Reputation is everything, and when it comes to managing your online presence, you can’t afford to make mistakes.
Just ask United Airlines. The company’s reputation took a big hit after dragging an unwilling passenger off one of its flights. Or what about Pepsi’s controversial ad campaign with Kendall Jenner? While it was created with the best intentions in mind, the tone-deaf approach (solving issues with a can of soda) wasn’t appreciated by the public.
This sudden and brutal fall from grace is the reason brands – or anyone with an image to protect – turn to business reputation management services to help keep up appearances online.
But managing online reputation isn’t a walk in the park. It takes time, dedication and strategy to ensure your business is perceived favorably.
To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide to reputation management. We’ll cover what it is, why it’s important, who needs it and the strategies you can use for successful reputation management.
Table of Contents
- What is reputation management?
- Why you need reputation management
- Industries and businesses that need reputation management services
- How to manage brand reputation
- Next steps to take
- Frequently asked questions
What Is Reputation Management?
Reputation management shapes narratives that people have about your business or brand. It consists of strategies and tactics that monitor, influence and shape public perception through online conversations, brand mentions and customer engagement.
More than just managing public relations (PR), reputation management involves the following activities:
- Monitoring conversations.
- Responding to customer feedback online.
- Creating positive content that puts your brand in a favorable light.
As you can see, the reputation management process has many moving parts. It’s a holistic approach that combines communication, content creation and customer service. Businesses usually employ a reputation management strategy to address potential issues or crises that could affect their brand image.
For example, if a company faces negative press coverage, it’ll use reputation management techniques to help mitigate the damage by shifting the conversation back in its favor. It might create content about its achievements, respond positively to customer complaints and engage with stakeholders on social media – anything to drown out the negative press and put forward the positive aspects of the brand.
Types of Reputation Management
So, what is reputation management? Is it just one single, static strategy for your business? Not quite.
In fact, there are several reputation management disciplines, each with its own approach to addressing online conversations about your brand:
It’s crucial to remember that you can pick one or a combination of these reputation management services depending on your needs.
For example, you can employ online reputation monitoring and social media reputation management to stay on top of customer conversations about your brand.
On the other hand, if you’re facing a crisis, you should add brand reputation management and crisis management as part of your strategy.
Regardless of what type of reputation management you choose, it’s important to remember that all these disciplines are rooted in one thing: Influence.
Why Do You Need Reputation Management?
The importance of reputation management for businesses can’t be overstated. While some may see online brand reputation management services as an added expense, the truth is that it’s an investment that pays off in the long run.
Here are a few reasons why you need business reputation management:
1. Build Trust in Your Brand
According to a study, nine out of 10 consumers will consult with your online reviews before making a purchase.
Effective online reputation management for businesses helps create a positive brand perception and build customer trust.
Think of trust, reviews and reputation as a cycle: The more positive reviews you get, the better your reputation. And the better your reputation, the higher your chances of getting more customer reviews.
So if you want to increase sales and build customer loyalty, you must invest in building a reputation management process.
2. Enhance Employee Morale and Retention
It’s not just your customer-facing department that benefits from online business reputation management.
Glassdoor executive Alison Hadden revealed that 84% of job seekers would switch to a company with a better reputation. On the other hand, 69% wouldn’t want to work with companies with a bad reputation.
We can interpret this in two ways:
- Effectively managing brand reputation attracts top talent and increases employee morale. This also leads to higher employee retention rates since employees believe their work is being appreciated by the public.
- Employers should consider that candidates will judge them based on how their company is managing online reputation. So if you want to build an attractive employer brand, investing in business reputation management is essential.
3. Boost Confidence From Investors and Other Stakeholders
In a report by Weber Shandwick, most global executives attribute 63% of their market value to reputation.
Unlike external consumer trust, investors and other internal stakeholders care about a company’s financial performance. So when they see that your company is well-managed, it boosts their confidence to invest more money into the business.
This goes hand in hand with enhancing your employer brand. Investors trust companies where employees are happy and engaged – which is why reputation management is important.
4. Create Positive Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Effective online reputation management for businesses also creates buzz beyond the digital sphere.
For example, if someone reads a positive review about your company, they’re likely to share it with their family and friends, who may, in turn, recommend your product or service.
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. And since managing brand reputation gives you more control over what people are saying, it’s a great way to create a positive image for your brand.
5. Mitigate Negative Publicity During a Crisis
Managing brand reputation is even more critical during a crisis. That’s why there’s a specialized discipline to tackle it: crisis management.
When something goes wrong, brand reputation management services help you take control of the situation. You’ll be able to respond quickly and accurately with a plan that helps mitigate any damage done to your brand’s credibility.
