Your business’s reputation is a valuable asset. Online reputation management can help you leverage it to its fullest potential. In this guide, we’ll go over how you can use online reputation management to rank higher on search, get chosen by more customers, and be the best business in your area.
Chapter 1: A beginner’s guide to online reputation management
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Online reputation management is the act of proactively creating and managing customer perception about your brand online. It determines how people perceive your business when they find you online. It primarily includes your online reviews and the comments that people leave about your business on social media.
Business reputation management is how a brand is viewed and perceived by its customers, stakeholders, and the market as a whole. It is the most valuable asset that a business can
have. When customers think of doing business with you, they want to be assured that not only will the product satisfy their needs, the experience of doing business with your company will be great as well.
Reputation management is the process of monitoring, addressing any content or customer feedback that could damage your brand’s reputation, and using strategies to prevent problems from arising in the first place.
What is reputation management in SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Reputation Management is the practice of managing what people see in search engine results about your business. There are many different measures, such as public relations and link building to shape online narratives that appear on the top listing for keywords related to yours.
The stronger your brand’s reputation, the greater is the willingness to pay for your product or service and that results in greater profits for your business. Your brand’s reputation is therefore critical for your success. This is why your brand’s reputation has actual value.
A brief history of business reputation management
Business reputation management is by no means a new idea. Ever since the dawn of commerce, people have wanted to do business with organizations they’ve felt they could trust. So businesses have always aimed to build a great reputation that inspired trust and credibility.
With the rise of the Internet, business reputation management moved online. Consumers gradually started seeking out the experience of others who have had an experience with businesses they are interested in on review sites and social media. In other words, they look at businesses’ online reputation.
Most businesses will say a high overall star rating makes their business look great to customers. While this is partially true, it’s not the entire story. If a business has 11 online reviews with an average rating of 5.0 stars, would you say that this company has a strong online reputation? Some people might say yes.
While both companies have a good overall star rating, customers typically also consider factors like the number and recency of reviews.
So here’s the moral of the story: your business’s online reputation isn’t determined by any single metric like star rating. It’s important to take a holistic view of how customers are talking about your business online.
While a business with lots of reviews probably will have some negative reviews here and there, it usually shouldn’t be an issue. Customers prefer businesses with some negative reviews over those with a perfect 5-star rating. A few negative reviews prove that your reviews are authentic.
Why you need an online reputation management strategy
Building a strong online reputation doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes work from the business. Even if you are providing a great customer experience, it’s possible that your online reputation doesn’t reflect this.
There’s a reason why this happens. Most of the time, the customers who are most likely to leave a review are those who’ve had a strong negative experience. As a result, your online reputation might end up reflecting the opinion of your displeased customers.
Luckily, there’s a way to fix this. An online reputation management strategy can ensure that the reviews posted on sites like Google and Facebook are a true representation of your business’s customer experience.
Benefits of online reputation management
Staying on top of your online reputation can help you stay ahead of your competitors. Here are a few of the benefits of online reputation management.
- A great online reputation means more credibility with customers
We can’t stress this enough: people want to do business with companies they trust. However, if a potential customer has never heard of you before, they don’t know if they can trust you or not. That’s where online reputation can help. If you have lots of great reviews, you can build credibility with customers.
- A great online reputation means more visibility on search
Your customers aren’t the only people who value your online reputation. A great online reputation means your business will rank higher in relevant search results (more on this is the next section).
- A better online reputation means more revenue
Studies show that a great online reputation means more money for your business. In fact, customer reviews produce an 18% average increase in sales revenue.
Online reputation management and SEO
Search engines value online reviews just as your customers do. Online reviews provide fresh, organic content for your business and are meant to show the genuine experiences of your customers. Since Google aims to provide the best search results for customers, reviews provide them with valuable information.
Of course, reviews aren’t the only factor that matters for search. Search engines are the roadways that help direct targeted traffic to your site. Think about the signs on the side of a freeway that tell you there’s gas, food, and a place to sleep off a particular exit. If you don’t have your signs up, search engines won’t know that they can send traffic your way.
So the signals you send to search engines shouldn’t just include reviews. Your accurate and up-to-date contact information is needed to be discovered online – such as Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), opening hours, and more. It’s also important to make sure that this information is consistent across the Internet.
Related: Read more on the impact of online reputation management on SEO to learn how you can generate more reviews and increase search ranking.
Chapter 2: How to get started with online reputation management
Building an online reputation management strategy
Before you dive into managing and responding to reviews, let’s talk about how you can build a strong online reputation management strategy.
Keep a close eye on how customers are talking about your business on sites like Facebook and ones that are important in our industry like Avvo for Lawyers and ZocDoc for doctors. You’ll also want to read all of the reviews your business gets on Google.
Ask your customers to leave reviews. You probably have plenty of customers who would be happy to do this. They just need a little nudge.
Keep track of your reviews from all over the Internet and respond to reviews accordingly. It doesn’t matter if they’re negative or positive.
