Online Reputation Management
A single negative review from a customer on your Google My Business profile or an unsavory story peddled against your brand can draw unwanted public attention to your business and discredit your brand if the right steps are not taken to address the issue on time.
This is where proactive online reputation management comes in.
By actively managing your reputation, you can eliminate or minimize negative customer feedback and keep your online reputation as stainless as possible.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about online reputation management, what it is, why it’s important and the strategies you can adopt to keep your online reputation tight in every situation.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Negative comments or feedback are inevitable, but you can neutralize their impact by responding fast and reshaping the narrative in your favor without appearing defensive. For example, if a toxic competitor published damaging content about your product, service or bus, you may issue a press release addressing the issue.
What Impact Does Reputation Management Have On Your Business?
According to Brightlocal, 3 in 4 shoppers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Another study reveals that 49% of consumers need at least a 4-star rating before choosing to use a business.
Your online reputation determines how your existing and prospective customers perceive your business when they find you online. An effective online reputation management in the form of positive rating ensures that your business is projected in the positive light.
For example, using various ethical tactics, you can remove negative reviews from your Google My Business listing, while encouraging happy customers to leave positive reviews. Likewise, you can push harmful content further down Google search engine result pages (SERPs) while pushing your best content to the top spot of #1 page on the search engine.
What Are The Channels For Managing Online Reputation?
There are various platforms you can use to control the narrative about your product or service. Some of the channels include:
Paid media refers to all marketing platforms that require payments to promote your product, service or business on search engines, social media and external websites. For example, you can run an ad or Google or Facebook, or promote a sponsored post on Instagram to project your business’s brand, while building relationships with partners and customers.
Unlike paid media, earned media are free coverage of your businesses on other websites, blogs or industry-based publications. Earned media often comes when your business achieves a notable feat or creates a piece of valuable content that is worth sharing, reviewing or reposting. A twitter post from an influencer in your niche could count as earned media if the tweet was done in recognition of the great things your company is doing rather than when they are paid for it.
According to Pew Research Center in a post titled Social Media Use In 2021, 72% of Americans say they use social media sites. It was found that a majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, while use of Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok is common among adults under 30.
The figures point clearly to the prevalence of social media in today’s world and in today’s business environment, especially. With your Facebook or Twitter account, you can easily engage your target audience with interesting content, respond to customers’ complaints and interact with stakeholders.
Your owned properties include your business website, blog and other digital assets you have control over. These platforms allow you to provide accurate information about your business to customers while building a positive online presence. For example, you can include a section for customers’ reviews, including video testimonials showing how your product or service helped customers to solve specific problems.
Online Reputation Management Strategies For Your Business
1. Respond Promptly and With Empathy.
Sometimes, a proactive approach such as responding fast to a customer’s complaint over late delivery or poor customer service can prevent negative comments or reviews.
According to a Clutch survey, 83% of people expect responses to social media comments in a day or less. Waiting too long before replying to a message either sent privately to you or posted on your page can spawn frustration and cause the affected customers to resort to posting negative feedback.
BUT it’s not just enough to respond with promptness. Response should be provided in an empathic way, showing that you genuinely understand their disappointment and you are sorry about their experience.
Also, let the customers know that you’re committed to solving their problems and are there to help them. You should express your desire to fix the problems and, if possible, provide an easy means through which they can directly contact you so their issue could be solved as quickly as possible.
Replying quickly to messages, complaints or enquiry with palpable empathy is a simple but effective way to satisfy customers and build a positive online reputation.
2. Don’t Ignore Negative Feedbacks
Oftentimes, businesses face the dilemma between whether they should reply to a negative feedback or simply ignore it.
In most cases, the latter option appears to be more tempting and appealing. This is because many businesses believe that replying to negative feedback does no good, but rather draws unnecessary attention to the customer’s feedback.
In fact, according to Womply, 75% of businesses don’t even respond to their reviews. However, a study by Chatmeter reveals that not replying to customer feedback puts companies at risk of increasing churn by 15%.
Negative feedback can be hurtful, but ignoring them isn’t the best way to handle the situation. A study published on Brightlocal shows that of the 82% of consumers who read online reviews, 97% also read the business responses.
Replying to negative feedback or comments is a good way to show the customer that even if they have issues with your offering, you remain committed to taking care of it. This approach not only portrays you as a responsible company, but also sends a signal to other customers that you care about customer satisfaction.
