When customers look up your business online, you want them to see the best side of your business. Customers like to know everything about a business before they purchase from it, making online reputation management vital for business growth.
In fact, a recent Birdeye study found that 68% of consumers check online reviews before engaging with a local business. What they see here plays a significant role in choosing your business over your competitors. Our research shows that 85% of consumers choose not to work with a multi-location business over a negative reputation.
“The power of reviews is that it not only secures the leads but influences a customer’s discovery process.”
Marisa Endy-Vanchieri, Sunburst shutters
Managing and building a positive online reputation for your business leads to higher conversion rates, substantial brand value, and a higher growth rate.
That is why businesses must prioritize online reputation management to ensure that a few negative reviews don’t hamper their growth.
This complete guide from Birdeye reputation management experts is for businesses to understand online reputation and take steps to improve it.
Table of contents
- Chapter 1: A beginner’s guide to online reputation management
- Chapter 2: How to get started with online reputation management
- Chapter 3: Online reputation management tools and strategies
- Chapter 4: Online reputation management examples
- Frequently asked questions about online reputation management
- The best reputation management software
Chapter 1: A beginner’s guide to online reputation management
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management, or ORM, is the process of building, monitoring, managing, and influencing the perception of your brand on the Internet.
How well you handle your online reputation decides what your customers see when they look for you across the various search channels. You want them to see you as trustworthy to bring their business to you.
Businesses must monitor all major channels such as Google, review management, social media platforms, and other media channels to manage their reputation and seem trustworthy to customers.
Online reputation management has two parts to it :
- Proactive: Taking active and continuous steps to ensure your business has a positive online perception.
- Reactive: Taking immediate responsive action when a negative comment, article, or mention goes online.
One negative review will not harm your business if you know how to handle it.
What is the primary goal of online reputation management?
The primary goal of online reputation management is to build a positive and trustworthy image of businesses and individuals online, encouraging customers to engage with them.
Why is online reputation management important?
Staying on top of your online reputation can help you stay ahead of your competitors. But there is much more to it.
Here are a few significant advantages of investing in online reputation management:
- Building credibility with customers
- Gaining higher visibility on search
- Generating higher revenue
Let us briefly explore these benefits to understand them better.
- An excellent online reputation means more credibility with customers.
People want to do business with companies they trust. Birdeye research shows that customers that search engines and customer review sites are two of the most critical channels for local business search.
Generating online reviews, positive brand mentions, and establishing a strong presence on local listing sites can benefit local businesses immensely.
It positions your business to be credible and trustworthy amongst potential customers.
“Individuals are more in-tuned or likely to make decisions based on their peers’ feedback and comments than a marketing campaign. Customers take those Amazon-like experiences and expectations and project those to every company they do business with.”– Ashley Cash, Global life
- An excellent online reputation means more visibility on search.
Your customers aren’t the only people who value your online reputation. A strong reputation means your business will rank higher in relevant search results. When customers or other outlets speak highly of you, this signals to search engines like Google that you are a relevant and authoritative brand in your domain. You are more likely to feature in “best <product> searches” because of this phenomenon.
“We have seen an uptick in SERP placement for clients who increase their review solicitation by more than 25%, and Birdeye gives our clients a simpler way to manage their online reputation, empowering them to shape and enhance it.”Sean Collier, COO, Etna Interactive
- A better online reputation means more revenue.
Studies show that a great online reputation means more money for your business. Customers buy from businesses they trust. A positive brand reputation results in higher link clicks on organic results and lower cost per click in advertising campaigns. n fact, Birdeye research shows that 88% of marketers believe that online reputation directly impacts business revenue.
Related read: How to boost Google ad performance by 17%
Factors that contribute to online reputation management
Online reputation is much more than handling negative reviews or focusing on PR. Online reviews, brand mentions, customer comments, business listing accuracy, newspaper citations, marketing campaigns, and many other factors come together to build your online reputation.
The significant factors that contribute to a business’s online reputation can be classified into
- Earned media
- Owned media
- Paid media
- Shared media
Let’s explore these factors briefly.
- Earned media: These are citations and mentions a business has earned through networking, PR (public relations) activities, and media coverage. Earned media includes newspaper articles, third-party review sites, social media mentions, and influencer marketing.
- Owned media: These are brand stories and mentions on all channels owned by the business, including blogs, websites, social media, brand newsletters, and online magazines. Employee and user-generated content also fall under this category.
