Online reputation management is not just about looking after your social media accounts and maintaining a Google Alert on your business name. The Internet provides an opportunity for users of all backgrounds to share brand experiences and create conversation. Online reputation management involves managing the conversation that’s happening around your business or industry and looking after online reviews. Consumer reviews are an opportunity for users online to have their voices heard and to share their experience. Seen on social media sites like Facebook, on search engines like Google, and on classifieds like Yelp, reviews can make or break a business. They’re powerful in the sense that reviews communicate so much about a brand’s standards, reputation, products, and/or services from the viewpoint of the customer. For example, if you want to have a haircut, you’re going to go online and check out the reviews for local hairdressers and salons. Those reviews are going to affect your final decision on where to put your money.
Where do online reviews show up?No matter the category of business, user reviews have a role to play. Some of the most common online review websites are
- Trusted Reviews for products
- Indeed for jobs
- Glass Door for businesses
- Trip Advisor for hotels and hospitality-related restaurants or entertainment
- Exclaim for music reviews.
How do online reviews appear?Reviews can appear in a variety of different ways, with a five-star system being the most common. They may also appear as images, videos, or in plain text. It’s true that, in some cases, one bad business review can take down a business. If there’s an accusation that so poorly portrays your brand that few customers want to continue their relationship with you, you’re going to be in trouble. Notwithstanding, the average business may receive a mix of reviews. Some will be spam and can oftentimes be removed by contacting the review website. At other times, if someone expresses a legitimate concern, you may have some difficulty removing it.
Online reviews which appear as articlesSome reviews aren’t going to appear as ‘reviews’ at all but instead, will show up in the form of articles and blogs. If they say something positive about a product or service, or your brand, that’s wonderful. If it’s negative though, it can be much more complex on how to manage this. An article like that will get placed on Google and then, whenever someone searches out your brand, it’s going to come up. It could affect your reputation for a long time if you don’t be careful.
How to monitor online reviews for your benefitAny brand who makes the investment to respond to negative reviews and monitor their reputation online shows their audience they care about what people are saying. In this sense, even a negative review can be an opportunity to advertise your business in a positive light. Thankfully, there’s also software which can help monitor what people are saying about you online. Various software will track your business name and brand, reporting to you any time you are mentioned on sites like Mention and Awario.
- Decide if you need to respond. If there’s derogatory or degrading language, irrational opinions, or if it’s not something you feel you can remedy, contact the review website and ask them to remove the comment.
- Respond to negative feedback by hearing them out, empathizing with them, apologizing, and taking action to fix the complaint. When other customers see your willingness to help and improve, they’ll feel comfortable doing business with you. Any business owner will have to go out of their way to fix a bad review. Even so, it’s important. By not responding, the damage a brand could incur is sizeable.
- Respond to all positive reviews as well! You don’t want to give the impression that, to get your attention, a customer needs to leave negative feedback. A few words of acknowledgement is enough to thank someone for leaving their two cents.
- Monitor the most popular review sites first and foremost since they get more exposure, as these will be where the majority of customers see you.
- Monitor your social media accounts as well. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are extremely popular for users who want to leave reviews and comments regarding brands.
- Respond quickly and politely.