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The Importance of Monitoring Your Online Reputation

Your reputation is the life blood of your business and what keeps it up and running. Uncover what people are saying about your business and how to change perceptions.

GoSite Team
19 min read
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In today’s technologically advanced world, businesses must monitor their online reputation. Anyone can go online to discuss their opinions about a business. And while we hope that they only have good things to say, that’s not always the case.

It’s important to know how to repair the negative sentiment. And you should also have a strategy in place to proactively create an online reputation that makes you proud. Monitoring your social media presence, reviews, and other online content can help you manage your reputation.

But what is online reputation management? Let's take a look at online reputation monitoring and management, its impacts on your business, and the steps you can take to improve your reputation.

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What Is Online Reputation Monitoring?

What Is Online Reputation MonitoringSource: Birdeye 

Online reputation monitoring is simply being aware of your online presence and what is said about your business online. Similarly, online reputation management (ORM) is the process of managing the information about your business available online. 

Online reputation monitoring tools can help you stay up-to-date on what people are saying about your business. This might include being notified of reviews or being able to monitor changes in your search engine rankings.

On the other hand, ORM may include many different marketing strategies, such as social media marketing, public relations, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), customer service, and more. ORM also sets policies for dealing with hits to your online reputation. So, you will have solutions in place if an issue arises.

Factors That Contribute To Your Online Presence

Various platforms and websites exist that allow people to state their opinions about a business. Therefore, many different factors can contribute to your online presence. Take a look at a few mentioned below.

1. Online Reviews From Major Review Sites

Almost nine out of 10 consumers will read online reviews before making a purchase decision. Therefore, your online reviews play a major role in how your audience perceives your business. Some main online review sites include Google, Yelp, and social media. The reviews on these sites will likely show up if a potential customer searches for your business.

2. Social Media Accounts

In 2022, 59% of the population — about 4.7 billion people — actively uses social media. - Datareportal

Businesses post on social media to attract the audience, and the audience can interact with the business and each other to voice their opinions about the business. 

Posts, comments, images, and more can affect a business’s online reputation. So, businesses must have a way to monitor what everyone is saying about them on social media.

3. Business Listings

Business listings are a great way to provide your information to potential customers. However, every business should ensure that this information is accurate. Listings on search engines, review sites, and social media should be updated regularly to show customers that you are an active business.

Business ListingsSource: New Initiatives Marketing

The Impact of Online Reputation Management

Monitoring your online reputation can have many benefits. It can improve credibility, provide ways to improve your customer experience, enhance SEO, and generate more sales. Read about each of these benefits in more detail below.

1. Demonstrates Credibility To Potential Customers

Credibility is essential for businesses to gain audience trust. Businesses should aim to appear reliable and honest if they want to build strong relationships with their customers. Credibility can also help businesses attract employees and investors along with the following:

  • Increase the likelihood of being approved for financing
  • Improve ability to negotiate contract terms
  • Make it easier to fix production issues

Credibility is a way to demonstrate authenticity and vice versa. Authenticity allows customers to get to know the personality of the company. And that personality is what will relate to your audience and attract potential customers. 

Businesses can build credibility through various social channels, such as blogging, social media, and engaging with your employees. In all of these, it’s crucial that your business: 

  • Stays consistent and follows through with promises
  • Is open and honest
  • Shows that you can be fair in your relationships with customers and employees

           46% of consumers in the United States would pay higher prices to a company they                     trust. - Salsify

Thus, it’s important to build credibility. Thus, online reputation management and monitoring is an essential part of helping your business appear trustworthy.

2. Provides You With Tools To Improve Customer Experience

When you keep track of the comments made about your business, you can gather feedback to improve your customer experience. People who have a bad experience with a company are two to three times more likely to leave a negative review than those with a good experience leaving a positive review.

You can learn more about your customers' expectations of your business by reading negative reviews. Positive reviews can also help you learn what customers already appreciate about your business.

View negative reviews as constructive criticism. Read them, respond to them courteously, and look for patterns that reveal how you can improve your customer experience.

