The way the public perceives your small business has always been important. Small businesses have always needed to establish a solid reputation in order to grow and continue to thrive. In the digital age, the reputation of your small business is even more important than ever. With online searches and online reviews, your online reputation can make or break your ability to remain in business. This is why online reputation management for small businesses is crucial.
Online reputation management for small businesses now needs to be a priority for all small businesses. You simply must take steps to maintain the best possible online reputation for your small business or you will lose out to your competitors.
The vast majority of people who are shopping online do searches for reviews, and these customers read these reviews. Social media sharing is another way customers find out about small businesses. If your online reputation has taken a negative turn on any of these channels, you will lose customers. You must have a strategy for online reputation management for small businesses to stay competitive in today’s market.
What is online reputation management? Why is online reputation management important? And what are the benefits of online reputation management? This guide will take you through the features of online reputation management and how online reputation management for small businesses can become a feature of your marketing strategies.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management is a set of strategies and marketing practices that are designed to build the reputation of a company brand in the best possible ways. No matter how you present your business online, the public perceptions of your business depend on many other things besides your marketing strategies.
Online reputation management consists of a combination of marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and public relations strategies that protect and promote your online image. Online reputation management, or ORM, is now an essential feature of marketing and business strategies.
Why is it important?
Your online reputation is everywhere whether you are aware of it or not. Customers talk about their online shopping and searches, and they do this on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. They write reviews for online review sites. And customers share blog posts and business social media posts. Your reputation gets generated via the internet without you doing anything at all.
Without some kind of online reputation management on your end, this conversation and your brand reputation are completely out of your hands and left up to chance. This can, occasionally, work in your favor. However, the luck of the draw can just as easily work against you if negative content gets spread around without a response or some type of online reputation management strategy. The other possibility is that your brand will never be mentioned at all, and you will lose out to competitors who play an active role in their online reputation management.
The ways online reputation management is important to include:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of strategies that ensures your brand comes up high in search engine rankings (SERP). To manage your online reputation, you need to make sure you are getting noticed when people search for products or services that you provide. This is a reciprocal process in that the higher you rank in online searches, the more your brand is noticed so that your reputation is made known. To use SEO for online reputation management, you need strategies that offer the best image for your brand and that need to be optimized to gain things like third-party-hosted exposure. The goal is to boost positive content and minimize or eliminate negative or irrelevant content.
Generate Positive Reviews
Once your content is gaining attention, you can then assert positive reviews as part of your other strategies. SEO can lead search engines to positive reviews. When potential customers search for products or services that you provide, they will find positive reviews in addition to your in-house content. These kinds of things tend to get shared on social media.
Get More Business
The obvious goal of all your marketing strategies is to get more business. The reason anyone builds a website for their business is to attract customers. Online reputation management is one of the strategies used to get more business, and it achieves this by boosting the best image of your brand possible. To rank high in SERPS is one thing, but to have positive content ranked high lands customers. When people search for businesses, some of the key pieces of information are good reviews and positive buzz on social media.
Increase Customer Lifetime Value
More than 75 percent of people searching for businesses online read reviews before making decisions about a product or service. This means most of your potential customers are reading things that determine your online reputation before they consider buying your product or service. What is more, since an essential component of online reputation management involves responding to customers online, online reputation management tends to build customer loyalty. This means repeat business, and this is the kind of trend that gets amplified online.
Cons of Poor Reputation Online
There are serious consequences for poor online reputation management. The worst outcome is that your brand takes on a distinctly negative image, and your business becomes associated with band products and shoddy service. The other consequence is that you simply do not have an online reputation and your business suffers as a result. Examples of poor online reputation management can include:
Loss of customers
One report found that four out of five customers change their minds about purchasing from a company based on negative content they found online. This roughly translates to losing 80 percent of your business due to bad online reputation management. When put in these terms, you can see that online reputation management is not a luxury. It is something you simply cannot afford to do without. If negative reviews can sway that many customers, you can probably see what will come of allowing that kind of negative content to flourish with any intervention. Online reputation management exists primarily to intervene in this kind of negative online content that can result in massive losses of customers. The same report cited above demonstrated that as many as 75 percent of customers will choose a brand and spend their money based on positive content that offsets negative reviews.
