Managing your online reputation can help you build trust and loyalty with customers

 

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Where’s the first place you turn when trying to learn more about a business? If you answered ‘online’, you’re not alone.

 

97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017.[1]

 

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?

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Online reviews can play a crucial role in the success of your business. 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 you a try.

Instead of visiting your website, consumers are more and more choosing review sites and social media reviews as their go-to places to make a purchasing decision. In fact, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.[1]

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.

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Don’t see a knowledge panel? Claim your business on Google now by following our simple step by step instructions.

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.

You can learn more about how to keep up to date about what customers are saying about you online in our previous blog.

 

What do I do if I have bad online reviews?

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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. 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see any negative opinions on the page.[2]

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 how to handle online feedback, read our digital marketing blog.

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 7 reviews before trusting a business.[1] 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.

 

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. Read more here.

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.

 

Read more:

How to build an email list: 12 simple ways to boost subscribers

Google Analytics: a guide for small businesses

4 social media mistakes you’re probably making (and how to fix them)

 

Sources:

  1. BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey
  2. Econsultancy.com