Lately, everything that was happening between the groups of people in clubs or meeting joints, has shifted to the web. In other words, the chit-chat either about the lightest jokes about their favorite player or the serious thoughts about the next upcoming government in action has started happening online.
If I, as a consumer, am not satisfied with the services of a company, I would rather choose to make my notion public instead of sharing it with a handful of people at my workplace or with those I meet at the gym. Because I would like to be heard.
Here is when the Online Reputation Management slides in. With a relationship that is maintained online and people participate in making the awareness more soundful, the companies find it difficult to hide the mistakes that were not easily noticeable before. You like it or not, ignoring these feedbacks and reviews by your customers considerably affects the growth of your company.
On the other hand, when online reputation management is utilized effectively, it can help a business quickly become popular among its consumers and clients in no time, just like the snap of the finger. It may sound like magic, but the plethora of tools available over the internet is nothing less than one.
Simple google search gives us all the information that we need to know about a business before making any communication with it. Not just the website of the company, but third-party platforms such as listing websites and online reviews act as the deciding factors. Even a single negative review seeming genuine would take away hundreds of potential clients from your kitty.
Small businesses are hurt the most through these critical reviews. When you have not many mouths to sing the praises for your services or product, one stain targeted at your quality can bring your overall reputation to a halt. Hence, you should prioritize including Online Reputation Management as a part of your business strategy, if not, it would haunt you sooner or later.
Let’s see what experts have to say about Brand’s Reputation:
“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” – Warren Buffet
“Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google say it is.” – Chris Anderson
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
Everyone who has tasted success knows what reputation accounts for. It is also true that you would never be able to make everyone happy. Even the top most companies receive a handful of negative comments. But, it becomes scariest when you only have a handful of comments which is usually the case with the small businesses.
Although it is impossible to stop people from saying bad things about you, you have the tools to control these comments from reaching the prospective customers through participating in the Online Reputation Management of your company.
You can control what needs to be public and what should be buried down and can use your online image to attract more opportunities for better tomorrow. If you can spare time to see what is being said about you online, you will be in a better position to judge your trust score among your customers.
I may have said enough about what the negative comments entails, but there is a lot that is still unsaid about the Online Reputation Management. So, here is some takeaway on what you can achieve by involving yourself in the Online Reputation Management.
What can we achieve through Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
- You can surge customer’s interest in buying your services or products
Before I go ahead making claims about the things that ORM can help you achieve, let’s have a look at the survey done by BrightLocal. The motive of this survey was to find the inclination of consumers towards the internet in finding the services or products for their use.
- 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
- 79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year, but a worrying 84% can’t always spot them
With time, more people are connecting to the internet. There would be a time when online reviews would be the priority for every consumer for basing their buying decision. So, local businesses need to gear up and make way for the ORM tools for utilizing the benefit at the most.
- Online Reputation will Go Forever
Online Reputation exists forever. This means that even if you are not there to endorse your company, the online reviews will keep manipulating what consumers think about you or your business. Either you live or not, online reputation is sure to stay for long.It is not easy to change what people think about you.
Even if you change the perception of those writing negative reviews about you, what is written stays forever. If someone calls you ‘A Fraud’, there is little you can do to redact those words. And, your customers will believe what is said about you and not what you think you are.
But, with Online Reputation Management and by proactively managing your online profile, you can refute those bad comments. Businesses who are not taking this aspect of marketing seriously are failing to stay tuned with the surging competition.
- Cut the links of Mouth to Mouth Advertising
The Internet can make or break your reputation in a matter of time. The news featured on the internet can chase the speed of light. These days, everyone has their accounts on social medias. Keeping a smartphone with social media accounts updated is very common.
It may sound scary, but people’s opinion on these social media accounts about your business matters a lot. The reviews and feedbacks reach individuals across continents with just a click of a button. Your company can be rated from 1 to 5 star and these stars can decide your future in the market.
The news about mishandling and bad customer services are poison for your business. While it is true that pleasing everybody with different expectation is nowhere possible, it is also correct that these situations can be easily handled through Online Reputation Management.
- Utilize Bad Reviews as Your Weapon for ORM
It may sound funny or confusing. But, it is entirely true. It could be difficult to know that you have a bad impression on your customers. But, in a way, you can be communicative enough and try to underline the mistakes and work out of them to provide satisfactory results.
The reason could be small such as lack of coordination to the huge lists of useless product and incorrect billing. But, this opportunity will provide you an insight of where you are going wrong.
You can connect with your customers online to do the right thing. Isn’t this an indication that customer’s and their experience matter to you? Customers will also appreciate your efforts and will bring you more business.
What ORM Covers?
ORM is based on the ways you connect with your customers and monitor what they say about you. This way, you can plan and proceed accordingly to realize a positive image across the web.