- Paid media: These are citations and mentions a business pays to have. This includes online advertisements, affiliate marketing programs, social media advertisements, and other native advertisements.
- Shared media: These are brand mentions where the media is shared between the brand and others. Co-branded campaigns, partnerships, and organic social media posts come under this category.
What does reputation management include?
Reputation management includes :
- Constantly monitoring your brand mentions
- Interacting with customers online
- Creating content to improve brand perception
- Running campaigns to boost a positive online presence
- Securing partnerships to boost your online reputation
Reputation management services work on all these channels to ensure that you stay updated on your reputation status and take action whenever necessary.
Online reputation management vs. SEO
Online reputation management and SEO play equally critical roles for businesses to establish a stronger online presence. However, these strategies differ in how they aid business growth and must not be confused.
Some significant differences between online reputation management and SEO are tabulated below:
|Online reputation management (ORM)
|Search engine optimization (SEO)
|ORM strategies focus on multiple channels to evaluate and influence how the business is perceived.
|SEO focuses on generating leads and website traffic via search engines.
|To succeed, ORM needs review management, social media monitoring, and PR.
|SEO depends on content generation, link building, and product/service promotion for best results.
|ORM employs SEO strategies to boost its online presence.
|Reputation management does not always play an active role in SEO campaigns.
|All businesses need ORM irrespective of size or industry.
|While SEO can help all businesses, businesses with new products or minimal existing search activity may not need SEO to grow.
Online reputation management companies employ SEO to help businesses:
- Boost their presence on search engines like Google and Bing
- Reach their target audience by promoting their products and services
- Rank for branded keywords (business name and core products) and attract traffic to their website
- Control the first few search results about their business
- Make it easy for their customers to reach them, call them, or book appointments via Google Business Profile
How do I fix my bad online reputation?
Most businesses can fix their bad online reputation in a few simple steps:
- Analyze online business mentions: Monitor and analyze brand mentions, online reviews on business listings, Google reviews, and social media content to understand the root cause of issues.
- Respond to all reviews and brand mentions: Staying active and responding to negative comments shows that your business is accountable and willing to solve the issue.
- Accept the mistake and apologize: The first step to fixing a bad reputation is acknowledging the issue and showing the customers that you are willing to remedy it.
- Take the conversation offline: Encourage customers to contact you via private message, SMS, and social media DMs. You can also proactively call or message them if you have their information.
- Encourage customers to remove the negative content: Solve customer issues and request them to remove the reviews or social media posts. If not, you can post that the problem has been addressed to balance out the content.
- Spread the positive word online: Usually, only angry customers take to online forums to talk about a brand. Sharing positive reviews on social media, reposting happy customers, and adding positive reviews to websites can turn the tide around.
- Implement SEO: Implement SEO techniques to ensure customers see content from your website and social media channels instead of third-party sources.
How to improve online reputation management?
To improve online reputation management, businesses need to constantly monitor online reviews, brand mentions, encourage customers to post content and reviews, respond to customers, and promote positive reviews online.
Chapter 2: How to get started with online reputation management
This section will discuss how businesses can work on their online reputation management and improve their brand perception.
Building an online reputation management strategy
A strategic approach to online reputation management helps businesses to understand what proactive steps they can take to mold their brand perception. It also ensures that they react professionally to negative reviews and comments without taking a firefighting approach to online reputation.
An online reputation management strategy has the following steps:
- Conducting an audit
- Monitoring online reviews and brand mentions
- Collecting positive online reviews and user-generated social content
- Managing and responding to online mentions and reviews
- Marketing positive reviews and brand mentions
- Developing SEO and PR strategies to boost online reputation
Conducting an audit
Before developing a strategy for managing your online reputation, start by getting the lay of the land. An audit of your business’s existing online reputation will get you there.
To conduct an audit:
- Analyze the consistency and accuracy of your business listings. Check if you list the same business name, phone number, email address, website, and services across all listings.
- Identify the significant channels for customer reviews and brand mentions so that you can allocate time and resources accordingly.
- Understand customer sentiment about your business by checking online reviews, brand mentions, and user-generated content on social media.
- Monitor news channels for recent articles about your business to know what your audience is reading.
A thorough audit will give you an insight into the current state of your online reputation and help you build a strategy to close the gaps as necessary.
Monitoring online reviews and brand mentions
Your brand audit for online reputation must have revealed your business’s most significant review and social media channels.
