or service from your business or include an invitation in their order confirmation. These little touches help encourage customers to leave feedback and show them you value their opinion.
Tip #3: Utilize Online Reviews for Good Content
Brand and reputation management is more than just asking customers to bolster review generation, though. You can also use your reviews for content marketing, such as blog posts and case studies.
You can use positive reviews to create good publicity about your business, and negative ones can be used as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
Showcasing positive customer feedback on your website or other marketing channels is also an excellent strategy, Clarke said. By doing this, you’re creating social proof that reinforces the messaging in advertising campaigns.
Tip #4: Use Online Reputation Management Software and Services
Managing online reviews and social media accounts can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses. Thus, online reputation management services and software can help ease the burden of managing your online reputation.
These services help monitor your business’s online reputation, centralize your feedback and streamline your response to reviews, making brand reputation management more efficient.
Tip #5: Take Negative Reviews Offline
Despite your best efforts, negative reviews and comments will inevitably occur. However, how you handle these negative comments can mean the difference between a potential customer choosing your business or not.
It’s crucial to take the negative comments offline by responding privately to the customer and resolving the issue as best as possible. As we said before, responding to customer feedback is critical to successful online reputation management.
Effectively Manage Online Reputation With Rize
Knowing which are myths and which are truths about online reviews is the first step to creating a successful online reputation management strategy. Next, you should maximize your efforts by following the online reputation management tips outlined in this post.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution to help manage your business’s online reputation, consider Rize. Our tool allows businesses of all sizes to manage their reputation across the web to maintain a great digital presence. What’s great about our service is that you only have to hand over your customer list, and we’ll take care of everything else.
Get your free demo today and start building a winning online reputation management plan with Rize.