In today’s business world, interaction on social networks is critical when trying to reach both your current and potential customers. However, just as you’re talking about your business, so are others. Customers are leaving reviews on your website, your social media channels and on third party review sites like Google & Yelp. They are commenting on your blogs, on other people’s blogs and maybe even starting a blog of their own specifically about your business. As we touched on in our “What is Your Online Reputation” blog post back in February, your online reputation is something that others can control and you need to have a plan in place to manage it. Your business’s success may depend on it.
So what should your business do when it comes to monitoring your online reputation? Well, it’s simple-adopt a proactive approach by implementing a reputation management program. This means checking social media and review sites on a regular basis and not just when you come to discover a specific negative event to deal with. Good online reputation management is not just about reacting to what people say about you, your brand, your products or services, but more about how and when to react.
If you need to know just how important your business’s online reputation is take a look at the statistics below. They show just how impactful reviews and your online reputation are in influencing consumers.
93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
82% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision, and 60% look at reviews on a weekly basis.
Two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if they are assured they will have a better experience.
What your reviews say matters; 82% of consumers say that the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase (source)
Keep in mind, it takes a lot for someone to submit a positive review, but it does not take very much to go wrong for someone to post a negative review. It also seems like, when reading a positive review, people are skeptical that the review was planted or that it is from a relative. Several positive reviews are necessary to convince someone that ‘there might be something to this company.’ On the contrary, people seem to put more credibility on a single negative review. That’s why we suggest getting ahead of your online reputation and putting a response strategy in place for both positive and negative reviews. This is most definitely actionable reputation management.
We all love to get compliments and it’s easy to respond to them. A simple thank you is very appropriate for a basic flattering comment. However, if they get specific, so can you. “Thank you so much for the kind words. We’re happy you that you enjoyed working with Lisa, our store manager. And yes, she IS great, isn’t she?”
Everyone has the right to express themselves especially when a consumer feels they’ve been wronged; and we promise you they will. Getting a negative review is a tough pill to swallow, but put yourself in the customer’s shoes before responding.
We’ve all been disappointed in a business transaction at some point, so think about how you would want a business to respond to you if you had a bad experience with them. Can you figure out what the consumer really wants from the review? Do they want a replacement for a product that didn’t live up to their expectations? Are they looking for an apology for a bad experience with an employee? Regardless of what the consumer wants, it’s best at this point to publically address the comment and then take the matter offline to clarify and address further. This shows that you care not only about positive feedback, but also the negative. And much like the positive reviews, keep the initial response simple and direct. “We’re so sorry to hear that you were disappointed in the quality of the sweater. Please feel free to connect with me at (email address) so we can see how we can make this right.” Then after you have had some impactful interactions with the customer, it’s very much ok to ask them to consider amending their review. More often than not, they will and what a great way to turn things around!
All in all, the best approach for any reputation management program is to respond to each and every review.
Restoring Your Online Reputation
What if this article is getting to you too late? You’ve had a run of bad luck and your business reputation has been sullied. How do you fight back to restore your good name?
Start by trying to address some of the more recent negative reviews. Show consumers that you are attempting to right the wrongs. It may not have an immediate impact, but it is a great place to start and will help long term.
In addition to that, you should devise a search marketing strategy that increases the ranking of positive content about your business:
• Recirculate old content that you want to show up higher in search engines
• Create loads of new content to be pushed out
• Post video testimonials/recommendations from clients/customers
• Optimize your social channels
• Create inbound links from sites with authority
When all is said and done, THE most important thing you can do to protect your online reputation is to be proactive before it’s too late. Yes, this takes time and effort to set up and execute a reputation management program, but in the end, if you don’t have to battle your way back up the reputation ladder, isn’t it worth it?