Reputation Monitoring Management

Reputation Monitoring Management

Reputation Monitoring & Management: Critical Components for Business Success Online in 2018 and Beyond

Reputation monitoring and management make up the first of three vital reputation components when it comes to creating a long-term successful reputation for your business. Managing reputation is a process that is best done through software solutions and platforms that alert you in real time, when a new review is posted online about your business. There’s too much potential for error if left to manual methods, not to mention the amount of time it would take and the impossibility of the task.

It’s more than just your reviews that need technological monitoring, as there are a myriad of channels that people have the ability to access online when it comes to obtaining and posting information about your business. There’s no shortage of opportunities for them to give feedback about your business, share their direct experiences about your company as well as find out more about your business.

For example, there are the major social channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and then there’s content publish directly to the web on your own site or blog as well as what others are saying about your business on these various online platforms, including content posted on local business directory sites.

Why is monitoring your company reputation so important in today’s online environment?

As the old saying goes…”knowledge is power”. And in the case of reputation monitoring and management, when you know what is being said or posted online about your business…when you have the ability to be immediately aware of new reviews, feedback or comments, you have the power to respond quickly to what’s being said.

It’s not enough to respond to comments and reviews about your business – timing and speed are just as critical. A good guideline to follow is 24 hours or less for posting a response to comments or reviews, whether they are positive or negative in nature. If you’re receiving alerts to your mobile or tablet in real time, you or your support staff can respond within the hour!

A powerful reason for addressing negative or positive feedback right away is the goodwill you’re able to convey to your customer base and to the people who come into contact with your company.

With the right reputation monitoring and management system in place, you have the power to turn people’s thinking around if they’ve had a less than satisfactory experience up until now, and influence their willingness to give your business a second chance.

You’re able to let people know that you genuinely care about their experience and that you want that experience to be positive.

In order to have your finger on the pulse of what’s being said and shared about your business as your online visibility grows, it’s necessary to keep pace with this growth by having reputation monitoring capabilities and strategies to match.

Is it just as important to respond to positive comments, feedback and reviews about your business? Yes, definitely it’s just as important as this builds rapport, solidifies relationships with the people taking the time to give positive information about you and works to strengthen goodwill. A timely response on your part encourages people to spread the good news about your customer service by word of mouth or by posting additional positive content about your business online.

Have You Claimed Your Business Listings?

 Being proactive when it comes to claiming important business listings is imperative when it comes to reputation management and ultimately building your reputation in the way that you want it to be built. Most people don’t realize, but for many of these online directories it is possible for ANYONE to go in and create a listing for your business!

 Claiming important listings such as your Google My Business listing, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Four Square, City Search and so on is something you’ll want to do sooner rather than later. If a 3rd party has created a listing on one of these sites for your business without your knowledge, it is entirely possible that reviews about your business may have already been posted.

Claiming and completing your business listings, coupled with proper reputation management is the foundation your business needs for the second reputation component to function, which is reputation building. If you don’t know it’s out there, you can’t respond, right?!

We’ll cover in a future article the many benefits that having correct and congruent business listings mean for a successful online presence but for now, you want to make sure that you are the one in control of this content. Your listings are free to claim, but there is an investment of time involved, and research.

If you want help claiming your important business listings, we provide this service. Please book a complimentary appointment to discuss your needs HERE.

A recent survey done by BrandMuscle found that 56% of retailers have not claimed their Google My Business listing, even with all of the information available that doing so is vitally important for online visibility and search rankings, as well as establishing trust and credibility.

Don’t Leave the Creation of Your Business Listings to Chance or to Online Directory Software & Automation

Claiming your business listings and making sure that your information is not only correct across the board, but is actually controlled by YOU makes your business stronger, helps consumers out and puts important safeguards in place for building and safeguarding your online reputation.

Google smiles on congruent business information across online directory and review sites and frowns upon listings that contain incorrect, outdated or conflicting information. This is a factor that can actually hurt your search engine rankings, so you want to be the one in charge of this aspect of your online presence, as well as be aware of 3rd party generated content that has the potential of being inaccurate.

Online directory and review websites have the capability of pulling in existing information about your business from different locations on the web, which they then use to automatically generate new listings about your business. The problem with this is the fact that it is being done through automation and if there are errors when these listings are generated, you’re not going to know about them if you’re not monitoring.

Make readily available the most important and accurate information about your business, such as your address, hours of operation, phone number, etc…often referred to as “NAP” information (short for name, address and phone number) when setting up your listings. Include relevant helpful images and detailed descriptions where indicated on directory and review sites.

Leveraging Customer Feedback & Reviews for Business Insights & Growth

Keeping tabs on your online reputation has many benefits as we’ve previously discussed. Why not take this information your audience is giving you and use it to self-assess and improve? Direct feedback from your target market is invaluable, inherent with the power to help you identify weaknesses in your business that need attention and adjustment.

Likewise, what you’re currently doing well will be commented on and shared, giving you the opportunity to do more of this “good stuff” in order to continue helping your customers in the ways that benefit them the most.

Even though critical feedback is hard to swallow sometimes, it’s important to understand where people are coming from and what their experiences are with your brand. It’s inevitable that once in a while someone is going to be disappointed, no matter how hard you try. With the right reputation management system, you’ll have a powerful firewall in place to address this feedback and disappointment before it becomes a negative online review and most importantly, help save a relationship.

