Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management

What is reputation management?

Reputation management is the act of proactively managing what consumers learn about your business online—usually through Google, social media channels like Facebook, or another one of the hundreds of review sites on the Internet.

It’s important to listen to your customers and empower them to become your voice and your advocates. Testimonials from existing customers provide social proof of excellence to your prospects, turning existing customers into your growth engine. Let’s take a second to explain how effective reputation management can help your business.

Why Customers Trust Online Reviews

There’s a simple reason why online reviews can make such a big impact on your business: customers trust them.

Customer reviews provide fresh, organic, highly relevant user-generated content for your business, showing search engines like Google, that your business is active. They offer customers unbiased social proof that your business is the real deal.

That is why reviews play such a big part in shaping your online reputation. Studies confirm that at least 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. What’s also interesting to note is that 80% of consumers are also writing reviews for others to read. Therefore, the review ecosystem is not only surviving but is actually thriving.

Get More Online Reviews

Customers trust reviews because they realize that reviews show the authentic experiences of real customers. The impact of reviews on a business can be so much that it can quite literally make or break it. Studies confirm that an increase in rating by just 1 “star” can result in a 5-9% increase in revenue. Here are some factors that can lead a potential customer to discover your business online:

  • If the reviews are positive
  • You have "fresh" recent reviews
  • You have lots of reviews
  • Your business is highly rated
  • Your reviews are authentic
  • You respond to both positive and negative reviews promptly with a positive and helpful demeanor

How online reviews help your business get discovered

Since customers find reviews important, search engines do too. Online reviews provide fresh, organic content for your business, and are displayed in search engine results. Therefore, they have a massive impact on your search engine ranking (See Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Small Business).

Search engines are the roadways that help direct targeted traffic to your site. It’s like 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 your “signals” also need to be accurate for your business to be discovered online- such as Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), and its consistency across every platform wherever your business appears.

Why Online Reviews Matter

‘Strong reputation’ or ‘Positive Reputation’ – What matters more?

When asked, most businesses will say that positive online reputation drives their growth. While this may be partially true, it is definitely not the entire story. If a business has 5 online reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars, would you say that this company has a positive online reputation? Most people would say - Yes!

Now, if this company has a competitor, with 500 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars, which company are you more likely to go with? Our money would be on the competitor. Both companies have a positive online reputation, but the competitor has a much stronger online reputation due to their large volume of reviews.

A strong online reputation has the power to attract customers. It’s about psychology and strength in numbers. The company with 500 reviews will probably have several negative reviews as well but that won’t have a big impact. A study by Spiegel Research Center showed that customers prefer businesses with some negative reviews over those with none at all. After all, even the best businesses get negative reviews.

When a potential customer looks at the company’s review profile, he or she is looking at the collective testimony of 500 people. Such strong social proof shows customers that the business will deliver quality service.

Strong Online Reputation

How can you create a ‘Strong’ online reputation?

To build a strong online reputation, businesses need to get reviews from all their customers (not just from happy ones) and slowly create an impressive online presence. Now, on the other hand, some businesses leave their online reputation management to chance and leave it to their customers to take the initiative. Doing this isn’t going to end well - even if they have a killer product and tons of satisfied customers.

If businesses aren’t proactive with review requests, they are putting their reputation at risk. Unhappy or angry customers will vent their frustration online and leave negative reviews, while happy or satisfied customers have little incentive to seek out review profiles and write a glowing review for the business.

The voice of your customer can be a critical tool in your marketing arsenal. Make sure you hear what they have to say. Be proactive – reach out and get their feedback. Interact with your customers – keep the channels of conversation live at all times. Regular interaction with your customers can help place your business on the right trajectory.

Since your reputation is dependent on online reviews, it’s important to stay on top of customer feedback.

A 4-Step Guide to Getting Started

So now you know how important it is for your business to stay on top of its reputation. There’s a lot of different aspects to how your business appears online. We’ll go into some more detail later, but let’s talk about some easy things you can do to get started.

Step 1- Claim Your Google My Business Profile

The first thing that potential customers will see when they do a Google search for your business is your Google My Business profile. It’s important to claim your profile so that you can make a great first impression. Once your profile is claimed, you can add important information like your phone number, address, and hours of operation.

