Business online reputation management is a crucial component for corporate success if keeping your customers happy is a huge part of your company’s mission and vision. No matter how hard you try, your brand is quite likely to take a hit to its reputation every now and then. It takes only one frustrated customer, for whatever reason, to start a fire. In this guide, you will find practical tips for managing your digital footprint and effective ways to manage your online reputation, as well as review management tactics to help get you out of a bad situation (even better, help prevent one).
- Understanding online reputation management
- The impact of online reputation on business
- How to manage online reputation?
- Importance of company reputation management
Understanding Online Reputation Management
In a nutshell, online reputation management is all about determining how satisfied your customers are and how others perceive your business during an online search, based on the information they find about your company’s online reputation.
According to a recent Brightlocal survey, an overwhelming 98% of consumers read online reviews occasionally or regularly, and 46% of them trust an online review just as much as they would trust a friend recommending the same business, service, or product.
Consumers are very quick to make their decision about a company’s online reputation. According to Vendasta research, 40% of them can determine that after reading between 1-3 online reviews.
The same survey also pinpoints that 49% of consumers require at least a 4-star rating before they are open to ordering from a specific company or working with a particular business. Understandably, assessing and monitoring public perception of your business, as well as addressing and influencing it, by responding to negative reviews, is key when deciding to manage online reputation.
Although a company can outsource both branding and reputation management, the latter is usually handled internally by reputation management techniques, such as responding to any content from other companies or people that could be potentially damaging to the company’s reputation.
The Impact of Online Reputation on Business: Real-Life Examples
Online reputation affects business functioning positively and negatively putting online brand reputation management in the driver’s seat. Let's take Facebook as an example. During the 2016 presidential election, Facebook's then-chief security officer and other officials admitted that the platform was being used to amplify political divisions, promote fake news, and, ultimately, divide society. After this, Facebook’s score dropped below the industry average of 73 on the ACI scale.
Another example of a corporate reputation crisis is that of Target, which experienced a 16-day data breach. The company made a public announcement 20 days after it happened (and four days after it had been discovered). The company was serenely criticized for trying to cover it up and eventually addressed the issue and responded to it publicly before they agreed to compensate every consumer affected by the breach up to $10,000. From that point on, the company took important steps towards strengthening its IT security, gradually restoring customers’ trust in their brand.
According to Consumer Trends on PissedConsumer.com, one of the most is Upside, with a 2.5/5 rating based on customer reviews. According to customer satisfaction stats, 0% of users would recommend the company to a friend or colleague. This mainly has to do with consumers’ inability to contact Customer Support and have their issues resolved.
On the flip side, Microsoft is a company that has maintained a stellar online reputation for more than a decade, merely damage experienced from issues impacting the tech industry or negative reviews coverage. The company’s good reputation is owed to a combination of exceptional employee-approval Glassdoor rating, consistent leadership, and its focus on transparency during updates and product problems, which have ranked the company 17th in the Global RepTrak® 100 in 2022.
Nike is another brand with a great online reputation that has mastered handling customer support while also doing a fantastic job conducting competitor research and implementing exceptional content marketing strategies. The company has a separate Twitter account solely focused on dealing with customer inquiries, which replies to consumers promptly, helping Nike manage brand reputation successfully.
How to Manage Online Reputation?
Online reputation management can be done successfully through various channels and techniques. Some of the most popular reputation management strategies include the following stages:
1. Monitoring your online presence
You can start by setting up a Google Alert for your work email, your company’s name, your name, your website domain, and any username you often use, including any common misspellings of which.
Use handy tools to help you manage brand reputation, such as:
- Social media management platforms like Sprout Social and Hootsuite that allow you to set up searches similar to those of Google Alerts that also include business-related hashtags.
- SEMrush enables business owners to monitor metrics like resource authority, mentions without backlinks, referral traffic from mentions, and sentiment scores, among others.
- PissedConsumer, which is another direction to look when interested in what consumers say and think about your brand.
- You may also take advantage of the PissedConsumer review management services to help regain customer loyalty, build communication, improve customer satisfaction, and monitor reviews.
2. Creating a strong online presence
First of all, it is paramount to provide an excellent user experience by designing your site with the target user in mind while also looking into aspects like page loading time, fonts, color schemes, visuals, and proper function of all buttons and forms on it. Of course, there are also many review and reputation management solutions available to benefit from.
You could even consider the following to show consumers that you are focused on addressing their concerns and supporting them:
- Thinking mobile-first since almost 188 million consumers are expected to shop using their mobile phone by 2024, according to Statista data.
- Establishing trust using reliable encryption algorithms and a reputable security service to achieve consumer data safety.
- Sharing valuable, customer-oriented information about your brand services or products via consistent and frequent blogging to help build strong and lasting relationships with your customers.
- Leveraging the most effective social media platforms is also a step in the right direction, as is using email to reach prospects and registering in business directories.
3. Engaging with customers online
Consumers nowadays appreciate personalized conversations with a company and more organic interactions. One of the means to manage online reputation is replying to their comments, reviews, and mentions is a way to go about this. The primary objective is to combat negative feedback openly, quickly, and directly. This also allows you to better understand your customers’ needs.
Of course, the best course of action is to make your social media accounts real customer service touchpoints that enable your customers to reach out to you with a question or concern. Your organization should address them as quickly as possible, ideally within 4-24 hours.
PissedConsumer statistics also pinpoint a direct connection between a company’s rating and its replies to its customers’ feedback or reviews, with 64% of brands improving their rating after talking to their customers.
Take Amazon, for example. It is one of the current most talked-about companies on PissedConsumer, with a 2.7/5 rating, mainly due to consumers complaining about customer service and poor quality products. Its rating is slowly increasing after replying to more customer reviews, though.
Responding empathically will also show that you care about fixing the said issue and that you genuinely want to provide the customer with a solution to their problem, which can prevent an uncontrolled spiral of things.
The key here is never to ignore or discount any content, positive or negative. Consumers are particularly good at finding negative brand or product reviews, so owning up to an issue and apologizing for it can work to your benefit when trying to fortify your company’s relationship with its target customers, displaying a focus on transparency and honesty.
Importance of Company Reputation Management
In a perfect world, your company fulfills its target customers’ needs and everybody involved is happy with your startup and what you have to offer. But things often go sideways. Low-star ratings and negative reviews are like punches in the stomach of your company, either a startup or a long-standing one, affecting your brand online.
If left unattended or not handled in a timely fashion, these slow-burning “fires” can create serious issues down the line (i.e., customer retention and drop in sales), gaining momentum and giving birth to larger and more severe problems that may even go haywire. This could even give your competitors a chance to capitalize on your downfall.
Positive brand reputation, on the other hand, inspires customer loyalty, boosts your startups popularity score with your customers, and increases customers’ trust in your company, which is critical for growth and revenue, so long your production practices and the quality of the offered services and/or products is exceptional.
Getting onboard with actions to help with brand reputation management of your business is crucial. However, it doesn’t mean that it entails posing a fake persona to attract customers or erasing negative feedback, rather than holding your company accountable for judgment lapses and mistakes, handling issues effectively, and building an authentic and fair image of your business. Then, online reputation management can stand a chance to showcase the best version of your company to the world.
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