What Is Reputation Management?

First things first, lets define what Reputation Management is…. It’s the practice of understanding or influencing an individual or business brand. I’ll break it down a little more… In a nutshell, online reputation management is the practice of making people and businesses “like yours” look their best on the internet. To accomplish that, people need to control their online search results because they frequently contain inaccurate, misleading or outdated material which can adversely influence how your customers will view you! However, controlling search results isn’t the only goal of online reputation management. Since where someone lives, their income and their marital status all affect the perception of a person, it’s important to prevent private information from being made public as well. Online reputation management became necessary with the advent of social networks, online forums, blogs and other forms of online communication and information sharing. But since current laws are insufficient to prevent total strangers from damaging your online reputation… online reputation management is now critical. Even if you don’t have any damning reviews online, reputation management is still for you. I’ll explain throughout this report. Alright, hopefully you have a decent idea on what online reputation management is but let’s now get into “why” it’s important to you and your business!

Why Managing It Is Important!

So, why is it important? Reason 1 is, if you catch it early you can develop and maintain your reputation! Nearly 80 percent of all consumers will research a business online prior to giving that company their patronage. If a potential customer decides to scour the web for your business and is confronted with numerous negative comments, they may quickly consider going to your competitor instead. Social media sites, as well as forums and discussion boards, can easily become a breeding ground for negative remarks. The key is to find an Online Reputation Company that can properly manage your online real estate to ensure only the positive information regarding your business is displayed on social media sites and other areas of the web, and they will also work to encourage more positive postings from happy customers! Another Important Reason it’s important is because it can help increase the visibility or your Website. Gaining a top position in the search engines is a great way to increase the online visibility of your company. Most consumers looking for a specific business don’t make it past the first page of the search engine results so having your business in one of the top 5 positions is your best bet for obtaining new business. By managing your business’ online reputation on a regular basis through content creation, keywords, and other various SEO techniques, your company will be more likely to obtain a higher in the search engines and maintain control of their position providing a higher likelihood of gaining new clients. Again, if you find a good Online Reputation Company… they can ensure you put your business on the right track! The Major Reason why Online Reputation Management is so important is you have the ability to choose how your target audience sees your business! You can build brand trust by only allowing certain information to enter search engines and social media networks, you can deliver a trustworthy image of your company to your potential patrons. This is especially important for businesses heavily involved in social networking. If a customer sees your company conveying one image on one site, and a different image on another site, they will feel as though you aren’t credible, and will be more likely to take their business elsewhere. Customers like to feel as though they are purchasing products and services from a trustworthy source and online reputation management can help you maintain the web consistency needed to convey this type of image.

Startling Stats

Let’s now discuss some important stats in regards to why you should start implement Reputation Management… regardless of your current online reputation. First of all… 78% of consumers trust what their peers say. This goes back to review sites, it’s important to urge your happy customers to leave positive reviews about your business. Giving some sort of an incentive is a good idea! Give out $5 gift cards to starbucks for those that leave a review. Give out some type of discount for those that agree to leave a review… get creative with it, but they key is to urge your happy customers to leave a review! Also, according to compete.com Traffic to the top 10 review sites grew on average 158% last year! I’m sure you understand what that means but more than ever, people are going to review sites before they purchase or before the pick a particular business to do business with… it doesn’t matter your industry! Let me rattle off a few more Powerful Stats! According to Comscore… 97% who made a purchase based on an online review found the review to be accurate! People trust and believe Review sites! 51% of consumers use the Internet even before making a purchase in shops … according to verdict research.. 92% have more confidence in information found online than from a salesclerk or other source (Wall Street Journal) 61% of people rely on user reviews for product information or research before a buying decision is made. (Razorfish) 34% have turned to social media to air their feelings about a company. 26% to express dissatisfaction, 23% to share companies or products they like. 4 out of 5 consumers change their mind after reading a negative review. 75% of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements (Yankelovich) I don’t know what to tell you if those stats don’t say enough about why you should start making sure your Online Reputation is up to par. People more than ever, are trusting their peers, review sites, social media.. opposed to advertisements created by your business. It’s time to make sure your business is being perceived as trusted and credible by your consumers!