3. Enhances Search Engine Optimization Efforts

ORM can help your SEO strategy and ranking in several ways. It primarily allows you to monitor your rankings for certain keywords. Any business’s main keyword is its business name. So, when you track rankings, you can see how to improve your business’s SEO strategy.Enhances Search Engine Optimization EffortsSource: Techno Goober

Anyone searching for your business should be able to find you easily. Your ORM strategies should help you improve rankings for:

  • Your website and online content
  • Your company-managed social media profiles
  • Your business listings and review pages
  • Content that highlights positive features of your business

Using SEO tools that keep you informed on your rankings and other data can be helpful in other ways as well. For example, you can keep track of technical aspects such as page speed or backlinking. You can also learn more about your audience, like the type of content they prefer.

You can then use all these things to improve your SEO strategy, which will, in turn, improve your business reputation.

4. Generates More Sales

A difference of one star on a business’s average review rating can cause a 5% to 9% difference in revenue. Customer reviews and your overall reputation can have a huge impact on your total sales. 

With an increase in online content, there also comes an increase in demand for knowledge. Through the customer journey, an average consumer will make multiple searches to find the right product or service for them. This search may include checking reviews, reading blogs, and viewing business listings. 

It’s important to understand what your potential customers will find when they are searching for your brand. Everything they see will impact their buying decisions. ORM can help you ensure that the majority of what they see is positive. Thus, they will be more likely to buy from your business.

How Can You Improve Your Business Reputation?

So far, you’ve learned why your business reputation is so important and how online reputation monitoring can benefit your business. Now, let’s take a look at how you can improve your business reputation.

1. Respond To Both Positive Reviews and Negative Reviews

Around 16% of local businesses will never or rarely respond to reviews. The businesses that do respond to reviews are more likely to respond to positive than negative reviews. However, 53% of consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within seven days.

How a business responds to reviews impacts how potential customers perceive that business. So, it’s important to respond to both positive and negative reviews. 

Responding to positive reviews is generally easy. You can simply thank your customer for taking the time to leave a review. You can choose to return the nice comments or invite them to revisit your business. Regardless, make sure you personalize your response. Using the customer’s name is an easy way to make the conversation more authentic.

On the other hand, it can be difficult dealing with a bad review. If you become emotional about what a customer has written, take a few minutes to yourself. When you’re calm enough, compose a response that includes the following:

  • A personalized greeting and message
  • Thanking them for their review or feedback
  • A short apology that shows sympathy for their bad experience
  • A statement that shows you can humbly own up to your mistakes
  • A note about how you plan to improve the situation in the future
  • Direct contact information for a one-on-one conversation
  • A request to visit your business so that you can try again

You should keep your response short and sweet. But it should also communicate your remorse and care for your customers. You want to make things right without being too pushy.

Some tools can help you manage online reviews from multiple platforms in one place. This can cut down on the time it takes to read your reviews and respond to them.

2. Set Up Google Alerts To Notify You of Any Brand Mention

Google Alerts is a free tool that will send you reports of published content containing certain keywords. Therefore, you can set up alerts for your business name, the business owner’s name, or other keywords related to your business.

When you set up the Google Alert, you can receive email notifications when someone mentions your business. This could include articles about your business, negative comments on social media, or reviews left on a business listing.

Set Up Google Alerts To Notify You of Any Brand MentionSource: 3 Aspens Media

Setting up a Google Alert is simple. You just go to Google Alerts, type in the keyword you want results for, and click “Create Alert.” If you want to change your notification settings or adjust which content you get alerts for, you can click “Show options.” 

3. Create a Comprehensive Online Reputation Management Strategy

An ORM strategy will help you create a consistent plan for monitoring your business reputation. Unfortunately, this isn’t a quick solution. ORM is going to take a consistent investment of your time and effort to keep your reputation intact.

With that being said, a strategy will help you create a routine that can save time and keep you updated on current sentiment. The online landscape is constantly changing. So, incorporate the following into your ORM strategy to stay up-to-date:

  • Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, Twitter Search, and other online ORM tools
  • Building credibility and authenticity before negative mentions occur
  • An SEO strategy to rank on the first page of Google
  • Responding to both positive and negative reviews as quickly as possible
  • Professionalism and transparency

Your ORM strategy will pave the way for many different aspects of your marketing strategy. In addition, it can help shape the personality of your brand. Over time, much of it will become a habit when you are interacting with your audience.

