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Successful online businesses bring in new customers by positioning themselves as reliable, effective, and trustworthy.
A large part of building this brand image is sculpting a positive online reputation. When a consumer searches for your business, you want them to see the very best you offer.
This means curating and managing your business's online reputation in a way that displays the best of what you offer. You can feature your top-performing content on relevant platforms, highlight positive customer reviews that compliment your service and showcasing positive PR so that your target audience sees it.
On the flip side, if your organization has had trouble lessening the negative effects of bad PR, reputation management can help.
To help you take the reins of managing the public's opinion of your business, we have created this guide. In it, you will learn the fundamental information you need to manage your reputation and influence how your prospects, customers, and competitors view your organization.
In today's corporate and internet-driven world, the way a business is perceived online largely determines its level of success. Online reputation is specifically about building trust and credibility for your brand’s image. There are thousands of organizations with a website and a social media presence, but that does not make them legitimate or reliable.
For this reason, it is essential for an enterprise – be it a startup, small business, non-profit, or corporation – to invest in building and maintaining a strong brand that can leave a positive impression on its target consumers.
A business's reputation is pivotal in even the most commonplace of circumstances. For example, a couple looking for a nice restaurant for their weekly date night is likely to look for a recommendation from family, friends, or online reviews.
With so much competition between businesses – all offering similar products or services – there needs to be differentiating factors that sets one organization apart from its competitors.
For this reason, customer feedback and a business's digital reputation are the most critical elements of marketing and advertising. If a company suffers an imbalance of either of these elements, they are less likely to grow.
Online customer reviews provide a channel through which a consumer can gain some insight into what it is like to do business with a specific brand. Not coincidentally, 88% of consumers report customer reviews influence if they decide to purchase a product or service.
Any B2B company that aims to strengthen its online reputation should prioritize receiving honest and positive online reviews.
The average consumer is interested in interacting with businesses that will provide them with value; they aren't willing to compromise their time through trial and error to see which option(s) provide the most value. For this reason, they look to customer reviews as a guide to a good buy.
A business's online reputation is not built exclusively from customer reviews. Social media, media outlet coverage, and search engine results are all pieces of the reputation puzzle.
Small businesses and enterprises alike require their leaders to have a reputation management strategy to manage how their customers and prospects view their business as competent and reliable.
Reputation management refers to the efforts a business makes to take ownership of their online reputation. It is essentially the actions, content, and damage control a company adopts to influence what and how people think about their brand.
Reputation management is categorized into two types: proactive and reactive.
Proactive reputation management is for businesses that want to establish a positive reputation because they are just starting to grow or for those who wish to maintain the reputation that they have developed. Even if your brand has built a negative reputation, that does not mean proactive reputation management does not have a place in your business. Developing a plan for promoting your brand in the way that you want your customers to view it is a great way to help change how people see your brand.
Reactive reputation management is necessary when a company has received negative PR or online reviews and wants to "clean up" any consequences that may come with that.
While no one wants to be in a position to need reactive reputation management services, a business will inevitably receive negative press. The degree to which this type of exposure harms an organization will depend on the situation in question and how great of a reputation it held before the incident took place. Even more important than how it handles the situation, there are many instances of companies having a crisis and making the problem far worse by not addressing the issue appropriately.
For this reason, it is vital to invest in building up a positive reputation for your business from the get-go.
While at first glance, a business may appear at the mercy of unsatisfied customers or internet trolls, there are things an organization can do to influence how future consumers will perceive it.
Inevitably, negative customer experience may adversely influence a potential customer. On average, 70% of consumers say they will not purchase from a business if it has more than four negative online reviews. The good news is that with a fully implemented reputation management strategy, you can reverse the damage that negative feedback can have on your sales.
The beauty of reputation management lies in that a business can influence how the public perceives it. However, this does not mean that a company can or should enhance their numbers or encourage its followers to write fake reviews, it merely means that a business has the liberty to curate their image to shine the best possible light upon it.
Today, the majority of our communication happens online in various ways:
Because a large portion of what we do happens online, everyone running a business needs a plan for managing how people see your company.