In our next post in this reputation series, we’ll discuss the second vital component that sets the stage for propelling your business forward – reputation building.

Reputation

Reputation

Reputation – the Foundation of Small Business Success Online

In the following series of posts, we’re going to be talking about the importance of online reputation for businesses , as well as what needs to be done in order to leverage the technology available for building trust, brand awareness and an expanding online presence.

In this article we’ll begin with a core understanding of reputation and the place it occupies in relation to the R4 Marketing Framework for online business growth.

When we look at this pyramid diagram for the R4 Marketing System and Framework, we clearly see that “Reputation” is at the very bottom of the pyramid and is the solid foundation that the other three critical marketing systems build upon. If any business, regardless of size, is to achieve maximum success online they need to have all four of these marketing systems working well and in conjunction with each other.

Let’s start at the beginning and gain a clearer understanding as to why having a great five star reputation online matters so much these days, and why “reputation” occupies the very base of this pyramid and is the solid foundation upon which the rest relies.

It was right around 2002 when people started using the Internet in earnest to search for information about businesses they were interested in purchasing goods or services from, as opposed to their ingrained habit of automatically reaching for print Yellow Pages.

At that time compared with today, there was very little available when it came to online reviews about local businesses, or “social proof”…sites like Facebook for example,

where people could reach out to others in their networks for feedback about a business, or share their own unique personal experiences.

There was really no such thing as “Local SEO” like there is today either…

An important statistic from the 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey found that 97% of consumers aged eighteen to thirty four read online reviews to judge a business before making a serious buying decision from that business! In addition, the same survey found that 92% of consumers in general now read online reviews for local businesses.

This has been a colossal shift for the marketplace in the past decade and a half and yet there are many businesses that aren’t completely aware as yet, just how important online reviews, social proof and online reputation can be to their bottom line and the success of their brand.

Here’s some additional research compiled by BrightLocal, a company that conducts surveys and compiles review and consumer statistics:

As these figures show, the more “positive votes” in the form of four and five star reviews a company has, the more comfortable and assured people are that they’ll have a positive experience with that business, too. This is because 85% consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommends, as the research shows below…

These percentages show how much more likely people are to contact a business with a 4 – 5 star review score over their competition.

Here are some key findings from the Local Consumer Review Survey of 2017 published by BrightLocal:

  • 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 49% of consumers need at least a 4 star rating before they choose to use a business
  • Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging a local business
  • 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked – with 74% having been asked for their feedback
  • 32% of consumers read local reviews on mobile apps this year (a growth of 14% from 2016)

It’s clear from these findings that consumers take online reviews very seriously. In order to build a solid reputation and to be fully trusted by consumers, it’s important to receive positive online reviews on a continuous basis.
Google likes to see fresh reviews (preferably 6 months to one year) being posted for local businesses on a regular basis and considers older reviews less relevant and important. Remember, Google is all about the user experience, so the older the reviews the less relevant or helpful they are to their users.

It’s extremely important that businesses are not only aware of what is being said about them online but are also proactive about their reputation, taking as much charge and as much control of what others are saying about their brand online as they possibly can, as well as responding quickly to any negative or positive feedback posted.

As a company that helps businesses with reputation monitoring and management, we have a software suite that automates the bulk of this work, including acquiring fresh new positive reviews as well as putting up firewalls against negative reviews – these are all key components for our client’s monthly reputation campaigns.

It’s a lot of extra work on already overwhelmed business owners to try and manually keep track of reviews that are being posted online, whether on Google, Yelp or any of the many other directories where consumers post them, which is probably why many owners grow to resent the whole concept of reviews and the necessity of dealing with them in today’s environment.

The best option, since getting good reviews often and on an ongoing basis is mandatory these days, is to automate this process and build up your review counts every month. The benefits of doing so are very real, translating directly into more trust for your business and ultimately, more authority and better search engine rankings in Google as more and more people likely to reach out and become customers.

It should be clear from the information and statistics contained in this article, that establishing and maintaining a strong positive presence online is truly the foundation that the three other marketing strategies in the R4 framework must grow upon.

Here’s an example of how a business could fall into the trap of putting the cart before the horse and doing “Reach” before “Reputation”. Let’s say you’re a struggling dental practice. You’re not booking enough new patients in every month so you decide to buy some television advertising. You pay a company to design an amazing video that highlights you, your office and the latest in dental technology that you have to offer.

 

There’s one big elephant in the room, however. When people see your ad on television, IF they are even in the market for a new dentist, chances are they aren’t going to remember your phone number, but they WILL remember your business name.

What are they going to do next? You’ve done this amazing outreach, you’ve produced this attractive television ad and a small percentage of people are interested enough to follow up and find out more, but because they don’t know you, they are going to go to Google and search for your business.

Oh no! Your dental practice has a 3 star review total! Guess what you’ve just done! Whether you realize it or not, you have effectively paid a lot of advertising money for the direct benefit of your competition!

Once people see your mediocre review count, they aren’t going to pick up the phone and call your practice, they’re going to call your competitor on Google that has a 4+ star review count instead.

In our next post in the series, we’ll cover important information about reputation monitoring and management and why it’s essential to have this critical component in place and working on behalf of your business.