Technology has changed the way consumers view products, research them and make the final purchasing decision. It is estimated that 92% of consumers read online reviews compared to 88% in 2014. Moreover, 40% of consumers are able to form an opinion about your business based on 3 reviews. These statistics indicate how your online reputation is so crucial to the future of your business.
As a small business, managing your online reputation is critical. There is a misconception that only businesses with negative reviews should work towards managing their online reputation. Nonetheless, this also applies to businesses just starting out. You can work towards building your brand and what is being said about your company to avoid future damage.
What does online reputation management involve?
The internet has revolutionized how people interact. Every comment or review written about your business online can be seen by others. What’s more, everything that has ever been said about your business online can be accessed via the digital footprint.
Previously, people relied on a word of mouth to use a business. This means that they would only interact with you if other customers recommended your product/service, in modern days, social media allows everyone to see instant opinions about your business.
Nevertheless, it’s difficult to be 100% perfect online. You’ll always have a person or two who won’t like your products/services no matter how hard you work. Online reputation management ensures that you are up to date with what is being said about your business. Additionally, it allows you to take back control if your business is being negatively portrayed.
Why is online reputation so important?
Nowadays, Google has become a one stop shop for all queries. If someone wants to do business with you, the first place they’ll head to is Google to see what people are saying about your company. One or two negative reviews could significantly affect how people view your business. Why would anyone buy from you when you have a negative review when there are other companies with awesome positive reviews?
Here are some more benefits of online reputation to the future of your business.
Consumers are able to do the marketing on your behalf
A list of positive reviews can create a marketing campaign for you. Unlike word of mouth, which may fade after a while, online reviews keep working even after they’ve been posted? When customers instantly associate your business with a positive image, this not only leads to a continuous brand awareness, it also benefits the business in the long term.
Increased customer engagement
Online review pages can create a hub where consumers leave reviews and come back to see if others commented on their reviews. There are others who come to see what other customers have to say about a particular product/service. Over time, this creates a community where people discuss more about your product. Getting this feedback is essential as you can use the reviews to further improve on your product/service.
Improved rankings on search engines
Online reviews considerably work towards improving your site’s ranking on search engines. The more the number of positive reviews you get, the higher the rank you get as search engines considers you to be valuable and important.
Better understanding of what needs to be improved
Online reputation is more than just creating better relationships between your customers and the business. When someone posts an online review, you can use their feedback to improve your service. Do not ignore any negative comment. If a consumer felt that something was wrong, be prompt to respond and try your best to resolve the issue. This shows that you’re concerned about your customers and your main focus is to create a positive experience for them. Give the consumers a voice
When anyone leaves a review online, they are basically looking for ways to voice their opinion. With time, a relationship is built and consumers will be more loyal to your business. Knowing that you care about their needs by responding to their reviews will positively affect your business in future.
You cannot control what people say about your business, but you have control over what you can do about it. Online reputation is fundamental to the success of any business. Do not let negative comments discredit your business. To ensure that your reputation is protected, always be transparent, responsive, trustworthy, and deliver on your promises to customers.