Consumers read Google reviews to inform their purchase decisions, with 81 percent explicitly seeking out reviews on the site (BrightLocal). Yet, only a few brands know how to use the platform to manage, generate and track their customer reviews despite it being free and accessible.
In this blog, we help you weigh your options when it comes to tracking down reviews and getting a pulse on what people are saying about your business – ultimately helping you decide if you should hire online review monitoring services.
Handling Online Review Monitoring Services Internally
You can do away with online reputation management companies if you have enough time to do extra work (meticulously monitor online reviews and respond to reviews). However, in this approach, you should also expect a trial-and-error phase as you learn the ropes of online review monitoring and local search engine optimization (SEO).
Here’s how proper online review monitoring is done:
1. Conduct a Thorough Brand Audit
A brand audit is a crucial first step in managing your online reputation. First, list everything you have online, including your website, blog, profiles on social media and third-party business accounts, then evaluate it.
Do not limit your search to online review sites; examine the outcomes of your Google search as well — what comes up when people look up your brand name and associated keywords. Are there any undesirable or off-brand results? Also, take note if there are a lot of ranking news pieces from external sources and not enough assets that your own reputation management services can control.
While external upbeat news about your brand is fantastic, those tales can shift into uncontrollable bad press when something negative transpires. Performing a brand audit will allow you to determine the search results and how to balance them with controllable assets and a mix of user-generated content (UGC) from other sources.
2. Monitor Online Reviews and Brand Mentions
Brand mentions are online references to a business, brand, or service. These mentions frequently appear in news articles, blog posts, online review sites and educational materials, directly impacting your online reputation.
Actively tracking brand mentions online is a fundamental strategy for reputation management services to protect your online presence. First, set up notifications for your brand name and associated keywords with Google Alerts, and then take prompt action whenever you come across any mention—whether favorable or unfavorable.
The sooner you are informed of unfavorable remarks, the better and the sooner you address them. Fortunately, most people are open to overlooking honest mistakes as long as you genuinely try to make things right.
3. Respond to Reviews, Negative and Positive
Negative online reviews could entice you to ignore them and wait for them to disappear, but that’s a mistake. Instead, treat negative reviews as an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to your clients. As a result, you can address issues head-on and establish a more genuine connection with your customers.
So in cases of a poor customer experience, rather than offering a voucher for a 15 percent discount on their next purchase, exceed customer expectations and reassure them by making things right. Make it a point always to present realistic solutions to issues.
4. Incorporate Local Search Engine Optimization
The best online reputation management companies include local search engine optimization (SEO) in their approach. Local SEO is related to SEO in that both processes affect how visible a website or web page is in a search engine’s unpaid results, often defined as “natural,” “organic” or “earned” results.
With local SEO, you:
- Create insightful content for your website’s leadership pages and review sections.
- Raise your company’s standing and reputation on local search results pages.
- Create backlinks to the important pages you want to rank on page one of Google.
- Gain favorable brand mentions through influencer marketing, events, sponsorships and digital public relations (PR).
- Be active on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
- Claim and optimize relevant third-party accounts on sites like Yelp, Trustpilot, Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and business profiles where you have content control.
Remember that Google always gives authoritative, reliable sources the highest priority in SEO. In light of this, concentrate on promoting your presence and credibility on relevant sites.
5. Employ Tools for Online Reputation Management To Monitor Online Reviews
While you can do the above without reputation management tools, it would be grueling.
“You can automate review monitoring through software tools and dedicated teams like Rize,” said Tim Clarke, senior reputation manager at Rize Reviews.
“Services allow you to automate email or SMS review requests and monitor reviews through email and SMS notifications.”
Taking advantage of the many tools for online reputation management means opening the doors for a streamlined and automated process:
Consolidate all of your mentions from various platforms in one location. Expanding your online presence will be sped up by easy, consolidated access to all your listings with a review monitoring tool.
Get alerts whenever you receive consumer feedback. Tools allow you to monitor brands more effectively and demonstrate your commitment to customer service with real-time alerts.
Respond to negative reviews on time. Since you are notified in real-time, you can practice better and prompt transparency, especially in online review sites like Google reviews.
Reduce risk. Any brand run is subject to receiving false and defamatory feedback — a reputation management tool can help safeguard you from such feedback.
If you decide to do monitoring internally, make sure you dedicate a team.
The Advantages of Hiring Professional Online Review Monitoring Services
Professional review monitoring offers expertise and convenience — these are two things you can trace back to in every benefit we’ve listed below.
Secure Your Presence on Relevant Platforms
At the very least, your business should already have official Facebook and Google Business Profile accounts. For business-to-business (B2B), high-tech or service-based companies, having their executives and staff members interact on LinkedIn may be advantageous.
Using Pinterest and Instagram may be required for visually-oriented goods and services. Most businesses will also profit from the various videos uploaded on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. An online reputation management (ORM) agency expertly handles all of this and more. But more than claiming your listings, ORM professionals actively amplify your presence on key channels.
Other relevant listing sites include:
- Bing Places
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Hear What People Are Saying and Where Conversations Are Taking Place
ORM professionals can track every single online comment on your business, product, or service. On the other hand, manually looking up brand mentions consumes much of your time, and you risk missing brand mentions on unpopular yet impactful sites.
That could get out of hand and eventually harm your brand’s reputation. The success of your ORM campaign, the reach of your hashtag, or the sentiment surrounding your products and services can all be measured by ORM experts and their reputation management tools.
Encourage and Emphasize Positive Reviews
Review generation and showcasing are an essential part of some of the best online reputation management strategies to gain potential customers’ trust. After enlisting the professional review generation and reputation monitoring services of Rize Reviews, a telecommunication company in the U.S. got out of the slumps of having an average of 2 out 5 stars rating.
Our simple strategy: We launched an SMS and email campaign of incentivized reviews, encouraging positive reviews.
The result: The telecommunication company gained 856 new BBB and Google reviews and a 4.6 average star rating in just four months.
Protect and Promote Your Brand and Its Key Personnel
Apart from your brand, a reputation monitoring services expert would recommend building a strong social media presence for your company’s founders, owners or executives, especially if your brand’s identity is closely tied to its employees.
This is because customers frequently look up the names of professionals like doctors, dentists, lawyers and instructors who provide services. Therefore, if these people are yet to establish an online presence, an experienced ORM expert can devise a strategy for you.
“ORM services allow the customer to save money and effort to monitor and build reputation,” Clarke said.
Rally Up Positive Google Reviews With Rize
The only advantage of manually handling online reviews and reputation management is that it’s inexpensive. But even that one advantage isn’t guaranteed. Manual monitoring exposes you to risks, which could cost you more. The key to powerful ORM is to embrace automation without forgoing the human touch.
At Rize Reviews, we employ a full-service ORM with specially designed branded software.
“With Rize Reviews software, you can segment the review monitoring report by business location,” Clarke said.
“It’s great for big companies with multiple locations and many employees because you can schedule different review monitoring alerts by employee and location”
We have a dedicated team of ORM experts ready to give you a free demo. Reach out today.