In 2013, Dimensional Research carried out a study sponsored by a software company. While the research was about customer service and how it affects sales of midsize companies, researchers uncovered nuggets that changed the way people look at online reputation management forever. Those nuggets are as follows:
In today’s online world, it will be a huge mistake to ignore reviews about you or your business on the Internet. Further, it will be a bigger mistake to leave everything to chance, wishing that satisfied customers post the best testimonials while disgruntled ones keeping their opinions to themselves. Your target buyers are out there researching for you on the Internet and are looking for an excuse not to deal with you. Don’t give it to them. The moment you switch on your website, you’re in the online world and customers WILL leave reviews and searchers WILL read them. So you MUST manage your online reputation properly.
Reputation: More than Just Consumer Reviews
Indeed consumer reviews have been proven powerful in shaping how prospect buyers decide on which product or service to purchase. And with 97% of all consumers searching for local businesses online (BIA/Kelsey and ConStat), it’s only a matter of time before they find you on Google. And chances are they’re going to see reviews about you too. That’s why it’s crucial that you have positive reviews outranking and “pushing down” negative ones.
While reviews are important, it’s wrong to think that online reputation is simply about publishing them. It’s an even bigger mistake to think that you can fabricate reviews to influence consumer perception. Authorities are cracking down on fake reviews and you don’t want your business to be in the press for the wrong reasons. When it comes to reputation management, the saying “negative publicity is still publicity” doesn’t always apply.
So what is online reputation management?
ORM: Highlight the Positive, Push Down the Negative
Online reputation management – at least the correct practice of it – is combining the power of content and distribution channels such as social media to improve or restore a business’ or a person’s reputation on the Internet. It is the strategic publication of positive content on relevant web properties so that this content “pushes down” and outranks negative content on search results as well as overshadow negative material or conversations in social media.
Isn’t that unethical? Fabrication of fake reviews is. But legitimate ORM is not. Think of it this way: would you rather lose 86% of prospective customers just because of a negative review posted by one unsatisfied customer? Or would you rather your target customers see a fair view of things? Wouldn’t you want positive results to appear first so that they can at least give your business a try? ORM means bringing to light the positive side of your business, preventing it from succumbing to the effects of one bad review.
And remember, you will not be misleading prospects as you’re not publishing fake reviews about your business. You’re merely publishing legitimate consumer reviews so that these are seen by your target audience too. By doing so, you are educating prospects on what satisfied customers like about your business.
Trustworthy Content: Owner & User-Generated
The “content” mentioned above can be categorized into two: owner/vendor and user-generated/ independent type. To succeed in ORM, you will need both.
Proper ORM: How Effective Agencies Do It
In a nutshell, this is how effective online marketing agencies and reputation managers conduct ORM:
Research > Content Setup > Social Setup > Publication > Engagement > Maintenance
Difference Maker: Engagement & Maintenance
The first four steps in the process comprise the easy part. They can be completed in a single month. The last two steps, however, are more difficult and trickier to carry out. But needless to say, engagement and maintenance are necessary for you to keep your reputation online positive. They separate reputable businesses from those held down by negative perception on the Internet.
Google Yourself or Your Business Now
Do you like what you see? Do positive reviews about your products and services come up first? Or are search results a mix of negative feedback about you and then a lot of webpages of your competitors? You can be tolerant but your prospects won’t share that opinion. Don’t do your business an injustice. Make prospects see the best of you. Implement proper online reputation management today.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us now at (09) 449 1005 or (027) 489 5009 to arrange a free consultation so we can boost your online reputation today.
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