What is Reputation Management?
Did you know that 87% of executives believe managing reputation risk is more important than other strategic risks? This statistic shows the kind of impact a strong reputation management strategy can have on your business.
So, what exactly is reputation management?
Reputation management is all about defining the way important stakeholders perceive your business. These stakeholders include your customers, suppliers, the government, and other third parties that influence your business operations and its sales.
Business and brand reputation management is especially integral in today’s digital marketing landscape. It’s not enough for a business to just have happy customers and provide a positive customer experience. Businesses also need to learn how to create positive content, engage with customers on review sites, and promote their brand on social media.
In this article, we’ll break down the importance of online reputation management (ORM) and the platforms you can use to grow a stellar business reputation.
Let’s get started!
Why is Reputation Management Important?
For local home service businesses, having a good reputation both offline and online is critical to long-term success. Here’s why your business should gear up and work towards creating a positive online reputation:
- Just one negative review can damage your business’s reputation and sales: A bad review can be incredibly damaging to a business’s sales if not handled well. In fact, 96% of consumers claim they wouldn’t patronize a business because of negative reviews.
- Your business’s reputation heavily influences buying decisions: 45% of customers read reviews and do research online before buying products and services. Despite the quality of your actual service, potential customers that see negative content or even negative comments about your business could be turned off and decide against working with you.
- Reputation management is a key marketing tool that directly appeals to today’s digital audience: A solid reputation management plan often covers the various facets of a business’s online existence. This includes social media, social networks, email marketing, website management, and more! Marketing and reputation management go hand in hand and can directly influence sales and customer engagement.
- Reputation management allows your business to improve its transparency and trust with customers: Your customers want to trust you. They want to engage with a business that is honest and owns up to its mistakes, online and offline. Businesses often partner with reputation management companies to build that rapport and drive customer loyalty.
Where Can You Manage Your Business’s Online Reputation?
To improve your business’s online presence (and even its search engine optimization—SEO), you have to monitor the key platforms where your customers are. Whether you want to collect customer feedback, respond to customer reviews, or even partner with another local business to share positive word-of-mouth—the use cases are plenty.
To get started, here are a few social media platforms and online review sites your business should be on:
- Google My Business (GMB): Google is the most powerful search engine and offers GMB as a tool for businesses to manage their business listing and reputation. Businesses collect star ratings, respond to positive and negative feedback, and even get Google Guaranteed to earn a better online perception.
- Yelp: Yelp is a community-based review platform that allows businesses to promote their services to new and existing customers in their local areas. Customers can leave star ratings and share negative or positive reviews of businesses, helping other
“Yelpers” out when they’re looking for a service.
- Facebook: The biggest social media network in the world, Facebook offers businesses the opportunity to set up their own Facebook Business Page. Businesses often use Facebook to engage in conversations with customers directly and promote their services. Customers can “recommend” a business and even share that they’ve visited your location(s).
- HomeAdvisor: HomeAdvisor is an excellent platform for service-based businesses like electricians and plumbers to be on. Customers post reviews based on their experience with the home-service professional and can also leave ratings based on quality, value for money, and customer service.
- Nextdoor: Nextdoor allows local businesses to connect with residents in the vicinity. The community posts updates about the businesses in their neighborhood and also exchanges recommendations. Nextdoor reviews are considered more legitimate, due to the vetting process for each member on the site.
- Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is both a business review site and a consumer advocacy group for B2C and B2B businesses in North America. BBB operates as an objective database for customers to read about a business. The bureau supplies information on any complaints registered against the business, customer reviews, and the assigned BBB rating.
Keep in mind that customers’ social media posts can also influence your business’s online image. Today, customers flock to their Instagram or Facebook accounts, or even record YouTube videos retelling their amazing or negative experiences. These posts can have a viral effect that’s sometimes even more impactful than a Yelp review!
Reputation Management Myths
Home-service and local businesses often have misconceptions surrounding the need for online reputation management services. Here are the top three myths debunked:
Myth: Only big businesses and international corporations need reputation management.
A massive, international corporation could very likely combat and come back from a negative online reputation. It’s actually small and local businesses that may not be able to withstand a negative reputation as easily. Local businesses have a smaller margin for error, and once their local reputation is tarnished, it may be extremely difficult to gain or retain customers.
Myth: Reputation management is really expensive.
Reputation management doesn’t always have to come with an expensive digital marketing agency or highly-coveted public relations firm. Small businesses can improve their own tactics, learn on-the-job, or partner with a purpose-built customer communications platform to refine their online reputation.
Myth: Our services speak for themselves. Negative online reviews won’t affect our business that much anyway.
Businesses often take the impact of negative reviews for granted. Just one bad review can turn away potential customers who stumble upon it, even if your business has a hundred other 5-star ratings. In fact, 94% of consumers will completely avoid a business with bad reviews and a negative online reputation.
Reputation Management with Signpost
In today’s digital landscape, reviews and reputation can make or break a business.
If you’re a business owner, it’s likely that you’ve already felt the effects of online reputation and have discovered the need for a reputation manager.
Signpost is here to help.
Partner with Signpost and make the best out of your online reviews and reputation today. Improve your star ratings, grow positive word-of-mouth, and boost your profits!