A 7-Step Guide to Online Reputation Management
An astounding 95% of online shoppers read reviews before deciding to purchase. It goes without saying that companies lose sales when they aren’t on top of their online reputation management. The Internet landscape is radically different than it was a few years ago. Companies can no longer sit back and ignore bad reviews and still sell products.
Consumers are expressing their opinions in powerful ways. And companies must regularly interact with customers to stay relevant.
Whether your organization is big or small, people are talking about you. Do you know what they’re saying? If you don’t like it, do you know how to change it?
Companies that do not consider the thoughts, opinions, and voices of their customers won’t survive. Keep reading for an extensive guide to online reputation management.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Once companies started to realize that customer opinions drive sales, they needed a strategy for overcoming negative PR. In comes online reputation management (ORM). This is the process of creating strategies to influence the public perception of an entity. A successful ORM strategy will drive public opinion about a business or individual in a positive direction.
In simple terms, it’s the process of controlling how your brand is perceived by customers. If it’s negative, online reputation management consists of improving that perception.
No matter the size of your organization, you will benefit from understanding the ORM process.
How to Monitor Your Online Reputation Management
So, how do you identify what your customers are saying and take steps to correct negative reviews?
Here are 7 steps to get you started.
1. Find Out What People Are Saying
You can’t manage a bad reputation if you are unaware that there is one.
So, what are customers saying about your brand? Managing your reputation is more than reacting to reviews. You need to decide whether to respond at all – and when.
At times, comments don’t need a reaction. At other times, not responding could cost you your business.
In order to determine what’s appropriate, you need to monitor your public reputation regularly. Knowing your reputation in and out prepares you for dealing with specific events in the future.
This starts with social media monitoring. Monitoring social media is done manually (by searching through social platforms) or professionally (with tools designed to comb platforms for mentions).
2. Respond Carefully
Improving your online reputation begins with a well-thought-out response plan. And, it’s even easier if you have the right reputation management tool.
Should it be a negative review, comment, or tweet pops up about your company, it’s essential to know the steps you will take next. Don’t respond – in the moment -but know the answers to the following questions:
- Who is responsible for monitoring your company’s mentions?
- Who will determine which comments warrant a response?
- Who decides which position your company will take regarding the issue(s) in question?
- Who will respond?
The answers to this question are easy if you are the one monitoring your online presence. If your team is larger than that, however, you need to know the answers to make the process clear.
3. Handle Negativity with Grace
When you receive a negative review or an unfairly rude tweet, it’s too easy to respond rapidly or ignore it.
If you ignore it, it won’t go away. Content posted online can stick around for a long time. Responding in a tactful way gives you a chance to recover.
Most customers agree that the right approach to a negative review is polite, professional, and friendly. And your tone is also important. Keep calm and stick to the issue at hand.
It’s important that your customers know you’re listening. Make them see that you’re taking their review seriously. If you play the right cards, you can turn these opportunities into positive interactions.
4. Leverage the Complaints
The age-old saying is, “the customer is always right.”
Of course, this isn’t always true, but there is a lesson to be learned from the sentiment.
Even if you don’t agree with the bad review, you should closely examine what the customer is saying. What made them feel so strongly that they shared their negative experiences on the internet? What could I have done to change their outlook?
Your brand is only as good as people say it is. If there are people that think it’s suffering for any reason, it probably is.
Treat every negative comment as a learning experience and grow while building your online reputation.
5. Encourage Kind Reviews
Especially do not ignore the good reviews, either! It’s in your best interest to respond to positive reviews. It makes customers who write reviews feel good, but it also encourages others to share their positive experiences, too.
It’s possible to generate more positive buzz by monitoring your online profiles. Share content and ask for feedback. Ask customers to leave positive reviews if they have a good experience.
If you’re confident in your brand and products, you should feel confident asking customers how they feel. Don’t be shy – you’re likely to get more positive reviews if you actively pursue them.
6. Follow Through
Don’t forget to follow through with promises you make in responses to positive and negative reviews.
If you said you’d contact a customer for more information, give them a call. If you offer a discount for bad service, make sure they received it.
You are making offers online, which is considered in public. If you don’t follow through and a customer leaves a second poor review, that is devastating to your business. People are watching and they want to know how the story ends.
Don’t think of this as a chore. Consider it an opportunity to inspire real change within your organization. It will only serve you positively in the long run.
7. Measure Progress
Speaking of the long run, don’t forget to measure your progress. The goal of online reputation management is to improve your reputation. You can’t improve it without tracking your progress.
Use monitoring tools to gather analytics. Check your scores on review sites to double-check that you’re moving in the right direction.
Be proud of the work you’ve done. Celebrate with the data to prove it.
Take Control of Your Online Reputation Management
Your online reputation doesn’t come out of thin air. It is built by customers who are talking about your brand. By controlling your reputation from the beginning, you can make sure your company is represented in the right light.
Make online reputation management a key focus of your business. Get ahead by investing in the right reputation management tool, then start planning ahead by setting goals and committing to drive success.
If you have questions, we’d love to help. Request a free consultation today so we can empower you with what you need to get ahead and on top of your online reputation. It matters!
Also, consider our free Local SEO Health Audit report as it includes a reputation management assessment amongst other beneficial data to help you optimize your domain to help your business grow!