There is no way to escape from this truth. If you want your business to grow and succeed, you will need to harness tools like reputation management software, social media, SEO, and review websites to showcase the best image of your enterprise.
While focusing on your brand's reputation may seem superficial, it is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.
We all know of businesses – local businesses, non-profits, and corporations – who have earned the public's trust. Regardless of a minor scandal, a negative review, or an increase in their product prices, their target audience still loves them and purchases their goods.
A company that boasts such a massive influence s Apple – their reputation management and digital sales funnels are top-notch. While their prices seem to elevate with the release of every new product, consumers still wait in lines for days before the launch of a new device.
On the other end of the spectrum are businesses known for providing unpleasant customer experiences. Companies like this do not have the luxury of customers coming back for more.
While the perfect business does not exist, consumers can spot when a company does its best to provide excellent customer experience and quality service.
In the end, reputation management allows a business owner to take greater control of their company's perceived value. Both external and company-wide events are inevitable and can affect the bottom line of their business.
The ongoing task of creating, cultivating, and maintaining your brand’s name in good online standing.
A reputation management strategy that aims to depict a person or a business in a positive way.
A reputation management strategy that focuses on controlling the negative effects of bad PR or unfavorable reviews.
The efforts a business makes to take ownership of their online reputation. It is essentially the actions, content, and damage control a company adopts to influence what and how people think about their brand.
A series of actions a business takes to remove negative posts or reviews from the first SERP and replace them with positive feedback and information.
False and damaging statements about a person or an entity.
Capitalizing on an existing trend and using it to one’s advantage.
A business's efforts to push forward a positive digital reputation is evident with every online interaction. Search engine result pages (SERPs) give users an insight into how the world views it.
For example, if a small business owner does a quick Google search for software that helps to improve the customer service workflow, the results pages will provide links to lists of such software. While he reads the software's reviews, he will weed out any software that does not seem to be a fit for him. Once he has gathered a couple of software options, he will proceed to research each company.
As with any consumer, the small business owner is only interested in purchasing a quality product from a respected company. Not only does he care about the quality of the software, but also the value it can provide for him.
Inevitably, SERPs will influence his perception of what is the best option for him.
By working on building good SEO rankings for your website, your business's online presence can increase.
Let's consider two examples of companies that successfully managed their reputations.
We will also look at two companies that, unfortunately, were not able to foresee how their reputation blunders would have consequences that would come at a high cost.
Remember the 2017 United Airlines 3411 flight from Chicago to Louisville, where a passenger who refused to give up his seat was removed from the plane? This incident was a massive blow to the airline's reputation and showcased their lack of customer service. Given the incredibly harmful public exposure of the event, their market value plunged dramatically. However, they were able to salvage their reputation by publically apologizing for the incident, recognizing their responsibility, and providing compensation for the affected parties.
Another example is Samsung's exploding phone scandal. After reports that its Note 7 smartphones were catching on fire, and even exploding, Samsung now had a crisis on hand. As a result, they lost $26 billion in value in the stock market.
In a 2016 Harris Poll that ranks the reputation of 100 of the most visible companies in the US, it ranked 49th place, creating a stark contrast from its 3rd place the year before.
While United Airlines and Samsung were very-well known and established companies within their respective industries, their crises did not prevent them from needing some damage control (reactive reputation management). Despite their efforts, both companies still saw a significant decrease in their reputations and their market values.
While some renowned companies like the ones mentioned above have struggled to contain negative PR, others have been successful. Enterprises such as Amazon and Microsoft are considered to have solid reputations and have repeatedly excelled in yearly reputation polls.
Their strong reputations are evident in how easily their products and services are chosen over other competitors by consumers and how their reviews reflect the consumer's preference.
When managing your reputation on the Internet, it is essential to focus on the public's perception and the tools you can use to shape it positively.
To help in this process, you can employ the following techniques and tools and ensure your organization's online influence remains strong.
A review funnel is a tool that helps accomplish two things:
While no one wants to receive bad customer reviews, there will inevitably be people who will not feel entirely satisfied with their experience. Instead of worrying about receiving negative feedback, businesses can achieve more by responding to these. 45% of consumers are more inclined to visit a business website that responds to their negative reviews. Read more about review funnels here.
