Online reputation management is very critical to the long-term success of any business today.
When you’re done reading this article, I want you to take a minute and Google your name and your business name.
You’re likely going to find negative reviews about you and your business on the numerous reviews sites out there.
And hopefully, you’ll understand that your business reputation is important.
Because such negative reviews could potentially tank your business.
Additionally, you’ll want to do something about it.
This is referred to as online reputation management.
Did you know that the increase in revenue can be up to 9% for a one-star increase in a company’s rating?
In essence, your online reputation is how people view you, your business, and your image on the internet.
Moreover, online reputation management isn’t just about social media monitoring or public relations.
Online reputation management comprises a set of specific methods used to improve and restore your name and business, countering, weakening and eliminating the negative materials about your business on the internet.
Defeating it with positive materials and increasing your credibility so that customers can trust you.
Online reputation management (ORM) is also known as search engine reputation management(SERM), or internet reputation management(IRM).
Indeed, your online reputation will help your potential customers decide whether to do business with you or not.
In fact, take a look at these amazing statistics for a moment:
- Star rating is the largest factor that consumers use to judge a business.
- 68% say they’re more likely to trust a business with positive reviews.
- Over 57% of consumers would contact a business that has at least three Star rating.
As shown above, your business is at the mercy of online communities.
In essence, you and your business cannot afford to ignore your reputation with the expanding online community.
Additionally, every business depends on its reputation for the future growth.
So don’t risk your reputation.
Customers simply don’t buy from businesses they don’t trust.
Furthermore, online reputation management is a long-term solution to building trust with your customers.
Online reputation management requires research and analysis, review building, social media profile creation and optimization.
Additionally, it also requires social media boosting and content generation.
Well, in this article, I’m going to show you how you can build an excellent online reputation.
Why You Need an Online Reputation
But before we dive into it, here are some of the reasons why you need an online reputation:
1) It Helps You Develop and Protect Your Brand.
In today’s digital world, a potential customer may decide to search the web for your products and services before making a buying decision.
And if that Customer is confronted with tons of negative reviews and comments about your business, what do you think is going to happen?
That customer will turn to your competitor instead.
It’s really that simple.
However, when you have a good online reputation management system in place, you’ll save your business from such situation.
2) It Helps You Build Trust and Credibility.
In the first place, if you want your business to succeed online or offline, then you have to earn your customers’ trust.
You’ll agree with me that customers like to share their experiences with family members, friends, and even on their social media accounts too.
If your products and services do not meet their expectations, they’re actually going to share that experience on the internet.
And trust me, you don’t want people to leave negative comments about your business on the internet because it’s going to spread really fast.
However, with online reputation management, you’ll be able to reply to those comments and show your customers that you care about them.
Eventually, this will build trust between you and customers.
3) It Helps You Drive Sales to Your Business.
These days, it’s now the habit of customers to conduct an online search for the products they want to buy.
As a matter of fact, they search the internet to look at other people’s review and comments about that product.
So it’s important that you are aware of what other people are actually saying about your business on the internet.
This will give you the opportunity to meet the needs and demands of your customers.
Similarly, it will also allow you to improve your products and services.
This will, in turn, bring new customers to your business.
On the other hand, if you don’t pay attention to the needs of your customers, it’s going to have a negative effect on your business.
You’re ultimately going to lose customers and sales.
4) It Helps You Build a Professional Image.
Existing and potential investors, banks, and even the general public will conduct an online research about your business.
Truly, this will help them gather information about your business that will help them make the right investment decisions.
And guess what, if your business name shows up with some negative reviews or comments, then you’ve lost those clients forever.
So in order to avoid this, you need a proper online reputation management.
The workforce of any business is critical to the success of that business.
In fact, anyone who needs a job is obviously going to look for a company with a good reputation in the market.
So a good online reputation will help you get talented employees that are the best fit for the job.
Also, this will help you take your business to new heights and increase your return on investment.
So if you want to know how to create an excellent online reputation management, then keep on reading this article.
How to Build an Excellent Online Reputation Management:
Here is what you can do if you like to build an excellent online reputation:
- Know the kind of brand that you want to build.
- Check your existing reputation before you launch.
- Create your website.
- Take advantage of social media.
- Capture reviews from your past customers.
- Automate the review capture
- Start a blog.
- Get listed in local directories.
- Create your own virtual business cards.
- Upload videos of your brand online
- Don’t ignore offline marketing.
1) Know the Kind of Brand That You Want to Build
Indeed, your brand goals will keep you on the right track and help you target the right audience.
Before you kick off your business, you have to decide how you want your target audience to perceive your business.
So ask yourself first;
- What kind of goods and services do I want to offer?
- How do I intend to reach my target audience?
- What business name do I want to use?
When you have answers to all these questions, you’ll be able to know the kind of brand that you want to build.
2) Check Your Existing Reputation Before You Launch
Indeed, it’s important that you check the online reputation of your brand name before you launch your business.
Conduct an online check to see if the term that you have chosen to be your brand name already has a negative review.
To do this, simply type in your proposed brand name into a search engine like Google and then conduct a search.
