Managing your online reputation can help you build trust and loyalty with customers
Where’s the first place you turn when trying to learn more about a business? If you answered ‘online’, you’re not alone.
93% of U.S. consumers searched online for a local business in 2020.
From these, 34% searched every day, while 73% searched weekly. 
It’s easier than ever to find everything you need to know about a company online—and it’s also easier than ever for customers to go online and tell the world about their good and bad experiences.
What is online reputation?
Your online reputation is how others see you when they search for you online. It’s built from the information you share, for example on your website, as well as what others say about you online on social media and review sites.
Why is online reputation important?
As a business owner, online reviews can play a crucial role in the success of your company. When searching for a business online, one of the first things you’re likely to come across are reviews left by customers. Potential customers are looking at these reviews every day to decide whether or not to give your business a try.
Instead of visiting your website, consumers are most often choosing online review sites and social media reviews as their go-to places to make a purchasing decision. In fact, 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. 
When visiting a different city, how many of us have pulled out our phones to look for nearby restaurants? If a customer pulls up Google Maps to get directions to your business, the first thing they’ll see is your rating there.
How to see your online reputation
It’s easy to perform a quick online reputation audit. Simply search for your business and see what comes up. A Google search should bring up an information box (called a knowledge panel) about your business, where you can see more information, contact details and reviews.
Don’t see a knowledge panel? Learn how to claim or reclaim your Google My Business Listing on our recent blog.
Next, look at the organic search results (anything that doesn’t say ‘Ad’ next to it) to see what shows up for your business. The chances are, you’ll see links about your business from social platforms and review sites like Facebook and Yelp. Click through to these pages and see how your ratings and reviews shape up.
What do I do if I have bad online reviews?
It’s important to remember that the foundation of a good online reputation lies in providing great service. Some bad reviews may be bogus, but you should study every review to see if there are ways your business can improve.
Don’t worry too much if not every review is five-star. 82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews because a near-perfect rating makes consumers suspect censorship or fakes if there are too many positive reviews. 
Make sure you respond to every review—both positive and negative—in a professional, courteous manner. When complaints are genuine, apologize for your failings and give assurances you’ll do better in future. For more advice on reputation management, explore our step-by-step guide to building your digital marketing plan.
A word of advice: getting Google and other platforms to delete (even fake) reviews is extremely difficult, and paying for reviews shouldn’t be an option. By the same token, never try to damage the reputation of your competitors by leaving bad reviews for them.
How can online reputation management help?
So we know that bad reviews are bad news—but did you know that a lack of reviews can also hurt your business?
Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.  So if you don’t have many reviews out there to persuade customers to try you, they might instead choose your competitor who has more reviews—even if their average rating is lower.
Looking for support in managing your online reputation?
Our online reputation management service may be the answer you need! Our approach consists of thorough online reputation analysis, followed by a strategically targeted campaign that generates genuine customer reviews where you need them most.
Whether you have average reviews, bad reviews, or no reviews—we can help! Ask us to see the results of the successful online reputation campaigns we’ve already performed for our clients.
Ready to get started?
Contact us today to learn more.