The next step is to monitor these channels consistently so that you can stay aware of customer feedback and public sentiment. Monitoring online reviews and brand mentions is important to understand the online sentiment and can help you use the right approach to online reputation.
Businesses must monitor all significant channels, such as social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram), industry-specific review and listing sites (such as Avvo and ZocDoc), and Google (search results and reviews).
It is also important that businesses keep all their listing information accurate and updated so that customers can find them easily.
“We love the ability to monitor our reputation across all digital channels, all managed within one platform. We’re provided with real-time access to member feedback and instant email notifications, making it simple to respond quickly to every review received. I highly recommend Birdeye to any business, large or small, needing a robust review management platform.”Jennifer Orth, Firstmark Credit Union
Collecting positive online reviews and user-generated social content
It is a widely accepted fact that unhappy customers usually take to the Internet to share their experiences. Happy customers believe in appreciating in person, which is excellent but unhelpful for your online reputation.
The best way to counter this is to request your happy customers to leave reviews on your website, third-party sites, Facebook, Twitter, and other active channels for your business. As part of their strategy to boost online reputation, businesses must also develop a review generation process to send periodic reminders to customers to leave reviews for them.
Here’s how Mike Bachman Plumbing benefited from piloting Birdeye for one of its office locations over seven months:
- +110% increase in Google reviews
- +68% increase in Facebook recommendations
- +260% increase in BBB reviews
- 5-10% boost in “discovery” searches via their Google Business Profile
The ease of use of this software has been great. The automations have freed up time to focus on other things. Webchat has also been a very effective tool to avoid potential issues and keep customers happy, or at least prevent them from getting overly upset. That’s been a bonus for sure. The website review widget is a nice feature – putting our growing / positive online reputation on prominent display when our customers visit our website– Chad Roylance, Mike Bachman Plumbing
Managing and responding to online mentions and reviews
When your business has an active online presence on more than one channel, which it usually does, it can be challenging to keep track of all reviews and mentions. But your business must have a system to manage (monitor, respond, and raise tickets) every review to make sure you miss not a single customer feedback.
Marketing positive reviews and brand mentions
By building an efficient review generation and monitoring system, you now know what your happy customers are saying online about you. But keeping it to yourself will not help your online reputation.
Leverage all positive reviews and mentions by marketing them across channels like your websites, social media handles, newsletters, and product marketing materials so that they reach your current and potential customers.
Developing SEO and PR strategies to boost online reputation
Owned and earned media channels such as PR, website copy, blogs, and local listing pages contribute significantly to a business’s online reputation. Your business must leverage these channels effectively to build a robust and positive reputation across these channels.
To do so:
- Develop a cohesive content marketing strategy that involves publishing high-quality, relevant content for your audience and promoting your business through PR campaigns.
- Showcase your online reviews, social media mentions, and user-generated content, such as testimonials, to boost SEO and PR channels.
Online review management best practices
A business’s action across many customer touchpoints, marketing channels, and review sites shape its online reputation. Having worked with 150,000+ businesses, Birdeye knows the importance of a consistent and data-driven approach to managing your online reputation.
In this section, we bring you the top tips from reputation management experts for your business across:
- Listing management
- Online review management
- Social media management
Listing management tips for reputation management
Businesses can boost their online reputation by ensuring that their local listings are:
- Consistent in name, phone number, and other business details
- Fully complete and accurate in business description with a detailed list of services, products, and essential branded keywords
- Equipped with photos so that customers can access important information boosting trust in the business
Pro Tip: With Birdeye listings, you can generate attractive and SEO-driven listing descriptions for your business within seconds.
Online review management tips for reputation management
A few things a business can do to strengthen its online reputation via online review management are:
- Encourage customers to leave reviews as soon as the transaction is complete so that the positive reviews outnumber the negative ones.
- Monitor review channels such as Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and other industry-specific review sites
- Respond to all positive and negative reviews promptly and professionally to show that the business monitors reviews.
- Share positive reviews across marketing channels
Social media management tips for reputation management
The growing number of brand interactions on social media warrants a specialized approach to social media reputation management.
Managing your social media reputation has much in common with monitoring your reputation on review sites. Here are the top tips for managing your social media reputation.
Monitor mentions of your brand
You must stay on top of mentions of your business to know when customers talk about your brand positively or negatively. Use social listening tools and turn on notifications for your brand mentions across all social media platforms to avoid missing out on any conversation.
