The Ultimate Guide to Online Reputation Management
Reputation management no longer concerns only big businesses and celebrities. In this era, when an active audience is highly vocal about their opinions on digital platforms, both small and large brands need to care about their brand perception.
In fact, research shows that negative reviews are the number one factor for customers forming a poor opinion of a brand. For instance, a business with a 1-1.5 star rating on Google earns 33% less revenue than the average enterprise. Also, a ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey found that 94% of customers avoid a business with negative reviews.
Unfortunately, several brands have learned this the hard way!
Remember the Facebook Nestle mess? The brand’s reputation was ruined when Greenpeace, an environmental protection group, publicly accused them of harmful environmental practices.
So, how can brands respond to or manage such tricky situations? The answer lies in implementing a robust online reputation management strategy. So, without much ado, let’s take a look at what online reputation is all about and how you can leverage it to boost business profits.
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Online reputation management is a combination of strategies implemented to help businesses create a positive perception of themselves in the minds of their target audience. Specifically, social media, online community engagement, the search results of a business are a few facets of ORM.
Simply put, ORM involves managing the online content customers find about your business. It helps to demonstrate a business as trustworthy and reputable, thereby positively influencing buyer behavior.
ORM includes managing content available on search engines, as well as on your website and blog, social media, and customer reviews.
Why Should Businesses Care about Their Online Reputation?
In the digital era, the line between a business’s online and ground reputation has blurred. With 81% of shoppers looking for products or services on digital platforms, businesses cannot afford to ignore what people say or think about their brand. In every industry, people are weaving conversations around brands, either on social media, forums, or product review platforms.
Furthermore, a business’s online reputation shows how customers perceive the business when they come across or search for a brand. Hence, every business should invest their resources in creating and implementing online reputation management strategies that can positively influence their online perception.
Here’s why online reputation management is critical for your business.
1. It Directly Impacts Buying Decisions
Brand reputation is a key factor for purchasing decisions because customers are ready to buy from brands they trust. In fact, according to the results of a survey, customers are willing to pay a premium for products made by companies they trust.
Therefore, working on your reputation is equivalent to proactively influencing the information people find about your brand.
For instance, a review from an industry influencer or a positive customer review on Yelp could act as a tipping point for conversion. When customers read positive things about your business, they’ll be influenced to purchase from you.
2. It Strengthens Customer Trust
A total of 79% of customers say that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a family member or friend. So, having customers say positive things about your business persuades others to trust your brand.
A strong online reputation persuades customers to trust the intentions of your business. When your audience thinks highly of you, they will not think twice before purchasing your offerings, following your advice, or recommending your business to their social circle.
3. It Helps in Managing Negative Content
Negative content, in the form of negative reviews, as well as content from hate sites and negative press can ruin your brand reputation. Conscious shoppers often seek these review websites and social platforms to make informed buying decisions.
Take a look at the following statistics:
- 93% of online shoppers read online reviews before buying a product or service.
- 81% of retail shoppers start their buying journey with online research.
- 89% of customers will not take any action before they’ve read reviews.
Hence, regardless of whether your customer reviews are positive or negative, gathering them and responding to them is critical for your business.
What’re more, negative reviews increase conversion by up to 85%. Customers often opt for brands that have a mix of positive and negative reviews. However, having more than four negative reviews reduces the conversion rate by 70%. So, it’s wise to respond to negative reviews and solve customer concerns.
Customers feel positive about a business when it responds to negative reviews. A Local Consumer Review Survey by Brightlocal shows that 96% of consumers read a business’s response to reviews.
Therefore, implementing online reputation management strategies gives businesses a chance to alter a negative opinion about their brand. As a result, you can turn your unhappy customers into loyal fans.
4. It Helps You Understand What Customers Want
Monitoring what people say about your brand is a critical part of managing your online reputation. You can use polls and surveys and engage in social listening to collect useful insights on customer satisfaction and assess your brand performance. Such insights can provide you a peek into customer expectations and can be used to drive critical business decisions.