Connect & Engage
Where can we connect and engage with our customers? People like to leave reviews either if they are very happy or very disappointed with the services or products. And, if you request them to. These can be the reason for someone rating you online.
These reviews can change the way your customers look at you. Bad reviews can even lead to seeking of existing customers for a better option. So, it is crucial to know where your customers are writing about you and how you can connect with them.
These reviews can be left of various social networking and business listing websites. But, google will get all these reviews at one place when searched for your company. Managing so many different platforms is not easy and you will require an inhouse team to manage it on a daily basis. Or, you can also hire someone with expertise in ORM to do that for you.
The next thing matters is the number of people talking about you. If you have a 5 rating but only two customers voting for you, the customers would likely select the one with 4.7 rating but 90 individuals talking about it.
Mostly, these reviews are left at three places:
- Social Media Accounts: If you have your business’s social media account, you would know how it works. And, if you do not have, you are already losing a lot of customers. Consumers feel it safe to deal with businesses which are available of the top social media accounts.
Reviews can be posted with a rating on your business page or customers may simply leave a comment on your profile page. All these will highly affect your online image.
- Online Business Listing Websites: Websites like BBB, YellowPages, Glassdoor, TripAdvisor or Yelp provide its customers a platform to leave a comment about various businesses or companies. These places are exclusively designed for customers to feel free about sharing their opinion with others.
- Scam Reporting Websites: Although these are not as famous as these other two, the popularity is increasing with time. The surge in the number of these sites is a clear indication that people are turning to the scam reporting websites for support.
The examples of these websites are RipoffReport, Complaint Board, DirtyScam and lot others. These are specifically built to attract negative reviews from customers. Being Popular, your review will be on the top searches.
Monitor Brand Buzz
To monitor the brand buzz, you would require following what customers are writing about you or about your businesses. You can do this by monitoring the keywords related to your business. You can also term this as Web Listening.
By monitoring what is being said about your product or services, you will have an upper hand over your competitors in making things right. You can only participate in the conversation if you know what’s cooking around.
You can access these reviews to know what differences or changes you can bring to your business goals for making it popular among the consumers. Questions like what isn’t going right, what should you change in your business or what your customer like can be easily accessed through monitoring what’s being said about you.
Proactive Monitoring: As I have mentioned before, it is important to have online reviews and it should be huge in number. This you can achieve by asking your customers to leave a review after they have used your services or products.
You can either provide a link to the review pages and ask your customers to review your business. Or, you can automate the process by using various tools. There are many tools that you utilize not only to increase your online reviews, but to also monitor and analyse them:
- Grade.us: A review management suite that provides monitoring capability as well.
- GetFiveStars: This is again a software service that helps in getting customer reviews.
- Delighted: With this tool, you can increase your online feedback from your customers.
Proactive monitoring also includes checking what your competitors are doing to lure the customers and you can compare it with other businesses to come up with a better outline of your goals and vision.
All these will help you stay in sync with your customer’s expectations.
Plan & Identify
This is the third part of Online Reputation Management. And is very important. There is no gain if you maintain your online presence and monitor it timely but do nothing to turn it your way. Also, a failed attempt to manage your online reputation is equal to not managing it at all.
Hence, it is important to know the right way to plan and identify your steps to improve your online presence and manage your online reputation effectively.
Putting the experts at the job would be the right tactics for achieving the results. To do so, you can either hire your own team or you can ask for support from the dedicated company’s managing online reputation for various companies.
If you are a small business and you have limited funds to consider outsourcing the ORM activities to a different company, then rethink your decision. Many people believe that asking another company for a service would add up to the cost of running a business. But, this is not at all true.
Let’s analyze the other part. If you plan to hire your own team, you will have to make room for the employees in your office with all the pre-requisite required for them to start working. This will not only be the infrastructure cost, but would include salary, training and a lot more hassle.
Even after doing all this, would you be assured of their expertise? Hiring experienced professionals will anyway increase the amount you invest overall.
You must have got my point. Outsourcing would not save your time but would provide you the opportunity to concentrate on other key areas of your business.
After reading this blog, you must have got the gist of what the buzz about Online Reputation Management is all about. Companies are becoming vigilant in accessing what is best for their business. And, almost everyone of them considers ORM as the most vital tool for making their online image turn positive.
Owning a business can become a nightmare if your online presence is tainted. What if you have happy customers and are huge in number but are not taking part in reviewing you online. Because, those who are not satisfied, would certainly like to be heard.
Online Reputation management will help you connect with your customers online and will encourage them to leave a review. Hence, negating the effect of the negative reviews. There are many other benefits that are already mentioned on this blog.
So, consider what is valuable and can make your business thrive with fastest results.