Respond to customer complaints
Get in touch immediately if a customer complains about your business. If you get to the bottom of the problem, the customer will likely be happy to update or delete their original comment. Also, ensure that you stay committed to a resolution and keep communication open so that other social media users can see your brand in action.
Another thing that has saved me lots of headaches is when soliciting an online review (quick and painless with Birdeye!) it gives the customer an option to contact us directly through the platform instead of leaving a negative review. This makes it more likely that someone who wants my attention gets it quickly, and it doesn’t harm our reputation through a 1-star review.”Ian Bush, Elmer Swim School
Encourage customers to post
Just as you should encourage customers to leave reviews, you should also encourage customers to share their experiences with your business on social media. It’s an easy way to create more awareness for your brand. User-generated content is quite popular on social media, and resharing it can boost your online reputation.
In fact, one of the leading experts in local business marketing, Elijah Lee, says that user-generated content or reviews are beneficial in trust-building.
Talking at Birdeye’s user conference on local businesses, Lee said, “If you’re neglecting reviews, you’re missing out on a huge trust factor for a potential consumer to say, ‘Hey, I see what other people are saying about them. I’m going to purchase from them, use their business, or partner with them.’
Almost everybody who’s ever going to make a business decision will see what someone before them has said about you to determine whether or not they want to move forward.”
Encouraging happy customers to post about your business online helps build a strong positive reputation.
Work on public referrals
Happy customers bring more customers via referral. While most customers are happy to send a referral invite by private messages, you can also encourage them to take the social media route. Enable customers to share their referral codes and messages on social media platforms so that you can secure an easy positive mention in addition to other reviews and testimonials. Referrals are a stamp of approval and can go a long way to boost your social media reputation.
Related read: Referral marketing: The complete guide
A verified badge on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook impacts your online reputation. Customers are more likely to trust your brand if it is certified authentic by the platforms. This also ensures that customers get all brand-related information from you to avoid misunderstandings.
Chapter 3: Online reputation management tools and strategies
You can manage your online reputation yourself. However, a good reputation management strategy requires a lot of time and energy to fix listings, request reviews, respond to reviews, keep track of competitor reviews, monitor social media, and generate positive PR content for your business.
If you are a multi-location business, you must do these tasks for each location and each business vertical in some cases. And that can become overwhelming to handle every day as reputation management demands.
Investing in online reputation management software to automate these tasks can improve efficiency while freeing up more time to run your business.
Why do you need a reputation management company for your business
Customer feedback and business mentions are not confined to a few major sites on the Internet. It could be on any social media platform, personal blog, and review site possible. Reputation management companies like Birdeye can help you handle these with ease.
A few ways in which reputation management tools from Birdeye help businesses :
- Review monitoring
- Social monitoring
- Review management
- Review marketing
Traditional customer online feedback still predominantly comes from reviews, even with the current higher social media usage. And there are 100+ review sites for each industry vertical beyond the popular ones like Google, Amazon, Trustpilot, etc.
Reputation management tools like Birdeye help you monitor your reviews on the websites you have a significant presence on so that you can stay updated.
With Birdeye’s review monitoring feature, businesses can:
- Monitor customer reviews across 200+ sites from a single dashboard
- Spot and report fake and spam reviews
Social media has become a crucial meeting point for businesses and customers. These platforms help customers air their grievances, testimonials, recommendations, and opinions on your brand as well. The volume of conversations on these social media platforms is usually high, so using a tool to monitor social media mentions is very useful.
Social listening and monitoring help you understand where your customers are and where you should concentrate your resources to improve brand reputation on social media.
With Birdeye Social, businesses can:
- Track engagement across social media platforms from a single dashboard
- Create customized social media feeds to monitor activity on brand mentions, branded keywords, and specific phrases
- Receive instant notifications when a post, comment, or mention goes live
- Moderate social media feeds by reporting spam and fake comments, posts and mentions with a single click
While review monitoring tools help you spot the latest reviews for your business across the Internet, you must manage them well to build your online reputation. Online review management means responding to positive and negative reviews, actioning on negative feedback, and analyzing them to make business decisions.
Birdeye’s easy-to-use dashboard helps you track all your reviews, respond to them, and raise tickets to ensure your brand’s online reputation stays positive.
