Reputation plays an integral role in a business’ success or failure. A negative review or poor experience can spread like wildfire in today’s digital world, making online reputation management a must when companies are crafting their marketing strategy. It is not enough to deal with issues as they arise and hope for the best; being proactive and having a plan can help curb problems and build brand trust.

According to Reputation X, “Americans tell more people about poor service (15 people on average) than about good experiences (11).” Online review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and numerous industry-specific rating sites are some of the places customers visit when researching a business or want to share their experience. That means that you must continuously monitor these platforms and respond to customer comments.

Respond to both negative and positive comments. Remember the adage, “Silence is golden”? This saying does NOT apply in today’s consumer-savvy world. Quickly addressing a customer’s complaint to learn more about the issue and providing a positive resolution shows consumers that the business listens and cares. Otherwise, negative reviews can have a damaging effect on a company’s brand. Learn from what people are saying to implement meaningful changes and prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.

At the same time, build trust and relationships by replying to customers who had a positive experience and thanking them for sharing. Many companies focus only on the negative reviews when showing appreciation for 5-star reviews can also be beneficial. Reputation X notes that “Every additional one-star Yelp rating causes an increase in the business’s revenue as high as 9%” (e.g., improving from a 3-star rating to a 4-star rating) while “reviews that only gave 1 or 2 stars failed to convert 86% of prospective customers.”

Consumers trust online reviews, so making a conscious effort to get more people to share their positive experiences and turn around the perceptions of people who had a poor experience can boost your bottom line.

How to Manage Online Reputation More Effectively

The vast amount of information available on the Internet can be overwhelming. Combing through search results can be tedious and still leave gaps in data.

Take advantage of online reputation management tools. You don’t have to scour the Internet by hand. Programs like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Reputology, Trackur, and Mentionlytics do the work for you and put data at your fingertips. You can track your online brand presence and see where your business name and other keywords you select are popping up in articles, reviews, and comments across the Web. Alerts can let you know where to focus your attention and what issues you need to stay on top of before they get out of hand.

Leverage social listening. These tools can also play an integral role in crafting a transparent reputation management strategy. Engage with your audience on social media. Monitor all of your relevant channels and remember to:

  • Respond quickly and consistently.
  • Answer questions.
  • Resolve problems.
  • Acknowledge recommendations.
  • Offer solutions.
  • Build connections.

Set expectations internally regarding who has the authority to respond and offer compensation, and determine what issues require management approval. Train your frontline employees on how to respond professionally and not engage in emotional conversation online.

Building a Positive Reputation Takes Time: Get Started Today

Just one negative comment can cancel out the impact of dozens of positive ones. Remember, once a business has broken the consumer’s sacred trust, it takes a long time to rebuild its brand and reputation. Stay on top of online reputation management so you know exactly where your business stands and what people are saying. Your marketing strategy needs to not only focus on how to ensure customers have a positive experience, but also how to minimize the impact if they do not.

Through YGL Enterprises’ “Focused Strategy – Marketing Solutions Realized” approach, we help you incorporate online reputation management as part of your overall marketing strategy and effectively manage your brand presence online and off. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

 

Author Bio:

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.