Conversely, not responding to the comment or feedback can come across as a confirmation of what the customer said about you. You can turn the situation around by replying with kind, cautious and empathetic words.
Remember that a business that replies to at least 25% of their online customer review, on average, earns 35% more revenue according to this study.
3. Remove Negative Reviews from Google
No matter how long they have been there, bad reviews can have a negative impact on your reputation and badly affect your bottom line. According to PowerofReviews, 82% of customers actively seek out negative reviews when at the point of making a buying decision.
Also, a Brightlocal study shows that negative reviews can stop an average of 40% of buyers from wanting to buy from a business.
Effective online reputation management is about managing how people perceive your business. This also includes encouraging customers to leave reviews and removal of negative reviews that can have harmful impact on your business.
But the question is, is it possible to remove bad reviews from Google?
The answer is YES. You can delete Google reviews, although this can be a little tricky given that Google is explicit on situations where removal of reviews can be allowed. Google only allows you to remove reviews that violate their policy.
Some of the types of content Google disagrees with include the following:
- Spam and fake content
- Restricted content
- Illegal content
- Terrorist content
- Sexually explicit content
- Dangerous & derogatory content
Reviews that violate any of the Google review policies can be removed from Business Profiles on Google.
So, how do you remove bad Google reviews?
If you flag any review, check the Google policy to be 100% certain that the review’s content and intentions are prohibited by Google’s inappropriate content policy. Once you confirm that, go ahead and flag the review in your account.
You can learn about how to proceed with flagging and requesting the removal of an inappropriate review from Google by following this guide.
Alternatively, you can ask a customer to edit or delete a negative Google review on your Google Business Profile. Although this isn’t an easy thing to do, it’s certainly not out of options. The success of this option boils down to your approach and how fast you respond to the review. If you’re successful, the customer will remove the negative review and may possibly be converted from an unhappy customer to an ardent promoter of your brand.
4. Stay on Top of Your Search Results.
Search engine optimization (SEO) does more than brand visibility, it plays a crucial role in building a strong and positive reputation for your business online.
By implementing a combination of on-page and on-page SEO, you can increase the ranking of your website and determine which information shows up when customers are searching for the kind of product or service you offer. Likewise, you can push harmful content further down Google search engine result pages (SERPs), ensuring that only the positive information shows up on the first page of Google.
According to multiple studies, the #1 page of Google receives up to 75% of search traffic clicks and has been predicted to be as high as 95% in recent years. The second page only receives 6% of all website clicks.
You can run a simple Google search for your brand name or selected keywords to see what information shows up to customers when they come across you on the internet.
Although the full Google ranking algorithms are not known, there are several ways to improve your ranking on SERPs. These include backlinks, reviews, internal linking, and more.
5. Automate Online Reputation Management.
Keeping up with your brand mentions across digital platforms manually can be extremely tricky. You can save time and effort by using tools or software that automate online reputation management tasks.
One of the easiest ways to keep tabs on mentions is by using a monetary tool like Google Alerts. This tool is very easy to use: simply enter your brand name in the tool and you will receive notifications of media and news stories that mention your company. This way, you can have full knowledge of what people are saying about and quickly respond to comments that can potentially harm your online reputation.
Brand24 is another great tool that offers you the necessary information you need, such as when and where you are mentioned. Not only does it crawl news stories, it monitors social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for brand mentions. It can also perform what is known as “sentiment analysis” by looking out for emotion words in reviews to let you know what people think and feel about your product or service.
What Are Best Tools For Online Reputation Management?
There are many tools out there that claim to help you manage your online reputation, but only few of them actually deliver on their promises.
One of the best online reputation management tools currently on the market is Zurvia. Zurvia is a reliable solution that handles the most important aspect of online reputation management which is review management.
According to Trustpilot, nearly nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a purchase. Online reviews are not only a necessity for online sales, they help you rank higher on Google, convert more customers and pull market shares from your competitors.
Zurvia allows you to request reviews from your past customers with the aim of helping you to convert as many of those requests into online reviews as possible. Zurvia is very easy to use. You can submit a request for reviews in many different ways and can even automate the process for ease. To request a review, simply open your Zurvia mobile app, type in the name of the target customer and cell number and send. Zurvia is simple, fast and affordable. To learn more about Zurvia, click here.