15 minute read
- What Is It
- Why It Matters
- Positive Reviews Equal Business Survival
- Fake Yelp Reviews
- Start Building Your Reputation
- Secrets Of Success
- Effective Strategies
- Tips From Marketing Companies
- Online Reputation Management Services That Work
- Helpful Tools
- Important Stats You Can’t Avoid
What Is Online Reputation Management?
When you take control of the way you are portrayed and perceived online, you engage in reputation management. A results-driven approach to reputation management requires being both proactive:
- Blogging regularly
- Publishing your company’s accomplishments on your website
- Asking customers to write reviews
- Replying to customers who write negative reviews
- Engaging with audiences on social media
- Replying to comments readers leave on your blog
Why should you care about your online reputation? The vast majority of your target audience will make a decision using the information they find about your business via your website, social media profiles and reviews.
Word-of-mouth has a tremendous influence on consumers. In fact, 68% of people trust online opinions from other consumers.
How much control do you have over your online reputation? More than you may think! While people are free to say anything about your company in reviews and on social media, you have the power to change the direction of the conversation and to proactively put positive information about your brand out there. Both tactics help minimize the damage that negative feedback can do.
Why Your Online Reputation Matters
Internet searches have become a significant resource for buyers seeking out products and services. And online reputation exerts a powerful influence on their decision-making process. 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase.
Peer-to-peer marketing is extremely effective because people tend to trust what fellow consumers say more than they trust the claims made by companies. So, if their peers speak well of a business, they are more inclined to consider it and vice versa.
What does this mean for your business? It means you cannot afford to ignore your online reputation or sit back and hope your positive reviews outweigh your negative reviews.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out to customers and asking them to write a review of your services. Most people will be agreeable if they had a positive experience – and you do not want those who had a negative experience to write about your company, anyway.
Your request does not have to intrude on their life. In fact, you should avoid doing so. Instead, ask them via email or text message. This way, they can read and process the request whenever is most convenient for them.
Social media offers another way to manage your online reputation. It is an easy way to stay top of mind with existing customers and prospects. After all, if your posts show up in their feed, it will be hard for them to forget you. Social media is also a good tool for customer service.
How so? Well, if an existing customer expresses displeasure with your business via a post, you can demonstrate with your response how much you care about the experience your customers have with your products or services. And if a potential customer asks questions, you have the perfect opportunity to show them that working with you would be a pleasure.
While some social media platforms are better than others for different types of businesses, you should maintain an active presence on a large range of them. Each tends to attract slightly different types of followers and you want to make sure you engage all of your target audiences whenever possible.
Requesting reviews and monitoring your social media presence may sound time-consuming, but it does not have to interfere with your schedule. Tag Marketing can handle both for you.
Our reputation management services include automating the collection and promotion of your reviews, as well as managing your social media accounts.
When it comes to reviews, we use cloud-based software to send requests and surveys through text messages and emails. You get to choose the customers that receive them, which helps avoid those who may submit negative reviews. If you do receive a negative review, you will be alerted immediately, giving you the opportunity to respond and turn it around.
We oversee your social media profiles to ensure you have a positive image as a trustworthy thought leader and that your followers are engaged. Due to many years of experience, we know exactly how to respond to potential customers, happy customers and unhappy customers.
You Need A Positive Online Reputation To Survive
The Internet era has created certain opportunities and challenges for businesses. Online reputation can fall into either one of these categories depending on how it is managed.
Consumers hold new kinds of power they did not back when people learned about companies via direct mail, the Yellow Pages and verbal word-of-mouth. They can write a review that anyone who goes online can read. And make no mistake about it, people take these reviews seriously. Some will not even consider doing business with a company that has negative reviews.
The bottom line is, your online reputation can make or break your business. Fortunately, you have the ability to monitor and manage your reviews.
