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Online Reputation Management: Why You Should Give a Damn

March 09, 2018 By Rachael Crowley

Online Reputation Management: Why You Should Give a Damn

“I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation.
You're living in the past it's a new generation.”

—Joan Jett

Unless you’re in the business of being an 80’s punk rock trailblazer, it’s time to start caring about your reputation. More specifically, your online reputation.

What people say about your business online matters.

Your digital image is changed every time a person shares their experience—good or bad—on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or other sites. And as we know, people rarely hold back on the internet.

To make a good first impression on anyone who discovers you online, prioritize your online image where it counts.

Top 2 Places You Need to Make a Good First Impression Online

Few among us have the resources to control our image in every corner of the web. So, put your best foot forward in these two places first:

  • Website
  • Google Business Card

Website First Impressions

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A professional design and a clear message help this website give a good first impression.

The first impression your website delivers should match the first impression you want to deliver in person. You want to look professional and talk about your business in a language prospects understand.

I’ve got lots of ideas about how your website should deliver a good first impression.

Google Business Card First Impressions

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Google Business Card gives a first impression. How many stars are your customers giving you?

Your Google Business Card is the information Google displays on the right side of the screen when you search your business name. It includes your website, phone number, photos, and most importantly…

Reviews

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Which plumber would you call first, the one with 5 stars or 3 stars?

These reviews give the first, first impression of your business. Your reputation precedes you before a prospect even lands on your website.

Are you a 3-star company (womp womp)? Or a 5-star company?

Are people angry with your service? Or impressed by it?

Reviews Are Key to a Good Online Reputation

According to a 2017 study by Bright Local

85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as
personal recommendations

Bottom line: if people are Googling your business, you need to care about your online reputation.

Here’s where to start.

3 Things You Need to Improve Your Online Reputation

Enough Reviews

Review quantity matters.

  • 2 online reviews say people don’t care enough to share.
  • 50 online reviews say people want to talk about you.

The number of reviews not only shows people have experiences worth sharing, it can also help you maintain a better overall score.

A bad review from a disgruntled client can tank your 4.5-star average if you only have a handful of reviews.

Aim to win more reviews. But also aim to make them quality reviews.

Quality Reviews

Obviously, you want all 5-star reviews across Google, Facebook, and the rest of the web.

The best way to achieve this is to deliver 5-star service and ask people to share their experience online. (We’ll talk more about how to get people to share their story later).

But most importantly, you want real reviews from real customers. Don’t try to fake it.

Some companies try to improve their ratings by having employees, family members, or friends leave short, 5-star reviews that say “Great company!”, or some other generalization. These reviews don’t tell a story. They aren’t real.

Quality reviews from real customers show how your business helped them overcome a problem they were facing. The same type of problems other prospects have.

Response Strategy for Bad Reviews

The flip side of the quality 5-star review is the bad, but detailed 1-star review that’s staining your reputation.

Bad reviews hurt, but they happen.

The important thing is you have a response strategy so the bad review doesn't speak for itself.

Use your response as an opportunity for redemption and to show your commitment to customer service.

Here are some standard do’s and don’ts for responding to bad reviews. My number one rule is:

  • Don’t do nothing! A response shows you are listening and you care. Respond to serious reviews. If you suspect a review is not serious or overly aggressive, flag with the platform.

Consider a Reputation Management Plan

Once challenge many businesses face is how to drive more online reviews. How do you engage people enough? It can feel like you’re at the mercy of the customer.

A reputation management plan can help you be more proactive.

Pump More Good Reviews Online.

Driving more reviews is about asking for them more. And asking for them in the right places.

  • Place requests for reviews at critical online customer touch points. For example, place a review request on your customer portal after someone has submitted a payment.
  • Email campaigns can also be effective tools to ask current customers for reviews. Don’t bombard people, but remind them every few weeks.
  • Ask in person! If a customer is giving you a great review on the phone, ask them to put it online!

Filter Bad Reviews Offline.

Yes - this is possible!

Reputation management software can help you drive more 5-star reviews where it counts and keep 1-3-star reviews offline.

Bad reviews are filtered to your team—not onto Google—so your team can directly address the situation.

Build a Proactive Plan to Earn a 5-Star
Online Reputation

A good first impression starts with your reputation. So, you can keep hoping for good reviews, or get serious about driving them.

Good reviews will set you apart from the competition with social proof of your services.

An online reputation management campaign begins by looking at a snapshot of your online reputation. Are you in good shape, but struggling for quantity? Or do you need to do some damage control?

Then, you can determine if an email campaign or reputation management software is the best course to help you control your rep!

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