Being a DIYer isn’t a bad thing, and online reputation management is certainly an area that you can manage yourself… if you’re prepared with the right information and tools.
ReviewU is the first and only online program focused on online reputation management. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to getting started with ORM all of your own.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management was originally a public relations term. If a fiasco hit the news, an expert would come in to consult on the best way to manage and organization’s reputation. In 2020, online reputation managers do much of the same work. Now, however, they are working preemptively to make a business look amazing online – rather than working on reputation as a form of damage control.
ReviewU defines online reputation management as “a set of strategies and tactics used to improve and grow an organization’s reputation so that they can better compete.”
In the digital world, online reputation is typically broken down into a few major areas that will require some work:
Business profiles, like on Yelp
- Online reviews
- Online ratings
- Social media presence
- Website appearance
- User experience
Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need to do to manage each of these areas so that you can manage your organization’s online reputation successfully.
Claim and Enhance Your Business Profiles
Your first significant project in online reputation management is going to be claiming and enhancing all of your organization’s profiles. Remember that you may have profiles even if you never created any, and some may still be listed under old versions of the business’s name.
So, to get started with this process, go ahead and create a list of the most relevant profiles to your business. These should include Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, and so on.
Identifying the most important profiles will help you zero-in on where you focus should first land. Once you have that list, go ahead and search for your profile on the site.
If you find a profile, note whether or not it is already claimed. If you don’t find a profile, note that you will need to create a brand new one.
Once you have all this information, you can get to work logging into profiles, regaining access, or creating them. Then, go ahead and review + enhance the information on these profiles. Double-check that the name, address, phone number, and open hours are correct.
The final pieces of the puzzle will involve you adding as much additional information as possible. Add a business history, add a list of your services, and even note if you’re wheelchair accessible or an LGBTQ safe space. Then, add new photos of your business before moving onto the next phase.
And be sure to keep in mind that you should continually monitor and update these profiles as needed!
Managing Your Online Reviews
Online reviews are one of the major factors that can influence a person’s purchasing decision. Chances are that even you are influenced by online reviews when you are shopping on platforms like Amazon.
It’s even so ingrained in our minds that reviews = power that restaurant managers often hear disgruntled customers exclaim, “Yelp is going to hear about this!”
So, 2020 is the time to take online reviews seriously. You should be using tools to send out requests for reviews to all of your customers. Your staff should also be trained to ask for reviews with every interaction so you can earn a steady stream of new reviews.
Once you get a new review, whether it’s positive or negative, make sure that you also respond! Not only does that send a notification to the reviewer, but it also shows others that you care what people say about your business.
For a more detailed understanding of online review management and what you should be doing, sign up for our Review Management 101 course!
Pay Attention to Your Online Ratings
Just like online reviews, online ratings should get a lot of your attention. Ratings are the number of stars that appear on your business’s profile. You could even argue that ratings are more important for your business since many potential customers won’t look past a low star rating.
So, make sure that you are working on boosting your ratings at the same time as you’re trying to get new online reviews. Thankfully, leaving a review is typically paired with adding a rating so customers could help you hit two birds with one stone here.
Boost Your Social Media Presence
Another major aspect of your online reputation is your social media presence. A potential customer will likely see your ratings, reviews, and social profiles all before they ever see your website.
That’s why it’s important to post regularly to these profiles. While that doesn’t mean that you need to hire an entire social media team, it does mean that someone on your team should be responsible for managing those profiles.
Posting a few times a week will help your organization seem active and invested on social. If you take things a few steps beyond that and work on building your following and engagement, things will only get better from there!
Enhance Your Website
Your website is just as important as your storefront. In 2014, a new trend began: a wave of established chain restaurants started renovating and rebranding to boost their sales. Now, on the cusp of 2020, this trend is still around, and it’s pointing to something much bigger at play: organizations must keep their online presence modern just as much as their storefronts are!
So, take a careful look at your website. Does it look like it came straight out of 2003? Does it load slowly? Do you need to update the copy and images on it? Do you need to improve the way your online ordering system works?
All of these details will help improve your website and help more people understand how your organization through how it’s represented in a digital space.
Focus on Improving User Experience
Finally, focus on improving the overall user experience that people have with your organization online.
Updating your website and checking for things like accessibility issues and slow loading times are important. But also make sure that all the information available is updated and correct so that potential customers don’t get sent to the wrong location from the info on an old online profile. Check how well your cart system is to make online shopping a better experience with your business.
When you place the focus on user experience rather than factors like profits, you’ll be able to attract more customers because you care more. And the other areas of online reputation management will help support your efforts as more people are likely to land on your business as they search online.
As you rotate through these tasks, stick to a schedule. A major aspect of online reputation management is getting things done promptly. For example: ask for reviews after every customer interaction, but also try to respond to those reviews multiple times a week.
With some dedicated effort, you can become an online reputation manager on your own and make 2020 the best year yet!