Believe it or not, reviews are also important for your website search rankings. A simple Google search yields ratings at the very top of search results. Google, Yahoo and Bing have in recent years placed great importance on local searches, in particular, giving them top billing in their ranking positions.
While some review sites are better for certain types of businesses than others, every company should target Facebook, Google and Yelp as part of its online reputation management strategy.
This may sound overwhelming, but maintaining a positive online reputation boils down to good communication. What does this mean?
Do not remain silent when your customers review you. Consumers want to know you are listening to them. Some of the naysayers may even reverse their position if you respond to their liking!
- Thank the customers who submit positive reviews.
- Try to placate negative reviewers by offering to put them in touch with an authority figure at your company.
- Be vigilant and try to prevent negative reviews from being written in the first place by sending customers surveys. Make sure this is done right after they make a purchase. The timing is critical.
- Keep an eye out for fake reviews and report them to the appropriate staff member at review sites.
Let the professionals handle your online reputation management efforts so you can focus on running your business. The Tag Marketing team has been establishing and improving the reputation of clients for about 20 years.
In addition to overseeing your online reviews across multiple platforms, we will ensure your company is visible in local search engines and your social media profiles support your online reputation strategy.
What You Should Know About Fake Yelp Reviews
With reviews – especially those posted on the top review sites such as Yelp – influencing people’s choices in a significant way, the rise in fake Yelp reviews hardly comes as a surprise.
They come in two forms – positive reviews written about an organization by people who are paid or pressured and negative reviews written about a competitor by people who are not customers or employees.
Fake reviews are a major issue – so much so that Yelp has taken measures to combat them:
- Consumer alerts – Yelp posts a warning on the listings of companies that have paid for reviews for a period of three months.
- Sting operations – Yelp employees pose as reviewers willing to accept payment and are able to catch offenders in the act.
- Lawsuits to shut down offenders – Yelp has brought lawsuits against companies that have attempted to pay for fake reviews.
- Not recommended – Yelp hides suspicious reviews under a link toward the bottom of each organization’s page.
While Yelp’s efforts are certainly admirable, they do not always work. Several studies conducted a number of years ago found that about 10% to 15% of reviews are fake.
There are ways to get positive reviews without resorting to fraud:
- Communicate openly and honestly with customers.
- Respond to negative reviewers in a professional manner, offering to help them resolve their issue.
- Familiarize yourself with Yelp’s Terms of Service and report any negative reviews that violate them.
- Over time, ask people to select the “helpful” and “not helpful” links next to reviews.
- In some cases, you can take legal action to get a negative review removed.
The best approach by far is to work with a seasoned online reputation management company. Tag Marketing uses strategies projected to work based on data and experience, along with tools. We will improve and strengthen your online reputation across review sites and other channels including social media and reviews published on your website.
Start Building A Positive Online Reputation Now
The wrong time to think about establishing and maintaining a positive online reputation for your business is when you need to do damage control. So, when is the right time?
The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never rung truer than when it applies to online reputation management. Not only is the damage easier to prevent than fix, but your online reputation also affects critical aspects of your online presence such as the visibility of your website in search results and the authority of your brand as an industry thought leader.
That said, the value of reputation management for coming out of public relations crises intact cannot be understated. For the most part, the public only knows what is presented to them. For this reason, you must present a carefully crafted image of your organization at all times.
In simple terms, online reputation management refers to tactics used to influence the public perception of a business or individual online. Tactics include:
- Creating and distributing positive content on the Internet
- Diluting negative mentions and reviews by diluting them with positive content and professional responses to negative reviews
- Presenting a receptive and customer service oriented image on social media profiles
Your company website is a critical cog in your reputation management machinery. It is, after all, the main vehicle you use to promote your brand to the world. You should follow several best practices to make sure it works hard for you:
- Name your website domain after your business.
- Keep the design of your home page easy to navigate and simple.
- Keep copy succinct yet informative. Use bullet points and graphics to break it up.
