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The Basics of Business Online Reputation Management

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Raise your hand if you have ever looked at an online review before. If that applies to you, then you’re in the vast majority of people. Nearly everyone reads reviews before purchasing a product or service—whether as an end-user or in a B2B context.

If you care about managing online reviews for your business, you need reputation management.

What is online reputation management?

Reputation management is the process of monitoring and engaging with online reviews and other third-party reflections on your business. These various platforms form your online reputation—a reputation that should be actively watched after and managed.

The various components of reputation management include:

  • Monitoring online mentions: Listening to how your customers talk about you online.
  • Responding to reviews—both positive and negative.
  • Sharing content to help improve your reputation.
  • Adjusting your customer service based on the feedback you receive.

Hopefully, your online reputation is already a good one. Reputation management helps keep it that way and alerts you if things start going south. Being proactive about your online reputation helps give you more control in a potential crisis.

The most common online review sites

There are tons of sites where people can leave reviews, but here are a few of the most common ones where you can start.

Why is online reputation management important?

We know that online reviews matter, but how much? Here are some relevant statistics (from WebsiteBuilder.org) showing how integral consumer reviews are for businesses.

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends.
  • 97% of consumers say reviews influence their purchasing decisions.
  • 92% of consumers will hesitate to buy a product with no reviews.
  • 94% of consumers refuse to patronize a business because of negative reviews.
  • 82% of shoppers specifically seek negative reviews.
  • 75% of people online trust a business after seeing a positive review.

We are all consumers, so we can also relate to this perspective. Reviews matter regardless of industry, price, demographics, or location. They’re an outward reflection of your brand loyalty.

You may not have much of an online reputation already, which can make some people skeptical. But this also leaves you vulnerable to a few negative reviews skewing how you’re viewed. Take the time to be proactive and start building a positive reputation now.

4 ways online reputation management benefits your business

Reputation management is an important investment for any business that wants to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. By taking steps to protect and improve your online reputation, you can increase customer trust, boost brand awareness, attract new customers and partners, and reduce costs.

  1. Increased customer loyalty. Your audience might trust you more because they see how others have interacted with you. 
  2. Improved SEO. Each review site has a good chance of appearing in your search results. Most of them also link back to your website and provide helpful backlinks.
  3. Expanded brand awareness. Appearing on more review sites and more business directories increases how often you could be discovered by potential customers. Just make sure those first impressions are positive ones for them.
  4. Receive customer feedback. Paying attention to how people talk about you is a massive improvement opportunity. Negative feedback can be annoying, but it also highlights a way that you can make your business better. 

5 Tips for reputation management

1. Respond to all reviews. 

The sooner you respond to a review, the better. If it’s negative, apologize for the issue and find a way to make things right. If it’s positive, thank the user for their feedback and celebrate your success!

2. Set up Google alerts. 

Create alerts for your company name and a few other key phrases. This way, you’ll be notified when you’re mentioned somewhere online. This could include news coverage or mentions on social media sites.

3. Claim all online directories you can. 

Find where you’re being reviewed—or where you might be. Most of these sites allow you to claim the listing and make updates. Take the time to make sure your contact information is correct so that accurate information is being shared online.

4. Ask for reviews

Most people don’t actively leave reviews for businesses without being asked. However, most satisfied customers are willing to share their feedback publicly if asked. Make this easy for them by pointing them to a single review site and providing an easy URL (or QR code to scan).

5. Provide excellent customer service. 

All of the online reputation management in the world can’t fix poor customer service IRL. This is one of the most important things you can do to improve your online reputation. Make sure you are always responsive to customer inquiries and that you go above and beyond to resolve any issues.

Need help managing your reputation?

Reputation management is important but can be overwhelming. There’s quite a bit to do, and you’re busy enough as it is. That’s why trusting a marketing agency can help.

GreenMellen helps our clients to maintain a good online reputation, in part by helping to monitor and respond to online reviews. If this is a service that might benefit your business, let us know.

Want to see a review of our work? Or maybe leave us a review? Here are a few places to look:

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Robert Carnes

Marketing Manager

Robert Carnes is a freelance writer, published author, and professional marketer. His book, The Story Cycle, is your business's guide to becoming a better marketer. Robert lives in Atlanta and you can follow him on social media @jamrobcar.

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