When you manage reputation correctly, it’s easier to restore your image in the eyes of customers and stakeholders.
Who Needs Reputation Management?
Now that you know why reputation management is important, the next question is: Who needs reputation management?
Here’s a quick list of industries that benefit most from the help of an online reputation management expert:
Hospitality spans a wide range of company types, including:
- Cruise lines
- Travel agencies
Since the hospitality industry deals with customer service very personally, reviews can make or break them.
According to TripAdvisor, 81% of travelers read reviews before booking a place to stay, while 52% would never book a hotel with no reviews. This goes to show that review and reputation management play a crucial role for hospitality companies.
Take Hilton Hotels as an example of effective social media reputation management. The company has an active Facebook page with almost two million likes and an Instagram account that leverages user-generated content.
The company’s presence in social media and online review platforms like Yelp enables its team to quickly address customer complaints and respond to reviews.
Health and wellness is still a growing industry. In the U.S. alone, spending on health and wellness products will be $450 billion in 2022.
According to a 2021 American Hospital Association (AHA) report, 38.9% of patients consider ratings and reviews before choosing a healthcare location. What’s more, 50.8% of its respondents said that reviews play a huge role when choosing a doctor or facility.
Screenshot from AHA’s 2021 Healthcare Reputation Report
Medical providers must comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations when interacting with customers online. These rules protect patients’ privacy and ensure that only necessary information is disclosed.
That’s why working with an online reputation management firm with healthcare experience is essential.
Most tech companies today have three problems:
- High customer acquisition cost
- Customer churn
- Negative reviews
That’s why managing online reputation is pivotal in keeping a tech company afloat.
For instance, when customers leave bad reviews, tech companies must respond promptly and professionally to retain their trust.
Most of these bad reviews come from frustrations with new product updates, unclear instructions or bugs in the software.
A business reputation monitoring plan helps tech companies address customer issues and turn negative reviews into opportunities for improvement.
Retailers and eCommerce
About 58% of consumers are willing to shell out more money for a company with good reviews. And for eCommerce businesses that need more sales, reputation management is key to its success.
With the help of a reliable reputation management system, online retailers can monitor customer sentiment and respond promptly to negative reviews.
Having an active online business reputation management team who answers queries across platforms also helps build customer relationships.
As you manage brand reputation, you’re also creating marketing opportunities.
For example, when customers engage with your brand online, it creates a good impression that can lead to more sales and loyalty.
When someone hears “financial services,” they usually think of banks or stockbrokers. But the industry encompasses a gamut of service providers:
- Insurance providers
- Real estate companies
- Credit unions
- Mortgage brokers
- Investment companies
Financial companies have to deal with several stakeholders when managing reputation online.
First, they have to deal with their customers. That means providing them with quality service and accurate information. Second, they have to comply with regulatory authorities and industry standards. Failure to do so can lead to fines or even loss of licenses.
The importance of reputation management lies in how it can help financial services maintain trust among stakeholders. Companies good at managing reputation online are more likely to be trusted and have better relationships with customers, regulators and other industry players.
How To Manage Your Reputation
So, how do you effectively manage brand reputation? We have four key online reputation management tips to get you started:
1. Monitor and Manage Your Online Reviews
Online reputation monitoring is essential in any reputation management campaign. This is because customer sentiments are the foundation of any successful online business reputation management strategy.
There are several ways to efficiently plan and execute business reputation monitoring:
- Set up alerts: Use online monitoring tools to get email notifications when someone mentions your brand.
- Claim and update profiles: Claim important listing sites like Google Business Profile, Yelp and TripAdvisor. Make sure all information is up-to-date and accurate.
- Monthly reports: Generate reports to measure customer sentiment over time. Use them to identify areas of improvement.
- Create a list of sources: Make sure to include all social media platforms, listing sites and review sites where customers can leave their feedback.
2. Generate Authentic Reviews and Testimonials
Another good practice as you manage reputation is to actively generate customer feedback.
Some reputation management reviews strategies to effectively collect reviews and testimonials include:
- Send automated email requests. After each purchase, email the customer for feedback on their experience with your business.
- Ask customers for a review in-store or over the phone. Have staff ask customers in person if they’re satisfied with what you provided and if they’d be willing to leave a review online.
- Use review widgets. Place review widgets on websites or emails to make it easy and convenient for customers to leave comments and ratings.
Here’s how a medical practice leverages review widgets on its website to display and get reviews:
Case Study: New England Neurological Associates, P.C.
Usually, an online reputation management firm has the resources to help companies efficiently collect and utilize reviews.