Monitor and Influence

Let’s get into the benefits of monitoring and influencing your online image. First off… You have control. When you or your reputation management company monitor your reputation you are in control of the reviews that get posted about your business. If you aren’t monitoring it, you have no control and you have no idea when negative reviews are being thrown around about your business. Also, you can control positive reviews by influencing consumers to post positive reviews about your company. As I mentioned a couple minutes ago… giving out coupons or other incentive based promises allow you to have your happy customers go post a positive review about you and your company right away! This is a great way to get positive reviews. If you’re asking, why can’t I just go online and make up reviews. For one, that’s not ethical and for 2, review sites can track your IP address and the reviews you post won’t stick. Sure they might for a day or 2 but they will eventually be taken down, so it’s not worth your time. Plus if you’re running an ethical business in general, you should have no problem getting happy customers to post a review about your business. Monitoring your reputation also allows you to catch any negative reviews a disgruntled customer may post. Now you can’t really do anything about this unless you contact the customer directly, but you can offset it with ramping up the number of positive reviews you get. Meaning, ramping up the number of customers you ask to leave a review for you. Or… and this is the worst case scenario, if they post on a site like ripoffreport.com and the report is showing up when your business name is googled… you can make sure that you start countering it asap. The longer a negative review actually sits in the search results for a specific keyword, the harder it will be to move down in the rankings. That’s another reason that monitoring your reputation is so important… you can catch anything that’s fishy or damning to your business early on. The last benefit I’m going to go over is, you’ll be ahead of the majority of your competition. Why, you ask? Because they simply don’t know how to go about doing this and they don’t see its importance like you do now. Put yourself in your consumer’s shoes. If you were looking for “their industry” and you saw one business with 45 positive reviews and another one with 1 or 2 reviews, who would you choose? Exactly! You want to be the business with 45 positive reviews! This is only going to enhance the public perception about your business and I guarantee it will have a positive effect as well on your bottom line! There really isn’t one negative I can think of when it comes to implementing Reputation Management, other than the fact that it can be a pain if you already have negative reviews. Monitor and influence it before that’s ever an issue!

Two Simple Tips

Two simple tips that you can implement today to make sure you’re getting positive reviews. The first, I have mentioned a couple times already. Give out a coupon or some incentive to make sure your happy customers are going home and leaving you a review. If they have a smartphone you can give them the coupon, giftcard, or whatever you decide.. on the spot if they go to a review site and leave you a review right then and there. That’s the route I recommend! Second, .. you can add an email capture form to your website. You can get opt ins by giving a free report, a coupon, a giftcard… once they have opted in and are in your database you can send out content that will benefit them as well as an invite to leave a review about your business. This report isn’t about how to actually do that but if you need help setting that up on your website, contact me and I will gladly help.

False Assumptions

Let’s dive into the myths now about Online Reputation Management… The first one I hear ALL the time is “ I don’t have any negative reviews so I am fine, I don’t need it” Wrong, Wrong, Wrong… As I have mentioned previously, you want to influence the positive perception of your business as much as you can. I don’t care if you already have 10 positive reviews and you’re in the number one spot on Google for your keyword… you want to make it an absolute NO BRAINER on who your potential customer should buy from. Turn those 10 positive reviews into 50+ and watch your bottom line explode. I guarantee it! I also here, “most of my business comes from word of mouth referrals, why do I need reputation management”. And I follow with, I think you just answered your question for me. Reputation management online is pretty much the same exact thing. The more positive reviews you get the more business you will get. Every positive review acts as a friend saying “yea this company is great for xyz”… just like a referral!

Conclusion

Your online reputation can easily make or break your business. This is not something to take lightly. Contact me if you need more help or if you would like for us to monitor your reputation for you! Paul Harvey Director of Reputation Marketing 0424 225 495