What are online reputation management services?
Online reputation management involves creating the best possible online image for your brand. These services work to ensure that positive news and reviews are the first things customers (and potential leads) see when they search for your business online.
For businesses that have negative information about them online, these services deploy various strategies to push undesirable stories and reviews off the first few pages of search results.
For businesses with a positive online image, online reputation management services monitor the web to ensure the reputation stays positive and that the business can respond immediately when anything negative pops up. Online reputation management can also manage your online reviews to ensure they are positive. Some companies conduct a crisis response to any major incidents that could hurt your brand image.
Who needs reputation management services?
Whether your online reputation is good, bad, or nonexistent, chances are that you can benefit from hiring a reputation management service for your business or yourself. The difference lies in what strategies would benefit your company or personal reputation the most.
For example, companies and professionals that already have positive online reputations can benefit from maintenance strategies like review management and website monitoring. Those with poor online reputations may require more advanced strategies to minimize bad search results and highlight positive achievements. They can benefit from review and social media management strategies, especially since reputation services can help companies respond to customer complaints.
Building a brand-new reputation can be difficult; businesses and professionals that don't have an established online reputation can benefit greatly from hiring a reputation management service. These companies can help you establish your brand and claim authority through techniques such as creating content, building your social media profiles, boosting your SEO, and acquiring and managing customer reviews.
Unless you have an experienced in-house team working on your social media presence and SEO, creating your content, gathering and managing customer reviews, and monitoring your website and overall online reputation, you should at least consider using a reputation management service.
Why do you need online reputation management services?
While some people may think that only businesses with poor reputations need this type of service, all businesses and professionals can benefit from some level of online reputation management.
Anyone with a negative reputation can use these companies to help repair their image. These companies employ strategies to reduce or hide negative discourse about the brand. These strategies include creating new, positive content that pushes negative articles farther down in search results. Crisis management strategies can be employed if there's a serious incident that requires immediate attention.
Anyone with a positive online reputation can use these services to ensure their image stays that way. It can be valuable to have these services monitor the web for mentions of your brand. Reputation management firms can promote positive news and reviews about you when they appear online, and if something negative pops up, they can quickly notify you so you can respond and rectify the situation as soon as possible.
How can a negative online reputation hurt you?
More than ever, consumers rely on the internet to determine where they shop, what they buy, where they eat and where they spend their money in general. They conduct research online and read reviews from other consumers to determine the best businesses to use. Knowing the high premium today's shoppers place on what they see online, businesses must keep a positive online image. A few bad reviews or negative online articles can do some serious damage.
Monitoring your online reputation, especially customer reviews, is more important than ever. According to recent surveys, 70% of consumers check multiple review sites when considering buying from a local business. (The average consumer reads 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business.) Nearly half of consumers surveyed said they would not use a business that has less than four stars on review sites.
You want customers to judge your business for themselves. However, if they see some bad reviews online, there is a good chance they'll turn to a competitor that has a better online image. You may never get the opportunity to prove those bad reviews wrong, because shoppers won't give you a chance. As a small business owner, you must actively monitor your company's online reputation to ensure you are meeting the needs of your customers.
What causes a bad reputation?
Bad reputations can be due to things like over-promised and under-delivered services, low-quality products, and poor customer service. However, you can run a great company and still have a bad online reputation. It just takes a few upset customers to tarnish your brand if you don't properly manage your online image, especially if you don't have much of an online presence to begin with.
Businesses can earn a poor reputation by not responding to customers' negative online comments and reviews. Although it's tempting to ignore irate customers, responding to and resolving online complaints can improve your relationships and create loyal customers. Additionally, reading negative reviews can teach you where your products or services are lacking and where you can improve.
Almost as damaging as a bad reputation is no reputation at all. If your business doesn't have important online features like a website, social media accounts, up-to-date listings, reviews or online mentions, customers are less likely to trust your brand. If your business doesn't exist online, it doesn't exist to potential customers.
How long does online reputation management take to work?
There is no set time for how long it takes to see results from online reputation management services; it depends on the state of your brand's image when you start and the strategies your hired service uses. Some businesses may see results within the first month or two, while others may not see substantial improvements for six months to a year. Remember that these services don't offer a quick fix; they employ strategies that take time to pay off. Patient businesses usually reap the rewards of online reputation management services.
What does an online reputation manager do?
An online reputation manager works with you to create a strategy that will best improve or maintain your brand image. They discuss your current reputation and goals with you, and then they create a custom plan that works within your budget and anticipated timeframe. Once you agree on the analysis and campaign plan, the reputation manager works closely with you to implement their strategies and enhance your reputation.
Your dedicated reputation manager that the company assigns to you should be a point of contact you have an ongoing relationship with. These managers often provide periodic reports and analytics on your reputation's and campaign's status, but you can also reach out to them with any questions about your reputation.
What's the difference between reputation management and review management?
Reputation management is a combination of multiple strategies that can be used to maintain or improve your reputation, like content creation, social media management and online monitoring. Review management is one specific part of reputation management.
Customer reviews play a major role in a brand's online reputation, so some companies focus specifically on acquiring and managing reviews as their reputation management strategy. Other companies only use review management as one part of their overall reputation management strategy. Determine whether you simply want help managing reviews or want help with your entire online presence before choosing a provider.