Have you ever thought about your online reputation? If the answer is no, then I suggest that you pay more attention to it. 

In today’s internet-driven world, your company’s digital life is just as crucial as its offline one. However many a time it’s the things you fail to pay attention to that will destroy your business.

One of the many tasks of online reputation management is keeping track of what your clients are saying about your business online.

Companies like Yelp, Google, Facebook, and many others where your customers spend most of their online lives, have review systems in place.

 Furthermore, people are voicing their opinions about their experiences in addition to sharing those views online for everyone to read.   

A 2018 study by customer feedback company ReviewTrackers had some interesting facts. The study found that.

  • 96% of consumers are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a local business.
  • 53% say that they expect a business to respond to a review within seven days. However, 63% say that companies do not.
  • A whopping 94% say that a negative review has made them not visit a business.
  • 80% of customers say they don’t trust a business that has less than a four-star rating.

I hope the above stats convince you that, at the very least, you need an online reputation management strategy. If not, here are a few more from a recent study of 1000 American consumers by Power Reviews.

  • 97% of consumers will read a review about a business
  • Of those about 26% consult online reviews for each and every buy they make.
  • 70% say they won’t buy a product online without a review. Furthermore
  • 39% say they won’t buy a product from a local store without reading a review.
  • Moreover, 89% consider a review essential to their buying decision-making process

From the above examples, it is clear that consumer need for online reviews is at the very high peak of their shopping lives. Similarly is your business survival.

The many aspects of online reputation management

Your online reputation can be managed in two ways depending on your budget, you can either do it in-house, or you can hire an outside agency. Usually, a public relations firm will handle the task as an outsider.

These are the top needs of a small business trying to manage their online reputation.

  1. Monitoring and responding to online reviews.
  2. Social media monitoring and management.
  3. Search engine optimization and management.
  4. Content creation and management.
  5. Third-party website monitoring

The Framework

Since I have clearly shown the need to manage your online business reputation above, you are now similarly brainstorming how to get started if you haven’t already.

Remember, the goal here is to create these reputable channels and manage them. So you need to ask yourself a few questions first.

  1. What is your current online reputation?
  2. What would you like your online reputation to look like moving forward?
  3. How do you create a strategy that mirrors your goals?
  4. How do you start building your positive reputation now?

The strategy

In the two studies above, the number one place where most customers go to find information on reviews is Google. So start there, Google your business, and see what information comes up. If there is any adverse information out there, then fix it.

Second, build your social media presence if you haven’t already because most of your customers are on social media and would love to engage with you there.

Finally, be proactive and start asking your customers for feedback, whether positive or negative. Honest feedback and your response to it is the key to a good strategy.