Don’t have a Google My Business page? Find out how to setup Google My Business page and optimize it.

Step 2- Send Text and Email Review Requests

Text or email review requests. Sending an email or a text (SMS) is a great way to motivate customers to review your business. The key is to make leaving a review as easy as possible. When asking for reviews via email or text, make sure to leave a direct link to your business’s profile so they don’t have to click through multiple pages to find you. The easier the process, the better your results.

An easy place to start is sending out emails or texts 24-48 hours after the service. The sooner you send the review request, the better your odds will be of getting a review. After all, people’s memories fade quickly.

Step 3- Market Your Reviews on Social Media

Reviews don’t just have to stay on reviews sites. A genuine testimonial from a real customer can speak volumes about your business. Share reviews across your social media sites so that all your followers can see them. To post Google reviews on your Facebook page, just:

  • Find the review you want to share. Or share a review that with an effective response.
  • Select the reviewer's name.
  • Make sure the correct review displays.
  • Click the "Share" button.
  • Copy and paste the URL into your Facebook status and it will be shared.

Step 4- Display Reviews on Your Website

Social media isn’t the only place you can share your reviews. You can make sure that all of your website visitors can see how effective the content is with online reviews.

If your business’s website was created on WordPress, there’s a “Google Reviews Widget” that will display your business' reviews in a live feed on the sidebar. There are many other online tools that will help you embed your reviews if your website wasn’t created on WordPress.

What Else Can I Do to Effectively Manage My Online Reputation?

Best practices for successful online review management

There’s no magic bullet that can create a great online reputation, but there are a mix of different strategies you can use.

Now imagine if all this was taken care of automatically by a review management software, so you can focus on running your business. That is exactly what a review management software does. It can help you save time on all of these processes.

You can save a lot of time and effort with automation

Let’s talk about some specific ways a review management tool like BirdEye can help your business grow revenue.

Ten Ways an Online Reputation Tool like BirdEye Can Help your Business

1. Target the sites where your customers are - You need to be where your customers are talking about you. Is it Google, Facebook or another more industry-specific site? While it is important to track the review giants, don’t forget the ‘not so famous’ sites, where you may find more qualified leads.

For example, let’s say a customer searches for “lawyers near me” on Google. High up the results will be attorney specific review sites like Avvo. Or a search for “doctors in Boston” will bring up healthcare review sites like Zoddoc, HealthGrades, Vitals, and RateMDs. When booking a hotel or making a restaurant reservation, you rely on scores on TripAdvisor and Expedia, and so on.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to keep track of the hundreds of review sites on the Internet. Luckily, there’s an easy way you can impress all of your potential customers, no matter where they discover you: Review Monitoring.

With BirdEye’s Review Monitoring, it is easy to track all reviews from Google and Facebook to more industry-specific sites for lawyers, dentists, realtors, and doctors, all in one place on BirdEye’s dashboard.

Reputation Management Dashboard

2. Turn your customers into your marketing engine - 92% of customers agree that online reviews influence their buying decisions. This implies that your ability to generate new reviews can either make or break your business. That makes it imperative for businesses to encourage consumers to write reviews for them online.

You also want to make sure that the reviews you’re getting are a genuine reflection of their experience. So engaging with the customer at the right time which is when you are fresh on their minds, is important. Birdeye has all this figured out to make your task easy. It allows you to request reviews via Text or Email.

3. Request reviews via Text or Email - The easier you make it for customers to write a review, the more reviews your business will get. BirdEye’s easy to customize and deploy review request templates take the reviewer straight to the review sites instead of having them jump through hoops to write you a review. It’s simple, easy, and effective.

Customer Experience

One of the important factors in getting new reviews is the timing. Your review requests should go out soon after the customer’s interaction with your business, that is when you are still fresh on their minds. If the customer’s experience with you was good, you would get to know instantly what worked for the customer through the appreciation.

On the other hand, if the customer is not satisfied, you’ll know right away. It will allow you to immediately take action and maybe even convert the negative experience to a great one.