- Display your company’s awards, certifications, accreditations, reviews, partners, affiliates, trust seals and security badges in the footer and sidebar sections of your website.
- Make sure your “about” page truly promotes your business versus consisting solely of the company history and types of products or services you sell.
There are several reasons why it is important to maintain an active blog:
- It lets customers know how your business can solve their problems.
- It establishes your brand as a thought leader on the subjects that affect your target audience.
- It improves your website’s position in search engine results.
When developing blog posts, always strike a balance between delivering content that is optimized for search engines and valuable to readers. No one will see your great content if they cannot find it and if they do find it and if the quality is lacking, visitors will not consider your services or products a contender for the solution they seek.
To that end, make sure your target audience can easily digest your content, and within a reasonable amount of time. People are dealing with increasingly frenetic, jam-packed schedules. They have neither the time nor the inclination to spend an extended amount of time on your webpage or social media profiles. The value your content offers them should be obvious from the very first line.
45% of consumers say they will post about a positive interaction if a brand responds well to a complaint on social media. This makes your online social media presence powerful. It gives you a public forum to address questions, concerns, complaints and praise from potential and existing customers.
Many people will not consider a company if it has too few positive reviews or too many negative reviews. Increasing your positive reviews should be one of your top priorities for online reputation management. Do not be afraid to ask existing customers to write them. If you do so in a non-obtrusive way – via text message or email – most will not mind.
When it comes to negative reviews, the best plan of action is to respond in a professional, calm and courteous way. Stress that you care about their experience and offer to continue the discussion offline. Whatever you do, never ignore a bad review. This makes it look like your company is apathetic to the needs of your customers and that is never good for business.
Tag Marketing has about 20 years of experience helping clients across many industries put their best foot forward online. We put in the time and effort that building a positive online reputation requires so you can focus on running your business.
We leverage resources including software that automates the review request and monitoring process and methods for auto-publishing 4-5 star reviews across your social media profiles. We also manage your social media accounts and blogs, and design websites that attract and convert qualified leads.
The Secrets Of Successful Online Reputation Management
Much like meeting a new person or a new group of people, your online reputation is the primary way your company makes a first impression on the world. So, how do you ensure it is a good impression?
Getting positive online reviews is essential, yes, but their visibility to consumers is equally important. Fortunately, an increase in positive reviews will gradually improve your website’s ranking in search engine results.
You do not have to sit around and wait for this to happen. Adding a review rich snippets schema to your website or ecommerce store enables your star rating to show up alongside your meta listing in search results.
It is entirely possible to take a proactive approach to increase positive reviews and suppress negative reviews, as well. Send surveys to customers after they make a purchase to get their feedback about their experience. Doing so serves two purposes: it shows them you care and gives you an opportunity to turn a potential negative review around.
Taking measures like this is important because the competitive landscape has widened substantially in the Internet era. Your competitors are numerous and located around the world. And the way you meet many of them is the Internet. So, when it comes to your online reputation, the stakes are high.
Social media reputation management is about much more than getting “likes” on your posts. The ultimate goal is to establish a sense of trust with your target audience so they feel comfortable and assured doing business with you.
Tracking all of your social media accounts on a regular basis is critical. It allows you to prevent, turn around and ease negative feedback. When interacting with audiences on these channels, it is important to:
- Be transparent. People can tell if you are being disingenuous.
- But do not be overly transparent. Regardless of how out of line someone gets, your response should always be professional and courteous.
- Demonstrate empathy. People want to know that you care about their experience.
- Respond promptly to positive and negative comments.
- Never admit fault or place blame elsewhere
- Continue the conversation offline
All online review sites matter, but there are some that are more influential due to the traffic volume they receive and how much the public relies on them. The top sites include Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angie’s List and Merchant Circle.
In order to build up and maintain a solid online reputation, it is imperative to monitor it a minimum of once per week.