Social listening tools are any social media platform, profile, or devices used to monitor an organization's social media. Through social media management, businesses can use these tools to build their online reputation and shape how their audience views their brand and interacts with it.
With social media's growing influence on the customer, a business that carefully oversees customer feedback, direct mentions of its brand, or any discussions related to keywords, hashtags, competitors, or industry on social media has a higher chance to improve their digital reputation.
It is not enough to simply keep tabs on their brand's social media activity. It is just as important to use that information to increase their company's popularity.
SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of web traffic to your business website through organic search results from search engines.
By optimizing the layout of your website, its content, and any positive press your business receives, your site can rank higher on search engines. This includes adding a review schema markup to your website, which will be visible on SERPs and responding to positive and negative reviews to thank the client for their feedback or address their specific issue.
With search engine reputation managementA series of actions a business takes to remove negative posts or reviews from the first SERP and replace it with positive feedback and information., you can monitor and manage negative details about your business published in video reviews, images, podcasts, social media posts, and customer reviews.
Therefore, this process ensures that Google will offer a positive review or article for a keyword search related to your business.
Link building is a method of acquiring links to your website from other sites. Link building aims to establish your website as an authority site that provides relevant, high-quality content. It is also a useful tool used in digital marketing funnels to generate more traffic to your site.
Link building is an effective marketing strategy used in proactive reputation managementA reputation management strategy that aims to depict a person or a business in a positive way.. It ensures that your company website ranks in the top search results of a search engine, thereby giving users the idea that your website contains legitimate information.
Technical SEO is a branch of search engine optimization that focuses on optimizing a website for crawling and indexing. Crawling and indexing are crucial to obtaining higher rankings in search engine results. Without healthy SEO practices, your site will not rank on SERPs, and it will not receive more organic traffic, nor improve your brand's online reputation.
As a continuous process, managing your company reputation will require changes in your strategy as it grows in size and popularity. Once your business's perceived value aligns with your reputation management goals, your plan will likely change to ensure stability.
A constant threat to a business's reputation is the possibility of slanderFalse and damaging statements about a person or an entity. and trend jackingCapitalizing on an existing trend and using it to one's advantage. that can ruin a business's reputation overnight. Because today's customers are all connected, they can either promote or criticize a company with equal force.
To preserve your brand's integrity and name, practice these reputation management best practices:
2. Conduct a Google search as if you were a consumer. Make sure you use your browser's private mode to prevent skewing your results. This will give you valuable insight into the kind of information an outsider has of your business.
3. Prevent online trolls from creating accounts in your name or uploading false information.
This strategy is beneficial, considering the increased role of AI technology and algorithms in search engine results. AI technology is responsible for giving users options and providing a "portrait" of a business rather than a first-person experience. Consciously piecing together an image of your business brand is essential since 65% of people trust search engines the most when researching an organization.
This often includes engaging with the negative press on websites, social media, and review sites. Not only does this build trust with your customer base, but it builds trust with search engines. Statistics demonstrate that of the customers who received a response from a company after giving negative feedback, 33% posted a positive review, and 34% deleted the original negative review.
Integrating these best practices into your company reputation management plan increases the likelihood that your business will not have significant damage to its reputation.
Reputation Management software like Birdeye lets businesses manage review funnels to collect new customer reviews, manage them, and promote them across all sites where they matter the most to them – where prospects are likely to see them. You can achieve this by integrating the following strategies:
Review generation works by collecting reviews from your customers via email, SMS, your website, social media, and even kiosks at your physical locations.
Review management helps to manage all customer reviews – including taking control of how their business brand is perceived and solving customer issues – all on one platform.
By strengthening all SEO, SEM, and social media marketing efforts through the influence of customer reviews. This includes:
Review monitoring works to build your online reputation by accessing all the customer reviews posted about your business across the web. Each time a new review is posted on any website or social media platform, your organization will receive an alert about it.
Reputation Management software is a critical ally in curating the best digital reputation for your business. By investing in services like this, your business is on its way to becoming a sales powerhouse.
At Theia Marketing, we use top-notch reputation management software to manage a client's online presence, so they have one less thing to worry about.
