Online Reputation Management: How to Win Reviews and Influence People
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Your online brand reputation is a beacon of trust for prospective customers. Most people find it easier to connect with businesses that come across as authentic and reliable. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 88% of consumers agreed that they went out of their way to choose brands they felt were more authentic and trustworthy.
To achieve this, entrepreneurs work hard to paint their company in the best possible light by:
- Interacting with clients daily
- Constantly improving their services
- Delivering on their promises
- Recognizing and rewarding loyal customers
However, despite your best efforts, you cannot avoid negative publicity indefinitely. One bad review from an angry client can turn the tide and send your public image for a toss. Soon enough, you may find yourself losing ground in your local market.
Shockingly, only 48% of consumers would consider doing business with an establishment that has fewer than four stars. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Fortunately, there is a way you can take matters into your own hands.
This is known as online reputation management.
By managing your reputation on the web, you can proactively control what customers see when they search for your business.
In this post, we will walk you through the basics of online reputation management (ORM). But first, let’s take a look at why it is important for your business.
1. Is Online Reputation Management Important for Your Business?
The short answer is, yes. A survey from PowerReviews found that:
- 99.9% of customers say they read reviews when shopping online at least once in a while.
- 98% of customers feel that reviews influence their purchase decisions.
- 86% of customers don’t buy products online without reading reviews. For in-store purchases, this figure is 51%.
The statistics speak for themselves. When you invest in strengthening your online narrative, you’re securing your business’s financial well-being for the long term.
Because negative reviews, social media attacks, and biased media coverage can seriously impact your company’s bottom line, you must gain control of your online reputation to ensure your brand is represented fairly.
The sole purpose of online reputation management is to keep your web presence as positive as possible. Essentially, it is all about taking care of the little issues before they escalate and cost you your client base.
But how do online reviews affect your business in the first place? Let’s find out.
2. How Online Reviews Affect Your Business
Today, online reviews are a buyer’s best friend. And, while positive reviews are a great way to attract more calls and in-store visits, negative reviews can tarnish your public image for good.
Like everything else on the internet, online reviews have their advantages and disadvantages.
A) How Positive Reviews Impact Your Business?
- Increases Customer’s Confidence: 93% people read online reviews before engaging with a business. When most of these reviews are positive, customers feel more confident in your offerings. In some cases, this can even lead to improved conversion rates!
- Acts as Free Advertising: Positive reviews on third-party review sites serve as free advertising. Essentially, it’s your past clients recommending your business to a whole new group of potential customers!
- Improves Search Rankings: Regular reviews often enhance search rankings. As a result, you have a better shot at rising to the top of the results.
B) How Negative Reviews Impact Your Business?
- Lowers Search Rankings: Just as positive online reviews improve your search engine ranking by 15%, negative reviews can jeopardize it. Search engines can pick up on the backlash surrounding your business and push you further down on the results page. While you can overcome this penalty, it will take time.
- Damages Your Reputation: Negative reviews can trigger trust issues right out the gate. Often, they deter customers from touching base. And, in case they do make contact, even the slightest mistake on your end can earn you another negative comment.
- Harder to Repair: It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to overcome a negative brand image. The only solution is to earn a ton of positive reviews and counter the damage.
- Fake Reviews are a Major Threat: A rival service provider masquerading as a wronged buyer can easily leave derogatory fake reviews on third-party review platforms.
3. Why Should You Manage Your Online Reviews?
Online reviews are one of the first things people notice about your business. More importantly, reviews affect sales. As per a recent study, a product with five reviews has a 270% higher chance of being purchased than a product with no reviews.
Sales aside, you should also manage your online reviews for your:
If you want to get a firm handle on what people think of your brand, take a look at your online reviews. It’s simple- positive reviews and five-star ratings make your company look more attractive. On the flip side, low ratings and negative comments can give you a bad name.
Your brand reputation also depends on how you respond to online reviews, 96% of customers read a business’s responses to their reviews, with 40% saying they always check responses.
You may not feel the need to entertain hostile comments. However, your customers may perceive this as a lack of interest. Worse still, it can set a bad example for future clients and damage your reputation.
B) Existing Customers
Businesses are always trying to fine-tune their products. Managing online reviews can help them with this.
Online reviews open a line of communication between you and your existing client base. You can use feedback from past clients to discover what they love about your business. Not only will this tell you what sells, but also point out areas that need more work.
For instance, if you run a small restaurant, you can read online reviews to find out what visitors enjoyed most about their dining experience. Likewise, customers can also leave comments about the things they didn’t like, so you can make amends quickly.
Additionally, managing reviews is a great way to keep clients invested in your brand. By being active online, providing special offers, and resolving queries, you can showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction and build strong connections with your clients.
C) New Customers
When a customer seeks a product or service, they do their best to cover all their bases. This includes reading honest opinions from real people.
With review monitoring and online reputation management, you can amplify positive business reviews across multiple web platforms. Displaying carefully-chosen positive reviews on your website will help validate a consumer’s decision to do business with you.
Furthermore, you need to protect your web image to drum up new business. Online reputation management can help you make the most of interaction channels and convert prospective leads into paying customers.