Is this time-consuming? Yes. But you do not have to be in it alone. Tag Marketing leverages years of experience and cutting edge resources to create and mold a public image that will help establish your brand as an industry thought leader and lay the groundwork for converting more leads.
Effective Online Reputation Management Strategies
A positive online reputation is vital for business success. But how, exactly, do you establish and maintain one for your brand?
It starts with three building blocks: owned, earned and paid content.
Owned content is that which you create yourself. Your website, blog and social media channels are all examples of owned content. This building block is powerful because you have total control over it and can leverage it in any way you desire.
Getting positive earned content is equivalent to hitting the online reputation jackpot. It is content that you neither have to create yourself nor pay for and includes mentions of your brand, social shares, re-posts of your content and reviews.
Paid content is exactly as it sounds – content for which you pay. This is where display ads, pay-per-click ads, social media influencers, social media promotional content and content syndication come in.
All three of these building blocks should be incorporated into your online reputation management efforts. They all make a significant contribution to a thorough plan of attack. They must also be aligned with online search, which is the primary vehicle your online prospects have for finding your brand.
While your website is a good vehicle for building your online reputation, you should think beyond traditional website designs and build websites and social media profiles around specific products or services. This will expand your footprint and make your company more visible to target audiences, as well as portray your business as a big player in your industry.
In some industries, the people who work for your organization can have just as much of an influence on your online reputation as your products and services. That is why it is beneficial to develop and manage the social media presence for employees who are prominent in your business or work closely with customers.
Keeping your blog updated on a regular basis offers a great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in your industry and establish your business as a thought leader. Both are critical for engendering trust in your target audience. Never skimp on quality when it comes to blog content. You need to provide value to readers in order to portray your brand as capable of solving their problems.
Putting all of these strategies into action will play a key role in placing online collateral such as your website at the top of search results. It will also help protect your business from negative online reviews or attacks on social media.
These strategies are effective, but also time consuming. Fortunately, a skilled and experienced online reputation management agency can take care of it for you, leaving you free to focus on running your business.
Tag Marketing has been handling online reputation management for our clients for about 20 years. We keep our fingers on the pulse of the latest trends and work with advanced, automated tools to create and maintain a solid online reputation for each and every client. We then measure the results of our efforts and present you with the data so that you can see exactly how much ROI you are getting.
Strategies & Statistics Of Online Marketing Companies
There are a lot of marketing strategies competing for your time. It is important to allocate your resources to those that deliver. Online reputation management is one of the strategies that does.
The reason behind it? Peer-to-peer marketing has found new lifeblood on the Internet. People can now get opinions and recommendations about companies from virtually anyone, anywhere, any time. As a result, online reviews hold a great deal of power. In many cases, reviews are the first impression consumers get of your business.
Certain strategies can help you make your brand look good to the majority of people who come across information about it online.
Social media is a platform that can be your brand’s best friend or worst enemy, depending on how you leverage it. Interacting positively with audiences, providing customer service via social channels and maintaining an active presence are all good ways to improve your online image.
When it comes to reviews, a proactive approach is critical. This includes requesting reviews from customers via text message or email, automating the collection and promotion of reviews, responding in an empathetic manner to negative reviews and flag negative reviews that violate the sites on which they are posted.
You can also show off your positive reviews on your website using rich schema markup and a review feed. Handpicking the reviews ensures only the ones you want will be displayed. Doing this will make your star ratings visible on your website and in search results. The latter is important because review stars in search results can improve click-through rates. In turn, your website will be more visible than your competitors’ websites.
When you devote a webpage to showing off your positive reviews, you get to demonstrate your top notch products and services to visitors and get the opportunity to turn potentially negative reviews around. Visitors to the page are presented with the option to leave a review if they were satisfied or fill out a survey if they were dissatisfied. You can find out exactly what made them unhappy and attempt to resolve it to their satisfaction. No reviews are posted until you approve them.