With the Birdeye review management tool, businesses can:
- Automate review responses with pre-defined templates to scale review management
- Stay on top of reviews with real-time notifications whenever a review goes live
- Understand and respond to international customers with the built-in translation and respond in the original language feature
- Respond to reviews on the go with Birdeye desktop or mobile app.
Review marketing for online reputation management
Positive reviews, mentions, and testimonials make up for great marketing material. You can increase customer trust in your brand and eliminate any doubt they may have about it by marketing online reviews.
Online reputation management (ORM) requires the brand to proactively share positive reviews, experiences, and updates about its brand to boost its credibility. With review marketing tools from Birdeye, you can share positive reviews across all marketing channels with a single click.
Birdeye allows you to automate review sharing to make things easier too.
Online reputation management is a fast-paced arena and needs brands to stay on top of every review, mention, and feedback. Brands also need detailed reports and analytics to take proactive steps to improve their online reputation instead of being reactive alone.
With Birdeye Reports, businesses can:
- Create custom reports to track metrics that specifically matter to the business, such as review count on niche review sites, ratings over some time, and so on
- Understand how they fare against competitors within a single feed
How to choose the best online reputation management tools
There are many online reputation management tools in the market with advantages and limitations. Here are a few things to check while choosing online reputation management (ORM) tools :
- The tool you choose must be easy to use and require minimal training for your staff. The easier the onboarding process is, the faster you can get to work.
- Look for integration with your CRM, social media platforms, and review sites. Features like review generation, monitoring, and social listening can only work if the ORM tool can integrate with these platforms.
- How easy is it to restrict user access to different designations in your business? You must be able to share edit access to a few, while the others can only access the reports. Reputation management handles sensitive information that needs restricted access.
- Robust reporting and detailed data to help you understand customer sentiment. Ensure that the ORM tool you choose generates reports across channels and helps you break down data by sentiment (positive and negative).
- Businesses need online reputation management tools that can grow with them. Look for scalable solutions that can accommodate enterprise (large-scale multi-location businesses) requirements.
- Reputation management processes need a quick reaction. Work with ORM tools that send you alerts and periodic summaries on the device of your choice.
- Multi-location review generation, management, and monitoring features with built-in AI capabilities. AI can help you uncover trends, respond to customers instantly, and track branded keywords at scale across multiple channels. Learn more about choosing the best reputation management company with our detailed blog post.
Supercharge online reputation management with Birdeye’s AI-driven reputation management tools
Reputation monitoring and management can be an overwhelming task for multi-location businesses with many channels to manage.
And that is why Birdeye has developed BirdAI – a built-in AI tool that helps businesses manage online reputation across locations with ease.
With Birdeye’s AI-driven reputation management platform, businesses can:
- Understand customer sentiment across a high volume of reviews with instant AI-generated review summaries
- Track keywords, trends, competitor reviews, and overall customer sentiment across multiple review sites and customer feedback
- Respond to customer comments on social media and customer reviews with AI-generated branded and human-sounding responses
- Understand and respond to international customers with the built-in translation and respond in the original language feature
How much does online 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 you want to subscribe to, and the number of locations you have. Birdeye offers different plans for businesses with different goals.
We recommend that interested businesses speak with one of our reputation experts to understand better how your business can get the best results from online reputation management.
Chapter 4: Online 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 could send automatic review request texts to all patients. Birdeye integrated with the practice management system Brockport Smiles was already using, so the practice could 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. 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 faced 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 remarkable results that we've seen from businesses using Birdeye.
Frequently asked questions about online reputation management
A good online reputation for a business looks like positive reviews, social media mentions, a verified business website, and a high star rating on Google reviews when someone looks up a business online.
Negative reviews do hurt a brand’s online reputation, especially if they are higher in volume, not responded to, and are more recent than positive reviews.
Online reputation management strategy helps brands manage reputation by detailing the course of action for proactive and reactive brand interactions.
The three significant elements of measuring online reputation are online reviews, social media mentions, and competitor analysis. If they are highly positive, then you have a positive online reputation.
Brands can improve customer sentiment online, grow their business across more locations, and establish a stronger brand faster in the market by hiring online reputation management services.
Businesses can create a positive online reputation by creating positive PR content for your company, requesting happy customers to post online reviews and by resharing the review across other marketing channels.
The best reputation management software
If you’re looking for the best reputation management software, choose Birdeye, 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 web chat and text messaging.
Sign up for a free demo now.