3. Customer Survey Campaigns
Any customer loves the feeling of being valued. That’s why creating survey campaigns is a great way to show your customers that you care about them.
Here are the most commonly used customer experience surveys today:
- Net promoter score (NPS): Measures how likely the customer is to recommend your business.
- Customer effort score (CES): Looks into how hard customers try to accomplish their goals with your product or service.
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): Measures customer satisfaction with your product or service.
These campaigns can be overwhelming if you’re not an online reputation management expert. That’s why most businesses today outsource these services to an online reputation management firm.
4. Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews
When people think of how to do online reputation management, they often forget to respond to reviews. But responding to customer reviews is vital in managing online reputation – both positive and negative ones.
A 2020 study found 87% of customers value a brand’s response to a negative review. Meanwhile, 72% think the same way with positive reviews. Your response may be:
- Replying publicly: Acknowledge customers for their good and bad reviews. This helps build trust with potential customers as they see you care enough to respond.
- Sending a private message: It is the best way to go if customers are more likely to be vocal about their negative experiences.
- Offering a discount or a free item: Give customers something in exchange for feedback. This also helps turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Show empathy for customer concerns and assure them that their complaint will be adequately addressed.
Always remember: Customers use reviews not only to assess businesses but also to evaluate how they will be treated as customers in the future.
The next thing to do is to spring into action: Put these online reputation management tips to work and see how they help your business.
Of course, you shouldn’t be going in blind when implementing the strategies we discussed. There are a few things you need to remember.
1. Assess Your Reputation Needs
First, consider your needs. What is online reputation management going to do for your business?
Do you need it to improve sales or customer loyalty? Or do you want to build a better web presence? Take the time to assess what kind of reputation management services you need and how they can help your business.
Here’s a three-point checklist to know what’s best for your reputation needs:
- Online presence: Is your website SEO-optimized? Are you monitoring all the online channels where customers leave reviews about your business?
- Customer service: Do you have a system in place to handle customer complaints and feedback effectively?
- Data analytics: Are you using analytics tools to measure customer sentiment toward your brand?
Once you know what you need, it’s time to select a reputation management firm; then, you can start making sure your business is seen in the best light online.
2. Find a Reputation Management Partner
Most businesses don’t know how to do online reputation management. That’s why outsourcing this part of your business is the most cost-effective action. But like anything else in business, you must be careful about who you partner with.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure you’re working with a trusted ORM firm that has your best interests in mind. Research the company’s reputation, read testimonials from previous clients and ask for references before deciding.
Let’s recap. What is online reputation management? Is it just about responding to reviews? A fancy buzzword to impress your colleagues?
As shown in this guide, there’s a lot more to it. From customer surveys and data analysis to, yes, review responses, online reputation management is an essential tool for businesses of any size.
You have to recognize that reputation management is about creating relationships, building trust and delivering a great customer experience, no matter how much competition your business has.
If you’re looking for an online reputation management firm, Rize Reviews is here to help. Rize offers a full suite of reputation management services to help your brand shine in its industry and gain customer trust and loyalty.
Contact us today to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is reputation management?
Reputation management is the process of monitoring and controlling your online reputation. This involves measuring customer sentiment, responding to reviews and optimizing your website for search engine visibility.
2. What role does customer feedback play in reputation management?
Customer feedback – negative and positive – is used by online reputation managers to get an understanding of what customers think about your business. This provides valuable insights that help shape and improve your branding message, product or service offering, customer experience and more. So, don’t delete customer feedback. They’re all opportunities to learn, grow and build trust with your customers.
3. How long does it take to repair a damaged reputation?
Reputation repair is a long-term process. It typically takes six months to one year or more to see noticeable results, depending on the severity of the damage.
4. How can I monitor and track my online reputation?
The most common tools include Google Alerts, Social Mention and Hootsuite. You can also use comprehensive reputation management software like Rize to track customer sentiment and respond to reviews in real-time. You can also manually track your reputation by searching for your brand name on platforms and looking at conversations about your business.
5. Is it possible to remove negative content from the Internet?
Yes, but it is against best practices. While you can delete negative reviews by reporting them, it is not a good strategy in the long run. It’s better to focus on generating positive content and responding constructively to negative reviews to redeem your reputation.
6. Can reputation management help with negative reviews?
Yes, it can. There are several reputation management reviews strategies to combat bad reviews, such as responding professionally and offering incentives for positive reviews. Creating content that promotes your brand in a positive light is also essential.
7. How can social media affect my reputation?
Many people are now using social media to research businesses. Negative comments on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook can quickly spread and have a lasting impact on your reputation. A good reputation management reviews strategy to protect yourself is to respond promptly to customer complaints and avoid engaging in online debates.