Reputation Management Alert

4. Turn Angry Customers into Happy Ones - Eventually, you’re going to get a negative review. Even the best businesses get a few. The first step is to take a deep breath. Next, provide a polite response that seeks to find and resolve the problem the customer experienced. Quick and decisive action can turn an angry customer into a happy one.

When responding to negative reviews, keep in mind the following:

Don’t react; respond - Fight the impulse to be angry and defensive. Don’t forget your responses are public. Take this as an opportunity to show how much you care about each and every customer.

Propose a solution - “I’m sorry” is not enough. Show that you are taking the necessary steps to improve.

Follow-up in private - Refer the client to a relevant employee for an in-depth conversation. This shows that you are taking extra time to make the client satisfied.

BirdEye makes it easy for businesses to stay on top of review responses. You can even create service tickets for reviews that need attention and assign them to relevant people in the company. This will ensure that each negative review gets the attention it deserves and one of your employees can personally attend to the customers' concerns. This also gives you the ability to address issues immediately and win back customer loyalty.

Service Tickets

5. Thank Your Happy Customers - Thank your happy customers for their feedback and show that you genuinely care about their satisfaction. This not only shows them that you care about their business but makes prospective customers think “Hey, they have great personable customer care.” To make your job easier, BirdEye has built-in templates to help you respond to reviews automatically.

Review Response Templates

6. Share Your Reviews Across Social Media - With each new review, your customers are creating fresh, user- generated content for your business. All your efforts in getting these new reviews will be wasted if your future customers do not even see the best ones.

You don’t have to go through and look at every single review posted about your business. A review management service like BirdEye can auto-share 5-star reviews, so all your followers can see the authentic opinions of your customers. Potential customers will see how other definitive proof of your business’ excellence.

Happy customers are a powerful marketing engine. BirdEye makes your customers your brand ambassadors by helping you share glowing reviews on social platforms, your website, etc.

7. Add stunning reviews to your business website - Prospect customers are more likely to choose you if they see proof of your brand’s quality & reliability. We also offer a review widget for your website, so that current and future customers can see those great reviews each time they visit your site.

BirdEye’s review widget allows you to display a live feed of reviews across the Internet by pasting a single line of code into your website.

Promote Online Reviews

8. Discover topics & insights - Reviews contain valuable information that can fuel your company’s growth. Once you get lots of customer reviews, you can take a close look in order to find areas where your business can improve.

With our advanced NLP engine Athena, BirdEye analyzes insights from reviews and social media in one place. This helps businesses find the root cause of the problem and take appropriate actions. Check out a fascinating case study showing how Blaze Pizza used BirdEye Insights to accurately measure the increasing volume of online customer feedback across social channels, and as a result, opened one new location every 5 days!

Customer Feedback Insights

9. Keep track of the competition - Of course, it’s also important to know what your competitors’ customers are saying as well. By tracking the customer sentiment of your competitors, you can get a better idea of areas where your business needs to improve.

The BirdEye dashboard allows you to keep track of the competition. Our NLP engine provides competitive insights, so you can see how well you're performing relative to businesses in the area. You’ll know exactly what competitors’ customers like and dislike about their services.

Reputation Management Insights

10. Use social listening- Review sites aren’t the only place where customers are talking about your business. There are millions of conversations taking place on social media every day. A customer might complain about your business on Twitter. If you catch this, you might be able to provide a quick response and change customer perception.

Social listening takes this to the next level by collecting information across all of your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It finds trends after monitoring mentions of your business and related topics. Make sure that you can respond to every customer mention in a timely manner.

Social Media Reputation Management

Does Reputation Management really get results?

It did for Academy Mortgage. By using BirdEye to help with its online reputation, Academy Mortgage saw its Google reviews increase by 6 times and Facebook reviews increase by 3 times. On an employee-level, most of Academy Mortgage’s employees at least doubled their review volume, and all earned a 4.7 average rating or higher. One employee increased review volume by 10x.

With BirdEye, you can make sure that your business is supported on every step of the journey from reviews to revenue. Our platform gives businesses the tools they need to get new reviews and leverage them for more customers. Watch a demo to see why more than 50,000 businesses use BirdEye to drive growth.

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Reputation Management Tactics

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