Gone are the days when reputation and PR management are solely a concern for large corporations. With increased access and use of the internet, small businesses are forced to establish an online presence to attract potential clients and get feedback on their products and services. Reputation management may seem easy; set up a website, create official social media pages for your business, post a few times, and your all set. However, the truth is that there is so much more to it.
Have You Ever Googled Your Business? The truth is most of us have. When we do, we can potentially come across alarming information that does not positively reflect our businesses. This is a common scenario that many businesses have found themselves in. As much as you control your website and your social media pages, there is a lot of information about you that you have no control over. Reviews, business listings, and images of your enterprise can appear from anywhere. This information can potentially damage your reputation as a business and drive away potential clients.
Existing and potential clients will almost always google a company to ensure that they are dealing with a respectable and reputable business. Statistics show that the average consumer spends approximately 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before deciding on a company. What reviews say about your company will determine the clients you attract and the success of your business. With search engines showing everything, there is nowhere to hide.
Bad reviews and misleading information can hurt your business. It is advisable to hire professionals that offer Online Reputation Management for businesses of any industry and size to help you discover how to effectively set up and manage your brand’s online reputation and keep it squeaky clean.
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is a concept aimed at creating and cultivating a positive online perception of a business, person, or brand. It involves addressing content and customer feedback and monitoring a brand’s reputation using strategies and techniques that solve and prevent issues that could damage a brand’s reputation.
The purpose of online reputation management is to build a digital public image, counteract misleading information, and create balance so that anyone searching for your business finds positive reviews and customer experiences that paint your company in the best light.
Why is Online Reputation Management Important for a Business?
Every day, people review businesses through ratings, blogs, social media posts, and comments. Hence, what people say about your business is valuable, not only to you but to potential clients.
Here are some reasons why ORM is important for your business:
1. Your Online Presence is Everywhere
There are numerous online platforms for you – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, Quora. The list is endless. Your customers could easily find information about your company from these platforms. Monitoring your online reputation enables you to track your clients’ conversations, comments, feelings, and thoughts about your business.
2. Reviews Impact People’s Buying Decisions
Not managing your online presence can cost you a customer or two. A recent survey showed that 81% of people do some online research before making a purchase, and another 61% of them read product reviews before making a purchase. This means that your online presence influences their final purchasing decision.
3. Responding to Reviews is Essential
As a business, you should respond to positive and negative comments, recommendations, and mentions positively and professionally. How you respond to them communicates a lot about your company. Engaging with your clients shows that you care and provides you the opportunity to rectify and manage situations that may spiral and damage your reputation.
4. It is the Online Version of Word-of-Mouth
Surveys have shown that 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as they make personal recommendations. Good online reviews will attract clients, while negative comments about your business will drive them away. In a world where information travels at the speed of light, keeping a close eye on your social media channels and online comments about your company is vital to your reputation.
5. You can’t Delete Negative Reviews
The internet never forgets. Although what people are saying about your business might stay on the internet, you have a chance to change a negative opinion about your business. Using an appropriate response can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one. A survey shows that 70% of complaining clients will do business with a company if they get a satisfying response.
6. You can Get Valuable Feedback
You not only need to manage your online reputation but also monitor it. Monitoring your online presence helps you collect insights on feedback about your products and services and the level of customer satisfaction.
7. You Get Better SEO Rankings
Online reviews have a huge impact on SEO. This is because SEO algorithms know that customers place a lot of stress on a company’s reviews before purchasing decisions. Businesses that have good online reviews tend to have increased SEO visibility.
Just like in real life, it is not easy to keep track of your online reputation. While you can easily shrug off negative comments and move on in real life, you cannot do the same for online reviews. Whether it is from unsatisfied clients, dodgy competitors, or even spam content, negative reviews and comments about your company have the potential of damaging your reputation and driving clients away.To get the best out of your online presence, you need to hire professional online review management services.