Online Reputation Management: Expectations vs. Reality
With more than 85 percent of shoppers starting product searches online, a positive reputation has never been more important.
Too many negative reviews could chase prospects away to your competitors and cost you valuable conversions.
But effective online reputation management can make a difference: a skilled team will cultivate a more positive perception of your business, and boost your appeal in even the most crowded marketplace.
However, some business owners and executives underestimate the importance of online reputation management. They may miss out on its benefits because of certain misconceptions.
Here are four common examples — and why they’re wrong.
Your business is too small for online reputation management
Every business can benefit from online reputation management. As we’ve already established, the majority of consumers begin product searches online. Even if they think a local brick-and-mortar shop may carry the goods they want to buy, they’re still likely to check for a better deal online.
Let’s say a customer in the market for hand-made men’s shoes, just like those you offer, comes across your small company. They like the look of your products, and your website appears credible. But they look up your reviews before they buy, just for their peace of mind.
And because you run such a small business, you only have three reviews online. All of which are poor.
The customer looks elsewhere but finds no other information about the quality of your shoes or your service.
What else can they do to learn more about you? The only impartial details they can find are negative. They may take a chance on your business and hope for the best, but in the end, they could choose a competitor stocking similar shoes at the same price.
With online reputation management, that customer would be able to find more information about your company during their research stage. Positive information highlighting the quality of your products, adding credibility to your growing brand, and increasing the likelihood of a conversion.
You should just ignore negative reviews
Sadly, bad reviews won’t vanish if you ignore them. They’ll stay on TrustPilot, Google, and other review sites (unless you can have them removed for breaching guidelines).
But a key part of online reputation management is monitoring reviews and responding to them. The good and the bad.
Why? Because customers want to know that you care.
According to research by Forrester, more than 70 percent say that the most important thing a business can do to deliver quality service online is to value a customer’s time.
At the very least, responding to a review shows the individual responsible that you have recognized their feedback. But if you respond to their review in a professional way, perhaps by apologizing for their negative experience, they may still give your business another chance.
And, crucially, other prospective and existing customers will see your response too. If they like your tone and accountability, their trust in your company is likely to increase.
You can’t get customers to write reviews
You need positive reviews to build credibility and trust. But how can you get people to write them for you?
It’s easy: just ask.
But it’s only that simple if you provide customers with service of the highest standard. Service so good they have no reason to even look at your competitors’ websites. Service you’d love to receive yourself.
And delivering an outstanding customer experience depends on understanding your customers. Research your target audience, their buying habits, their budgets, their goals. The more you know about them, the better you can meet their needs — and exceed them.
Another essential part of asking consumers to review your business, products, and/or services? Make it simple.
Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to complete a five-page questionnaire about your buying experience and write about the quality of the service in detail?
Or would you rather type a few lines, give a star rating, and hit ‘submit’?
The faster and easier the review process is, the more likely a customer is to help you. Especially if you’ve earned their loyalty.
You only need social media accounts if your audience is young
Social media is a core aspect of good online reputation management. But don’t buy into the myth that it’s just for Gen Z and Millennials: research by Global Web Index shows that baby boomers use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube in high numbers.
You can reach audiences on social media through paid and organic posts. Each type is important in online reputation management. And people may comment on both, offering praise or criticism. That’s why you should always monitor public feedback.
Do people like an ad? Do people find that new blog post you shared on Facebook to be offensive in some way? Has someone thanked you for taking the time to create a tutorial video?
Be available to interact with social media users quickly: 84 percent of consumers expect a response within 24 hours.
Reviews on social media play a major role in online reputation management too. Customers can rate your business on Facebook (for example), providing others with an at-a-glance insight.
Building a large collection of positive social media reviews will help to secure trust from newcomers, so invite consumers to leave feedback for you. It’ll take seconds.
Prospects may head to your social media after (or before) they visit your website. Expect them to scroll through your posts and your interactions with followers.
A good, active social media account could help to drive traffic to your site and encourage conversions. A bad one could put prospects within moments.
Online reputation management can improve public perception of your business, help people find more information on your products/services, and build your credibility over time.
But managing your own online reputation may be difficult, especially when you’re trying to run a successful enterprise.
So, let Reputation Mart handle it for you.
We use proven methodologies to get more real reviews from your customers and help your company grow fast.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with our experts now!
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