4. Invest in Online Reputation Tools

Many different online reputation tools can help you track conversations about your brand. Consider using some of the listed below:

  • BrandMentions. You can configure projects based on a set of keywords and get reports about the content containing those keywords. It scans social media platforms, blogs, news websites, and more.
  • Buzzsumo. You can search for keywords and receive reports about the engagement levels associated with those keywords. 
  • Mention. You can set up alerts to receive notifications when someone mentions your brand on social media. You can also sort through reports based on sentiment. 
  • SocialMention. You can search your business name and receive scores for strength, sentiment, passion, and more. It will also provide you with corresponding data, such as hashtags and sources.

It may become confusing if you choose to use all of the ORM tools available. But it can be helpful to choose a couple that work well with your ORM strategy. Reports from these tools can give great insight into your overall business reputation.

Reputation Management Mistakes to Avoid

1.    Posting Fake Online Reviews

Customers crave the social proof online reviews provide. With so much riding on online reviews, it's no wonder some business owners resort to posting fake ones.

When business owners become desperate for positive reviews, writing fake reviews becomes tempting. However, writing fake online reviews is one of the worst things you can do for your business. It could even get you kicked off some online review platforms.

It's important to care deeply about your online reputation management. But it's always better to take a slow and steady approach. Real online reviews are worth the effort, and fake ones aren't worth the risk.

2.    Expecting Online Reviews to Magically Appear

There are a few things that always seem to attract a crowd. Freshly-baked pastries, puppies, and public marriage proposals all fit the bill. Your online review profiles? Not so much.

If you're waiting for online reviews to organically show up, you may be disappointed by the results. Companies that earn dozens of online reviews often work for them behind the scenes. Reputation management is too important for you to leave it to chance.

Top tactics for earning more online reviews include:

  • Leveraging post-purchase emails
  • Requesting online reviews via a review management tool
  • Displaying signage in your brick-and-mortar locations
  • Adding a request to your printed receipts
  • Including direct links to review platforms on your website and email signature

With time, these strategies can yield the valuable online reviews you're hoping for.

3.    Focusing on a Single Platform

Everyone has a favorite review platform. For some, Yelp is a go-to source for recommendations. Others might rely on Google or Facebook caches of online reviews. Thorough online researchers may even check several platforms, searching for reviews that corroborate each other.

That's why it's crucial to maintain a presence on multiple online review platforms. Companies that limit their focus to a single review site risk ignoring substantial swaths of their customer base. In addition, being listed on multiple platforms boosts your Google listing.

Today, there are dozens of online business directories to choose from. Most also feature prominent online reviews. You can even use digital tools to manage online reviews from a single dashboard.

If you're serious about reputation management, cultivating online reviews on a range of platforms is a must.

4.    Attempting Pushback or Sarcasm

Every once in a while, your business might receive a suspicious review. It might contain impossible details, such as a date when your business was actually closed. Or, it might include a personal attack that violates the platform's rules.

In these situations, it's easy to get emotional. You might find your fingers flying over the keyboard, readying a sarcastic response. But before you hit "send," it's important to step back.

No matter how unfair a review might be, remember that your replies are visible to all customers. Engaging in a public fight will always do more harm than good.

Fortunately, most online review platforms provide a path for removing fraudulent or abusive reviews. For example, Google allows you to flag suspicious online reviews. If a platform agrees that a flagged or reported review is fraudulent, it will be taken down.

5.    Ignoring Online Reviews

With so many potential mistakes, some businesses ignore online reviews altogether. It's easy to understand why. After all, managing online reviews is a complex and time-consuming process.

But what people who ignore online reviews may not realize is that they're missing out on significant rewards. Businesses that pay attention to online reviews enjoy benefits such as:

  • Receiving honest feedback about their goods and services
  • Building deeper relationships with loyal customers
  • Accessing user generated testimonials for their social media or website
  • Earning a significant boost in search rankings
  • Appearing in local searches
  • Winning new customers who read positive reviews

Along with monitoring your online reviews, you should write responses as needed. If you do receive negative reviews, it's never too late to turn things around.

Customers who write negative reviews may still end up impressed by your commitment to customer service.

Stay in Control of Your Digital Presence

ORM and monitoring your online presence are essential to building strong relationships with your customers. It can help you find ways to build credibility, improve customer experiences, and win new customers.

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