Reputation management is the practice of paying attention to, improving, and influencing public perceptions of your brand and business. It’s critically important in today’s competitive landscape to monitor what’s being said about your business and find ways to nudge the conversation in a positive direction.
Many perceptions are formed online when people search for products and services. They may run across your business in search results and see your business profile, customer reviews, star ratings, and other information that creates an impression and helps them make a decision on whether to spend their money with you. News stories, social media, videos, and participation in local community events can also shape public perception of your business.
Last but not least, perceptions are created and shaped every time you have a customer interaction, which is why reputation management goes hand-in-hand with the customer experience. If your customers routinely have a great experience or a poor one, your reputation tends to reflect it. And since 32% of customers will walk away from a brand or business — even one they love — after a single bad experience, your business reputation is always on the line.
Today, managing your online reputation is a top priority since so many people regularly search online for businesses. Online reputation management focuses on the digital channels where your business or brand has a presence, gets mentioned, or is an active part of the conversation, including:
- Your website, blog, and social media accounts
- Third-party review sites, business listings, and discussion forums
- Social media accounts owned or managed by other businesses or individuals
The goal of reputation management
The goal of reputation management is to understand how customers and prospects perceive your brand and be able to take strategic steps to improve your brand’s image. In other words, reputation management ensures that wherever your brand or business has a presence — online, in-store, and in the community — you’re able to lead with your strengths, convey the right messages, and demonstrate your company’s values.
Making it clear what your business is about inspires new customers to take a chance and reiterates to existing customers that they’ve made a great choice in buying from you. For local businesses, this is especially important, since almost everyone reads online reviews when searching for local businesses — especially on Google.
By managing your online reputation effectively, you can:
- Foster trust and credibility
- Generate more leads
- Earn more customers and sales
- Deepen customer loyalty
- Grow and expand your business
On the other hand, if you neglect your online reputation, you can end up hurting your business. Poor customer sentiment and negative customer reviews that go unaddressed and unanswered show the public that you don’t necessarily care about the customer experience or your own business reputation. You will lose customers and revenue to the competition simply by ignoring what others say about you online.
Reputation management strategy
A reputation management strategy is the process and methods by which you monitor, manage, and influence your business reputation — especially online. Since every business (or client, if you run an agency) is unique, each reputation management strategy will be a little different from the next. However, here’s a general framework you can use for your strategy and build from as needed:
Example of a reputation management strategy
Before you create a reputation management strategy for your particular business or your agency’s clients, start with some upfront analysis:
1. Do your search homework
Search on Google for your business or brand name and take note of every instance you find. Agencies will need to do this for each of their clients — using a local SEO tool is critical here. This exercise will help you know how people are searching when they’re looking for businesses like yours or for the products and services you sell, as well as where your business ranks on the search engine results page (SERP).
2. Survey current sentiment
Look for mentions of your business or brand in earned media, which is the media you don’t own or write for, such as online publications, review sites, and social media posts. Also look at the comments on the social media accounts you own, which will indicate how your customers feel about your business. Take note of positive and negative sentiment. Then do the same for other businesses in your space.
3. Analyze the information
When you’re done gathering information about sentiment, you should be able to decipher, in general, how the public feels about your business and how you compare to your competitors. You can determine what the overall sentiment is, if it’s positive or negative, and which parts of your business story need to be highlighted or reinforced to attract more customers.
Once you have a good idea about your current online reputation, consider piecing together the following elements to create an effective reputation management strategy:
Build a strong portfolio of quality customer reviews on Google, third-party sites, and your own website to show potential customers the kind of experience they can expect from your business. The more positive reviews and ratings that are associated with your business, the better.
It’s also critically important to respond to reviews. It shows potential customers that you value their feedback, are able to address real issues, and want to provide the best customer experience possible. Review responses are so important that over 90% of consumers are influenced to a moderate or extreme degree by owner responses to reviews.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Conduct keyword research and create keyword-rich content aimed at your target audience to improve your visibility and ranking in search results. It’s especially important to use the search terms that they use to find a business like yours.
When you make it easier for people to find or notice your business, they can gain a much better sense of what your business stands for and the type of experience your customers are likely to have. Bottom line: your business reputation is bolstered simply by being seen.
Branding and messaging
Make sure all your digital and physical channels are consistent in showing your updated logo and branding. Maintaining a unified look-and-feel online and offline boosts the professionalism and legitimacy of your business.
It’s also important to be consistent with your messaging, including in your business profile, mission statement, company values, product and service descriptions, review responses, and social media posts.
Involve and align sales, marketing and communications, and customer service teams in your reputation management goals, since their work has a direct impact on the customer experience and in how your business reputation is shaped. When your teams understand what’s at stake, everyone can work together to ensure the desired outcome.
Whether you run a small local business, a multi-location business, or a digital agency, you may need help pulling everyone together, either because you’re short on internal resources or your resources are scattered in different places. With the right technology, you can make it easier for all stakeholders to engage in effective reputation management.
Digital reputation management — How to get started
Digital reputation management relies on a comprehensive digital platform — such as reputation management software — to help you efficiently monitor and manage customer reviews and feedback. With the automated, centralized capabilities of a digital reputation management platform, you can:
- Request reviews from customers and gather them in one place
- Respond effectively to all reviews, regardless of sentiment
- Use personalized, AI-generated responses that mention exact products or services and match customer sentiment
- Monitor third-party review sites and get notified of new reviews or feedback
- Add reviews to your website and share reviews on social media
- Analyze and report on your reviews so you can track your reputation and make changes
Digital reputation management is a good option for small or time-strapped teams that are juggling multiple priorities. You can handle, monitor, and track everything you need in one platform and in less time, without the need for additional software or staff.
White label reputation management
White label reputation management is specifically for digital agencies that want an efficient, profitable way to offer reputation management services. It involves branding a digital reputation management platform as your own and reselling it as a service to your clients. When you use white label software for reputation management, you can:
- Offer a valuable, relevant service that nearly all your clients can benefit from
- Quickly fire up a new revenue stream
- Maximize profit by creating your own pricing structure to earn the profit margins you desire
- Save costs by purchasing a single subscription that provides you with all the basic and advanced reputation management features you’re looking for
- Easily scale your services by adding as many new clients to the platform as you need, without having to add human resources or other software systems as well
You can also use white label reputation management to go after new clients in niches or industries you haven’t tapped into yet. By packaging reputation management services with other services or areas of expertise, you can offer an integrated, comprehensive solution for many of the pain points that businesses experience today, helping to expand your client base and grow your agency.
Get started with reputation management
By focusing on reputation management, you can improve and enhance your online reputation, which helps you (or your clients):
- Get found more easily
- Convert new customers
- Increase revenue
- Stand out from the competition
- Grow and expand
Managing your online reputation is a lot easier with comprehensive reputation management software that collects, monitors, shares, and reports on customer reviews and feedback. You always know where your business stands and how to improve so you can ensure you’re offering the best customer experience possible.
To learn more about the importance of reputation management for your business or agency, schedule a demo with us today.