Also, scrutinize the search engine results and if you find a negative review about the name, then pick another name that doesn’t have any negative review.
3) Create Your Website
The next thing you want to do is to own your website.
Your website is your identity on the internet.
In reality, one of the fastest ways to accidentally discredit your brand is by not having a website or by using a domain name that you don’t own.
As a matter of fact, many people run into this issue by using free website builders.
The best practice is to buy a domain name that has the name of your brand or your own name if you’re an individual.
Your website should contain genuine information about you and your business such as:
- The kind of products and services you offer.
- Your business address.
- Your telephone number.
- The email address of your business.
Also, make sure your website is mobile friendly because a large number of internet users surf the internet over their mobile devices.
Additionally, you need to optimize your website for search engines.
This is because over 80% of consumers conduct an online research before purchasing a product.
When you optimize your website properly, it will indeed be easier for those customers to find your website on the search engine results pages(SERPs).
And to properly optimize your website, you need to create your content around relevant and less competitive keywords.
4) Take Advantage of Social Media
Indeed, social media is one of the most powerful business tools on the internet today.
Similarly, it is also one of the most effective ways to establish a new business today.
And guess what, it’s totally free.
It doesn’t cost you a dime.
But make sure you post often enough to gain attention.
Because if you’re not active on your social media accounts, your audience and customers are not going to be engaged.
Also, use social media to show your customers how you can solve their problems.
Additionally, post high quality and educational content that can help your customers and keep them coming back for more.
Obviously, search engines like Google and Yahoo like good Content.
So they’re going boost your content and your social media profile that you created on the various social media platforms.
And this will help you with your online reputation.
5) Capture Reviews from Your past Customers
Notably, this is one of the easiest ways to boost your online reputation.
So if you don’t have any review or you don’t have many reviews, the first thing you want to do is to email your past customers and ask them for feedback.
Don’t be afraid of negative reviews.
It’s not very important to have every review being 5 stars.
That is to say, it’s actually OK to have some 4 stars, or 3 stars and some lower ratings too.
This because when people are conducting a research about your business, they’re going to see that these reviews are authentic.
If all the reviews about your business are 5 stars, that might raise a red flag to your potential customers.
They’ll think you’re gaming the system somehow.
So don’t be afraid to get some low ratings too.
For the most part, if you do a great job( which I’m sure you do), you’re going to get great reviews.
And overall, you’re going to get a lot more reviews which are going to help grow your reputation.
6) Automate Your Review Capture
Ok so you’ve captured all these reviews from past customers, but what about your future customers?
Don’t just capture reviews from your past customers and then call it a day.
Certainly, the best practice is to automate your review capture the best way that you can.
So if you send out any invoices, notification, newsletters, or thank you notes after you do business, try to update those templates with a call to action asking your customers to leave a review about your business.
The call to action can say something like:
“Hey, we appreciate your business, please take a second and give us your feedback”.
Along the way, as you’re doing business, this will help you capture reviews in an automated way.
Thereby helping you grow your online reputation.
7) Start a Blog
Certainly, blogging is a super effective way to build a strong relationship with your customers.
In fact, it may interest you to know that over 80% of online read and trust advice from blogs.
So from the statistics above, you can see that blogging is an effective way to build your online reputation.
Moreover, blogging also gives you the opportunity to share relevant and informative content with your clients and customers.
This will signal your clients and customers that you’re an expert and a leader in your industry.
Through blogging, you can deal with any misconception or rumor about you or your brand.
8) Get Listed in Local Directories
Indeed, there are tons of local directories on the internet where businesses can be listed on.
Include the following details about you and your business on such directories:
- Your business name, contact information, address
- Your opening hours
In addition, ensure that your details are consistent on all these local directories.
Also, include positive Content about your business such as customer testimonials and the number of your star rating on review sites.
9) Create Your Own Virtual Business Cards
Once you create your own virtual business card and somebody Google’s your name or business name, your profile is going to show up.
And guess what, you could add content, images, and even videos about your brand to your profile.
You can also link this profile to your social media channels in order to get maximum exposure.
10) Upload Videos of Your Brand Online
Have you heard of YouTube?
Well, obviously you have.
If you publish videos of your brand on a video publishing channel like YouTube, then your business is going to get a lot of exposure to your target customers.
And with proper video optimization, your videos are going to rank high on the search engine result pages of YouTube and Google.
Consequently, this will make your business become visible to your potential customers and also increase your online reputation.
11) Don’t Ignore Offline Marketing
Even though you are focused online, your offline presence has a huge impact on your brand reputation.
Boost your online reputation by leveraging offline marketing.
Establish face-to-face connections with your target audience offline and ask them to engage with you online as well.
Real life events have more ability to influence the decisions of online users than digital marketing.
You can reach out to a large number of your target audience offline by:
- Speaking at events.
- Local print publications.
- Trade shows.
- Cold Calls.
- Sponsoring a community event.
The ultimate goal here is to strengthen your public relations activities, ensure that you build trust with your offline audience, and also let them engage with you online.