You’ve got your business a website and set up a social media page. Now, it’s easy to think that you’ve built your online reputation and got everything under control — but that’s not the case.
The consumer buying process has significantly changed with the introduction of the Internet, technology and social media. You need to adapt your marketing strategies to these changes or you’ll be missing out on a vast opportunity to grow your customer base.
In today’s digital age, more and more consumers are becoming tech-savvy and dependent on online reviews. People go to social media and other online platforms to voice their opinions, look for information and connect to brands. That is why online reputation management should be a critical part of your business.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management (ORM) means taking control of conversations across digital platforms so that people find the right information when they search for your business online.
Simply having a good reputation among your existing and potential customers isn’t enough. You need to know what people are saying about your business and take measures to protect your online reputation.
Why Is Online Reputation Management Important For Your Business?
The significance of ORM is irrefutable. Every day, people post reviews on Google, social media and blogs. Hence, whatever people say about your brand can create a massive impact on your digital marketing strategies.
Here are compelling reasons your business needs a robust ORM strategy:
- Build Credibility
Statistics show that approximately 90 percent of online shoppers read online reviews before visiting a particular business. Another study found that 72 percent of customers wouldn’t make purchasing decisions until they read reviews.Building your online reputation helps establish your brand presence and authority in the online marketplace. It gives you the ability to control the volatile nature of online conversations and impact your target market’s purchasing decisions.
- Establish Your Brand Image
Building a professional brand image is crucial in convincing your potential customers to use and market your products or services. Make sure to disseminate content that depicts your brand values and leverage customer testimonials and influencer reviews to create a powerful online presence.
- Expand Your Market
A quarter of the world’s population is composed of millennials. Now, if you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar company, you must know that it is crucial to be present where the majority of your market is — and that is online.
Positive online reviews bring you to a broader market that can potentially become your long-term clients and brand advocates.
- Promote Customer Retention
The benefits of online reputation management go beyond how your customers see you. Effective ORM allows you to gain insights from your customers on how to improve your marketing strategies, products, and services.
Listening to your customers, understanding their needs and expectations and valuing their opinion enable you to enhance customer experience and, ultimately, your business.
- Increase Customer Trust
People trust a brand with an excellent online reputation. If more people appear to trust a company, others are likely to follow suit with the same sentiment. In fact, studies show that 83 percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends. Building trust turns customers into advocates. This word-of-mouth marketing technique can be hugely beneficial in improving customer retention and attracting more consumers.
- Generate Higher Revenues
Businesses with high star ratings and positive customer reviews acquire more leads and sales. Now, it’s more important than ever to have relevant, up-to-date customer reviews to attract more business.
According to a Harvard Business School Working Paper, every additional one-star Yelp rating increases a business’ revenue by as high as 9 percent, translating the benefits of ORM into increased profit.
- Improve Your SEO
Search engines treat each user-generated review as new, relevant content. As more customers provide positive reviews online, your click-through rates and organic rankings increase as well.
- Boost Your Recruitment
Reviews are equally as important in attracting employees as they are in vying for customers’ attention. Companies with stellar ORM strategies attract more candidates and better employees. Job hunters want to work with a company that shares their values and core beliefs. More importantly, they trust the opinions of former and current employees. Positive workplace reviews show that your company has a favorable culture.
- Word-of-Mouth is Fast-Moving
The “word-of-mouth” concept is no longer limited to street gossip. Online platforms now allow the user experience to travel at the speed of light.
Take advantage of this marketing strategy by posting positive, relevant content that your customers can connect with. Make sure that your website content and social media interactions reflect your business ideas at all times.
- Lower Reputation Risk
Businesses with bad online reputations tend to acquire worse reputations through time. This is why solid reputation management is critical to your business’ online success.
If you started off on the wrong foot, fret not. There are online reputation repair services available that can help you rebuild your reputation and strengthen your online presence with positive content.
How Do You Protect Your Reputation Online?
The customers’ trust and confidence have a profound effect on your company’s bottom line. In today’s digital landscape, you are who Google says you are. If you don’t manage your reputation online, your business will suffer from the following consequences:
- Negative publicity
- Loss of trust
- Damaged brand equity
- Lower conversion rate
- Lower sales
- Damaged brand association
- Damaged customer lifetime value
Online reputation management helps mitigate these risks by building your brand value in the online community. Here are tried-and-tested ways you can establish a legit business reputation online:
- Know your branding. What kind of brand are you trying to build? Your branding goals should define your online marketing strategies. Make sure your company’s core values and beliefs are aligned with your online marketing efforts.
- Check your existing reputation. Scrutinize search engine results for your brand. Ensure all your business information on social media pages, websites, blogs and business listings are easy to distinguish from unofficial sources.
- Manage your online profiles actively. The 1/9/90 rule states that only 1 percent of social media users create content, 9 percent interact with the content and a whopping 90 percent of visitors are there to simply read reviews.
Building your online reputation is an effective way to appeal to 90 percent of online lurkers who can be your prospects. Take active control of your social profiles and review pages and share great content to become more visible online.
- Ensure your personal reputation is secure. Business owners with low or negative social profiles are likely to lose ground to competitors. Avoid offensive comments and posts because these will influence your brand’s image in no time.
- Develop a customer retention strategy. Create and distribute positive content regularly and, more importantly, leverage the best online platforms to interact with your customers.
- Engage with your online audience actively. Encourage customer interaction and take note of your customers’ feedback to develop a positive brand identity and improve what customers say about you.
- Ask clients to share their customer experience through online reviews. Let your customers know that you value their opinion by asking them to provide feedback.
- Handle negative comments delicately. Responding to negative customer reviews gives you a chance to clear the air and win them over with the right response. Remember to address customer concerns quickly and respond politely and professionally.
- Monitor your brand mentions regularly. Know what customers, competitors, and influencers are saying about your brand. This will help you adjust your online reputation management strategies.
More importantly, don’t ignore offline marketing. Strengthen your public relations activities and always remember that what you do and how you interact with your competitors, employees, and customers can impact your online reputation management efforts.
Manage Your Online Reputation With The Help Of The Experts
Your customers’ first interaction with your brand is the best time to earn their loyalty. Take control of your business’ online reputation by finding online reputation management solutions tailored to your specific needs and branding.
Partner with a digital marketing agency that can support your reputation goals and design custom online marketing strategies to promote your desired brand image.