If you’re not monitoring your online reputation for your business in this digital age, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
97% of business owners see this as a vital factor to a strong and successful business. If you haven’t been doing this for your operations, this article can put you up to speed.
We will be discussing what online reputation monitoring is, why it’s important, and why you should manage and improve it. So, ready your pen and papers, and let’s get right to it.
What is online reputation monitoring?
Before we go any further in this discussion, let’s first briefly discuss what is online reputation.
Online reputation is a term that refers to your business’s reputation in the online world. It refers to what other people think about your business. It’s the reviews that they leave on websites and the comments they share publicly.
For most businesses, online reputation is everything. Business owners know that it can either make or break their company. They know the magnitude of what one bad review can bring and the opportunities that a positive review can do. That is why online reputation is an important part of your company’s success.
Online reputation monitoring on the other hand is simply what it states – you monitor what people have to say about your business. This too is important because it allows you to deal with negative reviews before they get out of hand.
Think of it as a virus in your body, the earlier you find out about it, the better. Why? Because you can treat it immediately before it gets worse and affect you for good.
The same logic applies to monitoring online reputation. The earlier you see the complaints and negative reviews of your customers, the better. Because you can immediately attend to that problem before it affects your operations and how other people perceive your business.
No matter the size of the business, online reputation monitoring is beneficial. Big brands and companies still invest time and money in doing this. And even small to medium-sized businesses can also get a boost from it.
Now that you understand what online reputation is and why it’s needed to be monitored, it’s time to discuss how it’s done.
How is online reputation monitoring done?
To help you get started, here are 3 simple ways to monitor your online reputation:
1. Check your social media
Checking your social media is one of the easiest ways to know what people are saying about your business. If they have a complaint, they’ll make sure to tag your account for you to do something about it. The same goes for when they’ll praise you. They’ll mention your account to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing.
2. Go to review sites
Even if you didn’t list your business on review sites, people can simply add your business to it. That’s why you need to monitor them to see if there are reviews that you can handle immediately.
Sometimes business owners tend to overlook review sites and miss out on an opportunity to improve on bad ones and capitalize on good ones.
3. Use online monitoring tools
Use online reputation management tools to monitor what people are saying about you online. These tools gather reviews, tweets, posts, and other published content about your business. They can process those things and see whether the sentiment about your brand is positive or negative.
5 reasons why you should monitor your online reputation
If you’re doubting whether online reputation monitoring is worth the time, here are some of the advantages of doing it:
1. It increases credibility
Whether you’re an Amazon seller that sells everything or a niche store that sells lingerie, dog food, or sportswear, you’ll most definitely need some reviews to increase your credibility.
When your business gets a lot of reviews, it means that several people have tried and tested your products or services. This checks a box on skeptic customers on whether your business is real or not. And if you have a working strategy in place to receive a ton of good reviews, this increases the confidence of potential buyers that you can be trusted.
However, no matter the size of a business, no one is spared from a negative review. Remember that customers are more enthusiastic to write a bad review than to write a good one. This is why online reputation monitoring is important so your business can immediately attend to it.
2. Good reviews affect SEO rankings
We all want our business displayed on the top page of search engines. And by monitoring your online reputation, you have a better shot of doing so.
Google’s SEO algorithm likes to search for websites that have expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. In fact, these were the factors that Google looked for when determining page rankings in 2018 and possibly until now.
Google recognizes when customers talk about your business and leave good reviews. But of course, having lots of reviews isn’t enough to land you on the first page. You also need to think about getting great backlinks, page speed, SEO-optimized content, and other SEO-related factors.
Take this post from Side Hustle Nation as an example – it shows up on the first page of Google when you search for “best side hustles”. Aside from having lots of feedback from its readers, the writer has also incorporated all the factors above.
3. It gives your business insights
In this fast-changing business landscape, companies that are quick to adapt and make changes will survive longer. Looking at your business reviews can exactly do that for you. It gives you insights into how you can improve your business and what you can continue to keep doing.
4. It improves customer experience
In business, it’s not always about the process of converting prospects to customers. Spending time on how you can make their experience better is as important as well.
A study done by American Express on customer service revealed that customers are willing to spend more money with companies that deliver great service.
Remember that the primary purpose of wanting a review from a customer is so that you can get insights on how you can treat them better. The more reviews you get, the more information you have on how you can improve customer experience.
5. It increases sales
Almost 9 out of 10 consumers will always check for a review first before buying a product or availing of a service. With this statistic, it’s evident that reviews play a big part in the success of your business. It’s a factor that’s considered by many consumers.
Reviews don’t just benefit business owners on how they can improve customer experience but it also increases trust for potential customers. A trusted brand creates loyal followers and makes it easier for new customers to try out the business.
Online reputation management made simple
Responding to reviews and comments about your business is as important as monitoring them. This is where online reputation management comes in. When you do this, it shows your customers that you genuinely care about them and their experience is your top priority.
In the world of managing online reputation, remember that you have no control over other people’s reviews but you can control how you respond.
A) How to respond to positive reviews
Responding to positive reviews is easy. People who leave and share good reviews are more likely to be repeat customers. Even though you’ve received a positive review, it’s still recommended to respond and thank them for writing their opinion.
Positive reviews bring you a lot of opportunities. These are what potential customers are looking for when searching for your business. They are doubt killers and act as a social trust for others to see.
When responding to them, you can say thank you, return the compliment, or ask them to see you again. Remember when you respond, it’s better if it’s personalized. It’s one sure way to make online interaction as real as possible.