While reputation management can do wonders for the bottom line of your business and can help bring in sales, posing as a customer to boost your business ranking is likely to produce unnecessary conflict.
Such was the case for skincare company Sunday Riley Skin Care. The creator of top-performing skincare products, Sunday Riley is sold in high-end retail stores such as Sephora and Neiman Marcus.
Boasting top online ratings, an anonymous Reddit user claiming to be a former employee leaked an email in which the company CEO instructed employees to create a false account and write fake product reviews in its favor.
While this is illegal, it also jeopardizes the public's trust of product reviews given that 89% of 18 to 34-year-olds (and 76% of all consumers) believe online reviews are as trustworthy as a personal recommendation.
After the corresponding investigations, the FTC filed a complaint against Sunday Riley. Though the company wasn't required to pay a fine or admit to any wrongdoing, the scandal briefly affected the public's perception of the brand and its product sales.
A review funnel is a valuable tool any business can use to manage its online reputation.
It is an (often) automated process that makes it easier to manage online business reviews and facilitate a customer's journey to writing reviews.
Review funnels were created out of a need for businesses to manage their digital reputations and business reviews online and to encourage their customers to provide feedback on their experiences with the brand.
The importance of business and product reviews has become increasingly evident because "word of mouth" recommendations are not enough to lead consumers to the products and services they want. Nowadays, reviews carry the same weight as a personal recommendation.
Studies show that reviews are central to the choices consumers make and that a staggering 82% of people don't want to purchase from a business because of its bad reviews. While this fact may pressure companies to achieve only positive reviews, the truth is that this isn't always possible. On the flip side, the absence of negative reviews can appear disingenuous to consumers, raising suspicious of deleted reviews.
While review funnels may create an urgency for businesses to aim to receive 5-star reviews from their customers, the reality is that companies with a star rating between 3.5 and 4.5 garner the most revenue. Therefore, businesses should aim to provide customers with high-value products and services to ensure their reviews are favorable.
Review funnels play a pivotal role in encouraging customers to share their experience with a business brand with other consumers.
While its function is simple enough, the reality is that most consumers do not write a business or product review simply because they are not required or prompted to do so. The most notable exception is when a customer has a negative experience, they want other consumers about it.
Essentially, review funnels send an email to a customer after they've purchased to remind them to write a review expressing their experience with the business.
While it is not illegal to express the desire to receive positive feedback, Google has prohibited the practice known as "review gating," which screens out negative reviews. It works by asking customers for feedback. If their response is a positive one, then the business decides to ask them to write a Google review.
Many of the platforms that automate the process of collecting reviews offer the ability to do something that may not seem like review gating initially.
They allow businesses to set up the system so that if a customer leaves a review below a certain rank, they are presented with the option to get in touch with a representative of the company before leaving the review where it is publicly visible. This approach is called review gating. A review is gated when a business asks its customers to write a review if they have something positive to express, but to contact their team directly if they have negative feedback.
Review gating can have far more significant consequences then the negative review could have had, such as getting all of your review removed from your profile. Secondly, would you trust a company that only had 200 4 or 5-star reviews? I wouldn't because you are bound to make a mistake and have a few unhappy customers.
There are various methods a business can use to create review funnels to increase the probability that customers will leave a review. The importance of these options lies in educating your clients on the review process.
It is a widely known fact that asking a person to complete a task does not guarantee they will do so. This holds for customers asked to leave a review for a business.
There are two principal reasons for why an individual is not willing to provide you with much-needed feedback.
To counteract these reasons, here are three solutions you may implement:
A review funnel is a great option that helps increase the number of reviews your business receives. While most review websites do not allow companies to manipulate the message and the number of stars they receive from their reviews, review funnels aid in other ways.
They boost a business's online presence and visibility, increase a consumer's trust factor, and its SEO ranking on search engines. Additionally, reviews provide insight into how to improve your business operations and how to manage your online reputation.
At Theia Marketing, we carefully assess your business’s current online reputation and identify the areas where you can improve. With the use of top-grade reputation management software, we work on these areas of opportunity to build brand trust and credibility. For more information, contact us to get a personalized quote.