Loss of talent
Most small business owners understand that negative online content can have a negative effect on their business. What many do not fully appreciate is that unfavorable comments, posts, and negative reviews can have an adverse effect on your ability to attract talented professionals to work for you. Some reports have shown that nearly 70 percent of applicants say they would not work for a company that consistently receives bad reviews. Negative online content can make your company appear to be an unappealing place to work and a bad bet for future employment. This problem applies to virtually all types of businesses and not just those that require specialized types of workers. Without a good online reputation management strategy, you will lose out on potentially valuable employees who can grow your business.
Not only can a negative reputation make it hard to attract talent to your company it can also cause you to lose the talented employees you already have. A survey by Glassdoor found that 84 percent of employees would leave their current employer if they found it had a bad online reputation and take a comparable position with a company that had a solid online reputation. Without online reputation management, you run the risk of losing valuable people to companies that have good online reputations.
How to Implement a Reputation Management Strategy
There are five basic steps to online reputation management. These steps include:
- Monitor your online reputation. This is obvious but it needs to be stated. You must pay attention to what people are saying about you online. This is where your online reputation management begins, and this is the step you need to continue even after you have implanted strategies to manage your online reputation.
- Come up with ways to respond. You simply must respond to online reviews and customer comments. These responses need to be carefully thought out and professional. No matter what people are saying, your response needs to be courteous and professional.
- Deal with negative comments. It is a fact that customers can and often do leave negative comments, and many of these comments can be unfair, Nevertheless, your response must remain professional, and you need to devise strategies for how to assuage concerns no matter what they may be.
- Accentuate positive comments and reviews. Make certain you utilize positive online comments and reviews for your benefit. Use these things in your in-house content and take steps to get these kinds of things on channels like social media so they can get shared.
- Follow through. Sustain all of these steps as you build your online reputation. Since public perceptions of your brand continue, you need to maintain your presence within this constantly dynamic process.
Online reputation management for small businesses
The good news for small businesses is that online reputation management is fairly accessible to anyone. The tools available online make it easy for small businesses to build an online reputation and take the steps necessary to manage that reputation.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a great place to begin building an online reputation. This is an easy step and requires only that you set up an account. Your google My Business account will include all the necessary information like company name, link to your website, all contact information, and the business category you fit into. Google My Business also offers something called Google Posts which are similar to social media posts. This is a great way to get noticed online.
Social media is available for anyone, and it is a great tool for online reputation management for small businesses. This is space to build more content online and to make this content sharable. As your content builds a following, your online reputation grows.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is a necessary feature of any online marketing strategy. Taking the steps necessary to boost your rankings in web searches will get you noticed above your competitors. SEO drives traffic to your website and your social media.
As we noted above, the first and ongoing step for online reputation management is monitoring your online image. Yelp is a great place to start researching the way your brand is perceived online. You can enable your Yelp account to send notifications whenever your company is mentioned. Since Yelp is an online review site, these notifications allow you to get ahead of and respond to what people are saying about your company.
What tools can I use for Online reputation management?
Thankfully for small businesses, there are a few tools you can get that will help you with online reputation management. Two of the best examples of these ORM tools include:
Podium: This is a tool that combines marketing and communication in one platform. Designed to help small businesses gain traction in ORM, Podium will help you generate leads and convert them at higher rates. Podium helps boost your online reputation and locks in leads for you to follow up.
Birdeye: Birdeye can manage its online reputation and generate contacts and leads for increased conversion rates. It is the highest-rated reputation and customer experience platform for local and small businesses.
HeyDay service rating + Service Offering
HeyDay Marketing Services can help you set up strategies to monitor and optimize your online reputation. We can help you get the most out of customer reviews and achieve the benefits of customer reviews for increased visibility. HeyDay Marketing Services can do things like suppress bad reviews and augment positive reviews.
We are a full-service marketing agency based in Miami, and it is our business to get your business the best online reputation possible. This means we know how to place your business at the top of local searches in Florida. When potential customers search for local businesses, HeyDay Marketing Services knows how to position your business so that yours is among the businesses with the highest rankings.
We know our online reputation management strategies work because we use them ourselves. We can offer the same techniques and methods we use to gain the highest online rankings for you that we use in-house. The HeyDay Marketing Services website provides numerous links to online reviews that testify to our success in online reputation management.
– Go over how we know how to take care of clients because we do it for ourselves, and talk about all the reviews we have.