B) How to respond to negative reviews
Reading negative reviews can sometimes hurt your feelings as a business owner. It can feel like you’re being attacked publicly. And it’s normal to feel that way because you’ve invested time and money in your business.
But at all times you need to be as professional as possible. Rather than being defensive, take this opportunity to improve your service and show that your customers matter.
Remember that people will see how you respond to these reviews, so it’s important to respond professionally and calmly.
You can respond by thanking them for taking the time to post a review, how you’re sorry for their experience, address the issue and mention how you can make up to them.
A perfect example of this would be Preply’s response to a bad review:
And here is Preply’s response:
Before Preply replied to the client, the company respectfully addressed the bigger issue: the passing of a loved one. After paying respect and saying their condolences, they continued to resolve the problem.
They weren’t enraged with the one-star or with the title of the review. Preply has successfully addressed the complaint by being calm and professional.
They even added the line “We’ll make sure to solve everything” to assure the complainant that everything will be corrected.
More examples of businesses handling reviews you can learn from:
This one’s a response to a review of a certain dish lacking some taste. Notice how the restaurant owner thanked the customer and explained how that review is important to them.
The owner addressed the issue by saying that he’ll pass it to the kitchen staff and ended the response on a positive note.
An airline customer tweeted about the TV in his seat not working. He then added that every TV in the plane worked apart from his. Rather than completely ignoring this plea, JetBlue was quick to respond. The airline gave the customer a credit for the non-working TV. This shows us to always go the extra mile for our customers.
A heartwarming review with a great response from the owner. She thanked the customer for the kind review and added a line on how she values her relationship with her – a very genuine and beautiful response.
Sometimes you don’t have to manage your online reputation for the sake of responding to reviews and comments. You can also use it to simply engage with your customers. And this is a perfect example of monitoring online reputation.
Observe how in the first tweet, Best Buy wasn’t even tagged but they still responded to it. They even added a list of their products that were on sale. The act wasn’t needed but it did help their customer.
Starbucks is known for how lively their staffs are. Starbucks lovers know that it’s a whole new atmosphere and vibe when you walk in its vicinity.
It’s evident in Mike Johnson’s tweet wherein he mentions that the workers there give out nice compliments to their customers – they’re welcoming that way.
And of course, Starbucks didn’t let this opportunity pass by. They retweeted it with a message complimenting Mike’s sister again – a playful yet sweet response.
How to build a strong online reputation
Up until this point, we’ve discussed how to monitor and manage your online reputation, but how does a business build this?
There are a lot of ways to build a strong and clean reputation in the digital space. Take note that this isn’t a one-time thing, you need to be proactive to build this.
Let’s break it down.
1. Ask customers to review your service and products
This is a strategy used by many businesses to start building their online reputation. They ask their recent and past customers to leave a review for them. The “ask” can happen right after the purchase or when the customer visits again.
A very effective strategy used by others would be incentivizing the customers if they leave a review or fill out a feedback form. The incentive can come in the form of a small discount or a coupon for example.
2. Read and reply to all reviews whether good or bad
Some businesses take positive reviews for granted. They think that they’ve done their job once they get a good review. But for business owners who take online reputation seriously, they see it as an opportunity.
This scenario usually happens in the foodservice industry because this is where most reviews happen. Take this meal prep company for example:
When you receive high praises like 5-star reviews and positive comments, it’s an opportunity to show gratitude to your customers.
Building relationships with your clients especially in niche industries like meal planning services is important because it can sometimes be the deciding factor on whether customers choose you over your competitors.
3. Follow up on your promises
Whenever a customer complains and you resolve it by making up to them, do everything you can to fulfill that promise. By doing that simple gesture, you can turn an angry customer into a repeat client.
Plus, following up on your promises doesn’t just convert a client, it also shows proof that you’re serious and committed to treating your customers right. This act shows that your business is indeed trustworthy.
4. Be more visible online
When you start building your online reputation, you need to be active. Create websites, produce blog posts, be active on social media, engage and help people. Having little to no online presence in today’s age can be detrimental to a business’s success.
When customers try to reach out to you, the first thing they do is look for you online. And if you don’t have an online presence, it’s easy for your competitors to snag a potential client of yours.
5. Display your reviews
Putting those reviews on the home page of your website can be extremely beneficial. It makes your customers immediately see all the good words that previous customers had to say about your business. By doing this you immediately increase your business’s trust level.
Take a look at Finli’s website for example. Finli is a financial service company that provides software that helps simplify payments, invoices, booking, and many more.
They have provided a slider on their homepage to display what their clients have to say about working with them. This simple feature can influence a decision on whether a potential client will avail of their service.
Displaying the reviews and establishing trust right away is particularly important especially in the case of Finli because they are in the field of handling payment and transactions – an industry that’s keen on trust.
6. Invest time in your online reputation
Monitoring your online reputation might be a lot of work but as you’ve just read all the facts above, you know how important it is for your business.
If you can’t do it yourself, make someone in your team do it. If you guys are a busy group, you can hire freelancers to do this specific job.
One of the bigger goals of monitoring and managing online reputation is to close the gap between how you perceive your business versus how other people see it.
And by implementing the steps above, you have all the opportunity to close the gap between those two perceptions.
With the majority of consumers spending most of their time surfing the internet, online reputation becomes more and more important. Any business that doesn’t participate in monitoring and improving its digital presence is clearly operating at a disadvantage.
So, if you want your business to operate to its full potential and tap a bigger audience, online reputation monitoring is a must.
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