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Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management

In today’s business world, reputation is everything. An online reputation and word-to-mouth marketing can make or break a new brand and keep an established one profitable for years. A business should have some form of online reputation management or employ reputation management services to achieve success.

 

Woman holding review boardWhat is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management, or brand reputation management, is self-explanatory. It is the act of a business or hired service managing its reputation online via customer service, review monitoring, etc. Those involved with online reputation management deploy strategies to control the internet content connected to a particular brand actively.

You might think, “What’s the point?” and that’s a good thought. But consider this: 59% of potential customers trust search engines as reliable sources for news and information, including information about a business (Edelman Trust Barometer). That means when consumers want to get the lowdown on a brand before giving them business, they see what search engines and online reviews have to say. That doesn’t guarantee the information they find will be accurate, but if someone puts it out there, you can bet others will find it.

Why do you Need Online Reputation Management?

Online reviews have the most significant impact on a business’s online reputation. They have been proven to directly affect a brand’s bottom line by moving it up in search engine rankings and placing it where potential customers are most likely to see it. Based on data from a BrightLocal study, 98% of potential customers use company websites, online review sites, and consumer forums to gauge what others think of a company and its products or services before making a purchase.

The need for online reputation management and reputation management services cannot be overstated. Online reviews are essential to an online reputation and can influence consumer behavior significantly. Reviews are the most visible results when consumers search online for businesses, often appearing before the person has had a chance to click on a result. Consumers have been shown to pay more for a product or service if the business has positive reviews. Similar studies have shown that negative reviews cause a staggering number of people to avoid a business.

What to Avoid with Reputation Management

Fake changing to fact with wooden cubes. ( 3d render )

While online reputation management is essential for a business’s success, getting too caught up in it and making mistakes could hurt more than help. Avoid what’s listed below to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Creating Fake Reviews

It may seem like a good idea at the time, but creating fake accounts and leaving false reviews can backfire tremendously – even if you manage to make them convincing. Fake reviews are often easy to spot, and many popular review sites track the IP addresses of those who post. Getting caught in this lie could lead to a brand being blacklisted on the website and many other review platforms.

Arguing with Reviewers

This is easier said than done, and it’s understandable. If someone leaves a bad, or even false, review, a first instinct may be to refute it and defend the business. It is crucial to online reputation management to resist this urge. Replying to positive and negative reviews is strongly encouraged, but it is often harmful to a brand to engage in arguments. If the situation escalates, it’s essential to stay calm and courteous. State your willingness to resolve the issue and move on. Future review readers will notice and appreciate the kindness and professionalism.

Bribing Customers for Reviews

This may seem obvious, but it was such a problem in the past the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) had to be created. The primary purpose of this act is to protect consumers’ ability to share honest opinions about businesses and their products, services, or conduct. However, included in its provisions are restrictions on soliciting reviews. Attempting to bribe customers with discounts, etc., in exchange for good reviews can have serious ramifications, and that’s not including the public relations nightmare if this shady-seeming practice was revealed to the larger public.

Online Reputation and SEO

When it comes down to it, an online reputation management campaign relies heavily on positive content creation. While reputation management and search engine optimization (SEO) are critical to a brand’s online presence, they serve different functions. In the end, brand reputation management deals with creating an authentic, positive reputation. SEO is about getting that reputation discovered by potential customers.

How Red Crow Can Help

Online reputation management can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses. Luckily, Red Crow has tools and services that can help. For more suggestions and assistance, contact us for a free consultation.

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