In business as in life, having a positive reputation is often the key to success.
Recent online studies have shown that more than 40% of online businesses monitor their brand and its reviews daily. Many, in fact, do it hourly.
Depending on the size and scope of your business and what your branding goals are, you probably should be according to many digital agencies in Los Angeles.
This is the strategy we all know as Online Reputation Management (ORM).
At least 97% of business owners admit that online reputation management is vitally important to their business.
ORM done properly can accomplish several vital business goals including:
- Building a Better Brand Image
- Increasing Consumer Confidence
- Improving Online Visibility
- Boosting Sales
Let’s take a closer look at how an effective ORM strategy works.
What Makes ORM Necessary?
Over 90% of people admit that they seek out online reviews before buying a product or service.
Even more amazing is that 84% trust online reviews as much – or even more than a personal recommendation.
So, clearly online reviews matter — a lot!
ORM is a powerful strategy that every business should employ in one form or another to:
- Boost positive reviews
- Mitigate negative reviews
- Improve customer engagement with your business online
It is becoming increasingly important to manage your online reputation to remain competitive, grow relationships and survive as a company. It can increase your credibility and make people trust you. Also, this reputation can increase sales and improve your returns.
So How Do I Protect and Improve My Reputation?
Increase Your Visibility
Your business’ visibility can be increased by having active social media accounts.
This not only includes the usual suspects like Facebook or Twitter, but especially an active and updated Google My Business (GMB) page and Yelp account.
And you should be aware of the other major online digital directories that will help boost your business through online word-of-mouth.
Engaging and relevant content is also key.
Create a company blog that can foster interaction with past or potential new clients.
People need to see that you are an active business that thrives on good customer interaction.
Encourage Reviews and Feedback
Online reviews are vital to the brand and visibility of your company. Always encourage customers to write reviews or provide feedback on your goods and services.
This will help you improve your strengths, but also make your weaknesses opportunities to improve and grow.
Welcome all feedback – good and bad. But more importantly, interact with reviewers and respond to all reviews with a kind word of thanks or an acknowledgement of a negative review with the promise for improvement.
Provide Excellent Customer Service and Response Plan
Excellent customer service is one way to avoid negative reviews online.
Negative reviews are inevitable because you can’t please everyone. But, your company needs to have someone whose job it is to monitor and know when and, most importantly, how to respond to negative reviews.
Responding to reviews must be polite and professional. It can help you regain the customers’ trust and entice them to purchase more after experiencing positive customer service.
Conduct an Online Reputation Audit
Negative reviews are not something you can respond to if you don’t know if they exist. Negative blog posts can affect your customers’ perceptions. To avoid this, auditing is a must to verify that these posts and reviews are helpful or not.
You can either do an audit manually to find out if they are there, dig through search results, pictures and archived social media postings. Combining manual and automatic auditing with the help of an online reputation management firm is often the best option.
Which Places Should I Focus Most of My Attention?
Your website is your primary opportunity to be present online. Your social media profiles are more easily accessible and visited by consumers, who feel free and confident to write reviews.
Social media can be an excellent way for businesses to reach broader audiences. But it can also be the source of negative reviews. That’s why businesses frequently monitor online reviews about their brand on social media.
Therefore, you must monitor your social media accounts. It is a public place where other readers might believe false information about you and your business without proper verification and validation.
How Can Effective ORM Affect Your Business’ Bottom Line?
Think of reviews and onsite feedback as the best form of constructive criticism that can help improve your business.
By maintaining an active ORM strategy, you’re not only responding to positive and negative reviews, but you’re also learning more about your target audience.
What were they looking for in your product or service?
And were these expectations met or not?
Using this feedback may help you pivot your business focus. Discovering your shortcomings allows you to improve your product or presentation.
Good business is always about not only protecting – but improving – your brand on a quarterly, monthly, heck, even daily basis.
How Do I Best Use Reviews to My Advantage?
Before using reviews to your benefit, begin by focusing on ways to increase good reviews. Positive reviews from satisfied customers have a significant impact on your business’s brand and profit.
Customers must provide feedback consistently to create a balanced view of customer sentiment. You can use a review request system to reach all customers.
It is possible to ask your customers for their honest opinions right after a visit, or you can send an email request. You must make sure to have a friendly and easy-to-understand template so that the customer will find it easier to answer.
“Stay in touch with your customer base and encourage them to post positive reviews on the many platforms where your business appears,” explains Brad Weber, CEO of the Avita Group, a digital marketing agency in Los Angeles.
Reinforcing Positive Reviews
Positive reviews can be displayed on your website or social media. To make use of these reviews, you can place them as starters on the landing page of your website and your social media accounts.
They will welcome your customers and possible customers as they visit your sites.
Testimonials are also a powerful aspect of ORM. More than 70% of respondents have admitted that they not only read, but seek out testimonials on a website.
Placing several positive testimonials prominently on your website (preferably placed high up on the home page), can immediately instill a positive vibe to new, potential customers or clients.
Counteracting Negative Reviews
Negative reviews can be unfair. When you become aware of them, make sure you don’t ignore them or erase them. Encourage your team members to take that feedback and improve the service of your business.
As mentioned above, assign someone to monitor the reviews and respond professionally to their comments. It will show that you care about the feedback.
And caring about your business also shows a determination to please and, hopefully, exceed your customer’s expectations. In doing so, your business will naturally grow when your intent is to continually improve.