4. How to Manage Your Online Reviews
While online reputation management has multiple working parts, it isn’t rocket science. Usually, it involves:
A) Managing and Auditing Online Reviews
Tracking and reacting to brand mentions across various digital platforms is vital to online reputation management. Based on your industry and client base, this may include:
- Social media platforms
- Third-party review sites
- News sites and blogs
- Press releases
- Video content
Unless you’re using reputation management software, you will have to monitor general review sites manually. You can do this by:
- Creating a Google Alert: Once you set up Google Alert, you will receive a notification anytime your brand is mentioned on the internet. This will make it easier for you to keep track of new reviews.
- Searching Your Brand Name: You could also take a more traditional route and conduct a Google search with your brand name. Be sure to sort the results by newest first.
The next step is to audit your online reviews:
- Start by listing out all the review sites where customers talk about your brand.
- Then, group the reviews into three categories: positive, negative, and neutral.
- Identify the leading cause of negative reviews. Is it your customer service? Are people dissatisfied with your products? Whatever the case, take careful note of all the gaps.
- You can also perform a text analysis in order to visualize a sentiment analysis, key phrases, language, themes and patterns, and other entities.
- Implement a game plan to resolve or minimize these issues as best as possible. Taking immediate action is key to a successful online review audit.
- Develop an ideal online reputation for your brand and see if its existing image matches the same. If it does not, you’ll need to take active steps to reshape people’s opinions of you.
B) Responding to Positive Reviews
When you respond to positive reviews, customers know you appreciate their compliments. You can do this in one of two ways.
- Sending a private message only the customer will see, or
- Appreciating the post in public
While thanking a customer for their positive reviews, do not offer tangible rewards. This could be mistaken as a bribe for further appreciation. Moreover, try not to turn your response into a plug. Stick to introducing yourself and expressing your gratitude.
However, in case a customer praises a particular aspect of your business, you can let them know how you plan to improve it down the line.
For example, if a customer compliments a specific brand of chocolate in your store, you can tell them that you’ll be adding new flavors to the range. Use your discretion and respond accordingly.
C) Responding to Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are part and parcel of your online reputation. Instead of losing heart, try and tackle the problem head-on. Responding to negative reviews is a way of telling your customers that you will take care of any issues they have with your products or services.
Remember to keep calm when reading negative comments. Apologize for any issues upfront and describe what you’re going to do to resolve the problem.
Also, think about where the negative reviews were posted. It does not make sense to issue an apology on Twitter if the bulk of negative feedback is on Facebook.
We’re all prone to making mistakes. The important thing is to accept them. When you act on your negative reviews, it shows customers that you’re honest, transparent, and willing to make changes.
D) Getting More Positive Reviews
The good news is that most customers are willing to review your business. 72% of US consumers reviewed a local business in 2020. By following our best practices, you’ll create a streamlined process for consumers to share how they found your business.
For this, you can:
- Let customers know they can find your business on (hyperlink to external platforms), immediately after they make a purchase or after their service is completed. This way they can notify their communities where they found your business before they return to their busy lives and forget all about their experience with your business.
- Recognize and promote loyal reviewers. You can feature the most well-written reviews on your social media pages to let customers know you value their input. Don’t forget to highlight the customer’s name!
- Embed a ‘find us on’ button on your website to make the process more convenient.
5. Tools that Can Help You Manage Your Online Reviews
Now that you understand the significance of online reputation management, it’s time to look at a few tools that can help streamline this process further. Usually, these include:
A) Your Website
You can incorporate a process to allow consumers to share where they found your business by adding a simple page on your website. To do this:
- Include the primary sites where consumers can find your business (Facebook, Googly My Business, Yelp). Don’t forget to consider industry-specific sites (TripAdvisor for hotels, Yelp for restaurants).
- Build a ‘Find us on‘ page on your website that pushes clients to share how they found your business.
- Create a feedback form for clients who would rather engage with you directly.
- Track the reviewers on CRM.
- Respond to all the reviews, no matter what the sentiment.
- Be sure to thank the customers for leaving their comments.
B) Google Business Profile
Moreover, you can tell customers to find your business on your Google Business Profile Reviews on Maps and Search help your business stand out.
To have people find you on Google:
- Ensure your business is verified and eligible to appear on Maps, Search, and other Google platforms. Only verified businesses can react to reviews.
- Remind customers to share where they found your business through their mobiles or computers.
- Remind customers to share where they found your business through their mobiles or computers.
C) Bright Local’s Reputation Management Tool
At Foxxr, we use Bright Local’s Reputation Management Tool, an all-in-one online reputation management solution that lets you monitor your reviews across 80+ general and niche sites. With all the information in one place, it’s easier for you to focus on the sites that need attention first.
This nifty tool also features entirely customizable website widgets, which help you pick your favorite reviews and publish them on your site.
Additionally, you can also add Showcase Widgets to the key pages of your website and start winning over more customers. Take a look at this sample report for better clarity.
6. Reward Your Team for a Job Well Done
Remind customers to share where they found your business through their mobiles or computers. Be sure to provide them with incentive programs like monthly luncheons, certificates, and recognition prizes to let them know you appreciate their hard work.
Customers evaluate your brand by what they see and hear online. With the proper online reputation management strategies, you can protect your brand’s positive image. Online reputation management puts you in charge of deciding how potential clients view your organization.
In case you need more information on online reputation management, do not hesitate to contact Foxxr’s team. As SEO and digital marketing specialists, we can help increase your traffic and revenue through careful strategy-building. For more information, feel free to reach out to us today!
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Published: Nov 30, 2021
Updated: Jul 22, 2022