Once you have lots of great reviews, use them as social proof. Share your reviews on your website and on social media.
If you’ve done those four steps correctly, you should have prospects who want to contact your business. Make sure it’s easy for new leads to communicate with your business. Your contact information on listing sites should always be accurate, and you should give customers easy access to your business with a textable number or Webchat option on your website.
Social media reputation management
Of course, it’s also important to keep an eye on what customers are saying about your social media. As a business owner, the last thing you want is for a negative post about your business to go viral on Facebook or Twitter.
Managing your social media reputation has a lot in common with monitoring your reputation on review sites. Here are three tips for managing your social media reputation.
- Monitor mentions of your brand – It’s important you stay on top of mentions of your business so you know the moment customers talk about your brand in a positive or negative light.
- Respond to customer complaints – If a customer complains about your business, get in touch right away. If you get to the bottom of the problem, the customer will likely be happy to update or delete their original comment.
- Encourage customers to post – Just as you should encourage customers to leave reviews, you should also encourage customers to share your business on social media. It’s an easy way to create more awareness for your brand.
How to build a stellar online reputation
So now that you know why your business’s reputation is so important, let’s talk about how you can create a stellar online reputation. We’ve put together these ten tips to lay the foundation for a great online reputation and future business growth.
1. Aim to provide quality service
The first step in building a great online reputation is providing a fantastic customer experience from start to finish. Make sure you’re making an effort to consistently delight your customers.
Next, you want to make sure your customers are sharing their great experiences on review sites and social media. Remember, a business with 500 reviews looks a lot better than a business with just 5. There’s an easy trick to getting more reviews: just ask.
2. Send review requests to all of your customers
You’ll make leaving reviews easy for your customers by sending review requests via text and email. All they’ll have to do is click the link and write a review.
It’s important to send review requests to ALL of your customers if you want to see your review volume grow quickly. A business with lots of reviews will probably have a few negative reviews, but that shouldn’t be an issue. Customers prefer businesses with some negative reviews over those with a perfect 5-star rating. A few negative reviews prove that your reviews are authentic.
3. Be on the first page of Google search
75% of users don’t make it past the first page of Google. By taking the steps to rank higher on search, your business will get discovered by more customers.
To increase your business’s visibility on search, get more reviews, and make sure that your business listings are accurate across the Internet. It’s estimated that reviews and listings together account for more than 25% of ranking factors.
4. Monitor all relevant review sites
Customers are always deciding if they want to buy from your business. There are hundreds of online review sites that can help them make their decision. Bad reviews on one site can turn customers away from your business and towards a competitor. Make sure you’re keeping track of every review site your business appears on to prevent damage to your reputation.
5. Engage with all of your customers
Responding to reviews shows you care about all of your customers. Responding to a positive review is a great way to show appreciation and build loyalty.
On the other hand, responding to a negative review in the right way can help turn an angry customer into someone who’s ready to have a conversation with you. They could even become an advocate of your business based on the way you handle the situation.
6. Treat negative feedback as an opportunity to improve
Remember, negative reviews can also be an opportunity to improve your customer experience. For example, if you see a customer complaining about something like “a long wait time”, you might want to explore how you can make your processes more efficient.
Use the insights you get from reviews to better understand which aspects of your business customers love and which aspects need to improve. This can help make your business more efficient. It will also give you a chance to show your customers you care about their satisfaction.
7. Fight slander against your business
Occasionally, you might get a bad review from someone you don’t recognize. They might even be reviewing the wrong business. In this case, put your evidence out there strongly and politely so potential customers know they’re looking at a fake review. This shows the public that the review doesn’t actually represent your business.
Most review sites offer businesses the ability to flag spam or slanderous reviews. Make sure you use this functionality to report such reviews.
8. Make sure that your listing information is accurate
Incorrect business listing information can spread across the Internet and seriously damage your business. There are only four major data aggregators that distribute listing information, and that means a wrong address or phone number can quickly spread all over the Internet.
That doesn’t just mean confused and angry customers. If potential customers can’t find the information they need, they’ll likely choose your competition instead.
Inaccurate information can also impact your search rankings on Google. So make sure that your business information is accurate on listings everywhere.
Related: Want to check if your business listings are accurate? Check out our free Scan My Business tool to find out if your contact information is accurate across the Internet.
9. Keep track of your competitors
It doesn’t matter if customers are trying to find a new restaurant or a new dental practice. They’re probably going to look up multiple different businesses online.
That’s why it’s important to see what customers are saying about your competitors on review sites.
If there are areas where your competitors are doing well and where you’re falling short, you can use their reviews to figure out what you can do differently to stay ahead.
10. Stay active on social media
Customers keep track of what friends and family are saying on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so make sure your business is posting regularly.
Recent news about your business, a new offering, a promotion, and great customer reviews are all easy things to share with your social media followers.