Letting Tag Marketing handle your online reputation management means the best image of your brand will always be presented on your website and social media channels. We will interact with your audiences in a way that shows your business cares about the experience they have and is always happy to help. Additionally, we automate the collection of reviews and monitor negative feedback and reviews to mitigate and prevent fallout. You will know immediately if someone posts a negative review.
Online Reputation Management Services That Really Work
Why do small to mid-size businesses trust Tag Marketing with their online reputation management needs?
We possess about 20 years of experiencing establishing and maintaining a positive image online for our clients, as well as, our own. We accomplish this feat by using a number of different strategies, software and channels.
This includes sending review requests and feedback surveys via text message and email. These non-intrusive form of communication compels your customers to respond without interrupting their busy lives, which in return increases their chance that they will fill it out. We also monitor their visibility online and automate some of the process so your time is not eaten up by it.
When negative reviews come in, you will be alerted instantly so you can respond immediately to appease these customers, mitigate the damages, and prevent them for submitting the bad reviews in the first place. We provide a central inbox where you can easily access and respond to all of your reviews.
When you work with us your positive reviews, awards, community service and lovely team will be published across all of your social media channels to put your best face forward in a more personal way. Engaging with your audiences via social media in the perfect way to keep them happy and is a great customer service tool. Your website is another great tool to utilize by displaying the reviews you choose on your landing pages and have your star rating appear when users do a Google search.
Part of keeping customers and prospects happy is eliminating any confusion they may experience in finding your business and contact information. We ensure your business listings and profiles are consistent across the web.
If you like what you learned above, feel free to download any and all of our FREE marketing resources. They will further help you design and execute digital marketing strategies that build your brand, improve sales and create loyal customers all within your budget.
Online Reputation Management Tools
- BirdEye – Automates the process of collecting, monitoring and managing your reviews.
- Social Mention – Monitors four key social media metrics: strength, sentiment, passion, and reach.
- Buffer – Provides a central dashboard for managing multiple social media accounts.
- Google Alerts – Notifies you whenever your brand is mentioned online.
- Monster Insights – Connects your WordPress site with Google Analytics to generate valuable data.
- Browseo – Allows you to view your webpage without styles – just as search engines see it – and highlights the parts of pages that are relevant for SEO.
Important Statistics Regarding Your Online Reputation
Need proof that your online reputation matters? These business reputation statistics say it all:
- 77% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant.
- Going from a 3-star to a 5-star rating delivers businesses 25% more clicks from Google.
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business
- 37% of consumers go directly to a review site to find/read online reviews.
- 68% of consumers form an opinion after reading 1 to 6 reviews.
- 4 out of 5 people state that they have received advice via social media regarding what product or service to purchase.
- 41% of companies that experienced a negative reputation event reported loss of brand value and revenue.
- It takes 40 positive reviews to undo the damage of one negative review.
- 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.
- 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
- About 25% of a company’s market value comes directly from its reputation.
- 87% of executives say managing reputation risks is more important than managing strategic risks.
- 97% of consumers make a buying decision after reading online reviews.
- Higher ratings and reviews would motivate 86% of people to pay more for services from a company, according to Nusani.
- According to RevLocal, seeing that a business has less than a 3-star rating would dissuade 42% of consumers from doing business with it.
- Positive online reviews foster a deeper sense of trust in 74% of consumers.
- Nearly 95% of shoppers use online reviews to inform their purchasing decisions.
- Conversion rates can increase as much as 270% when online reviews are displayed.;
- Negative reviews have driven 94% of consumers away from a business, according to Review Trackers.
- Click-through rates can improve by as much as 35% with the presence of review stars in search engine results.
- Word-of-mouth marketing impressions can boost sales 5x more than paid media impressions, according to Invesp.
- Peer-to-peer is believed to be the most effective form of marketing by 64% of marketing executives.
- A satisfactory response from a brand will compel 45% of consumers to post about a positive interaction on social media.
- 49% of consumers require a business to have a 4-star rating before they will consider doing business with it.