How reputation management software can help businesses
You can manage your online reputation yourself. However, reputation management requires a lot of time and energy to fix listings, request reviews, respond to reviews, and keep track of competitor reviews. These tasks can become overwhelming if you don’t have dedicated resources and your business is expanding.
Consider investing in an online reputation management software to automate these tasks and free up more time to run your business.
A tool like Birdeye can make the process of managing your reviews significantly easier. Here are a few ways online reputation management software can help your business:
Your customers aren’t just on big sites like Facebook or Google. Customers can find your business all over the Internet, which means it’s important for you to stay on top of your online reputation on all platforms. Of course, this isn’t easy. It’s hard for business owners to go through every single review site manually. There just isn’t enough time in the day.
1. Stay on top of customer reviews
Luckily, with Birdeye Review Monitoring, it’s easy to track all of your reviews from Google and Facebook. You can also track reviews on more industry-specific sites for lawyers, dentists, realtors, and, doctors. Birdeye tracks reviews from over 200 sites, making it easier than ever to manage your online reputation with one easy-to-use dashboard.
2. Generate new customer reviews
The more reviews you have, the better your business looks. While sending review requests can help, it’s tough to manually send out emails and texts to every single customer.
With Birdeye, you can send review requests to your customers automatically. Plus, Birdeye can integrate with your customer relationship management or practice management system and generate new reviews while you do the hard work of taking care of your business.
3. Manage reviews from all over the internet
Want to make sure that you’re dealing with negative reviews quickly and effectively? Birdeye gives businesses automatic notifications every time they get a bad review. That way, it’s easy for your team to deal with these problems before they escalate.
Birdeye makes responding to reviews easy. If you’d like to respond to a review, all you need to do is type out a response within the Birdeye dashboard. Then your response will show up on the site where the review originally appeared.
Don’t have time to respond to every review? You can also use Birdeye to set up automatic review response templates. You can customize these responses so they fit your brand voice and circumstances.
4. Amplify your reviews on social media
We can’t say it enough: customers value reviews. So why not share them on social media? With a review management tool, sharing reviews on social media and on your website is easier than ever.
When you get a 5-star review, you can share it automatically on platforms like Facebook and Twitter using Birdeye. Your social media followers can see social proof from any one of the 200+ review sites that Birdeye monitors.
Birdeye also makes it easy to showcase reviews on your website with an easy-to-install review widget. All you have to do is copy and paste a simple line of code. After that, website visitors can see testimonials from all your happy customers.
Reputation management examples
Want to know how businesses use reputation management to get results? Here are a couple of real-life examples.
Brockport Smiles is a dental practice based in Brockport, New York. Even though they were delivering a great patient experience, Brockport Smiles only had 3 reviews on Google. The practice decided to use Birdeye’s software to collect more reviews.
With Birdeye, Brockport Smiles was able to send automatic review request texts to all patients. Birdeye integrated with the practice management system Brockport Smiles was already using, so the practice was able to send texts and emails to customers on the same day as their appointment.
The results speak for themselves. The practice now has more than 400 reviews on Google. Now, potential patients looking for a new dentist can find them in the top search results and see social proof assuring that Brockport Smiles stands ahead of the competition.
Accent Roofing is a family-owned roofing business in the Atlanta area. While the company had a long record of satisfied customers, they were facing a stigma against roofers in their area. Since their state did not require licensing for roofers to operate, Accent Roofing realized they needed to build credibility with potential customers.
The business turned to Birdeye to collect reviews from customers. Birdeye’s review software made the process easy. All employees had to do was enter the customer’s name and email or phone number at the end of the job to send a review request. With Birdeye’s help, Accent Roofing now has more than 2,000 reviews.
Of course, Birdeye didn’t just help Accent Roofing with collecting reviews. Monitoring reviews is now easier than ever. Employees can keep track of reviews posted across the Internet within the Birdeye dashboard.
Related: Want to see more reputation management examples? Check out these awesome results that we’ve seen from businesses using Birdeye.
Reputation management cost
Investing in reputation management software is totally worth it. It’s an easy and efficient way to rank in the top search results—increasing visibility and building credibility for your business while saving your team valuable time.
The price of reputation management software can vary based on the size of your business, the number of services that you want to subscribe to, and the number of locations that you have. Birdeye offers different plans for businesses with different goals.
We recommend that interested businesses speak with one of our reputation experts to better understand how your business can get the best results from online reputation management.
The best reputation management software
If you’re looking for the best reputation management software, choose Birdeye. Birdeye is the most comprehensive solution on the market. G2 has named Birdeye the #1 online reputation management software for 15 consecutive quarters among many other awards and recognitions.
No other company on the market can compete with Birdeye’s all-in-one platform. Only Birdeye allows businesses to send automatic review requests, respond to customer reviews, send surveys, get actionable insights, fix listings across the Internet, and easily connect with customers through webchat and text messaging.
Originally published Oct 13, 2021 1:30 PM, updated Aug 25, 2022