One of the best ways that a business can be successful online is through proper online reputation management. A lot of people discuss reputation management. However, few are well-versed on exactly what they need to do to get this process right. In this blog, we’ll define what online reputation management means. We’ll also cover what you need to know to become an expert online reputation manager.
Online Reputation Management Defined
Online reputation management is a set of strategies and tactics that will help your business stay well represented online.
Being “represented online” is a big umbrella, though. So, to be more specific, online reputation management can be boiled down to making sure that your business appeals to customers in the following ways:
Creating and monitoring profiles on social media and review sites
- Ensuring that all of your profiles contain the right address, phone number, and open hours
- Soliciting positive reviews
- Monitoring and engaging with reviews and social media discussions
- Analyzing and acting on what you hear in online conversations about your business.
- Creating and monitoring social media and online review website profiles
- On a day-to-day basis, that translates to: you are investing a portion of your time each week to make sure your business connects with customers and stands out from the competition. ‘
Most business owners and managers understand that online presence is essential. It’s vital to keep a close eye on ALL aspects of your business’s online reputation. Let’s dive into how you can make that happen efficiently and effectively!
What Goes into Online Reputation Management?
At first, online reputation management can seem daunting. Yet, it doesn’t have to be something that you’re afraid of – and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of time each week.
To introduce you to online reputation management, we’ve created a list of the top factors you need to know.
Creating and Monitoring Online Profiles
One of the most significant aspects of online reputation management is online review management. Sounds confusing, we know.. but managing your online reviews starts with creating those profiles.
For many businesses, these platforms will generate profiles automatically. To start on the right foot, create a list of the platforms your customers are most likely to be. Then, search each site for your business. Don’t forget to use variations of your business name or old business names.
Once you have a list of which platforms have a profile for your business, go ahead and either claim or log-into that account. The claiming process is simple for most of these websites. It often involves answering a robocall to your business and entering a code onto their site.
If your business does not have a profile on a key website, create it!
At the end of this process, you will have access to each profile. Make sure that these profiles include the correct address, hours, and phone number. If the website allows it (and most do!), take the time to upload a summary and information about your services. Finally, go ahead and upload some great photos to your profile to help people connect with your business.
Soliciting and Responding to Reviews from Customers
Just like your personal reputation, your business’s reputation is completely dependent on how others perceive it. Online, that all comes down to reviews.
So, make sure that you and your staff are consistently asking customers for reviews on a specific profile. You should also consider creating cards with a link and instructions to make the process easier. You can also add a review kiosk into your brick-and-mortar location, too!
Once those reviews start coming in, don’t forget to respond to your reviews. Whether they’re positive or negative, the way you respond to them will say a lot about your business. Create pre-approved responses that can be tweaked so that each response is unique.
Posting and Engaging Through Social Media
Social media is everything nowadays. So, people love connecting with organizations through social platforms.
Create profiles for your business and work on updating them when needed. Facebook, for example, allows businesses to enter information about your organization’s location, hours, number, services, and history. It even allows you to receive messages and reviews from customers!
So, take a close look at each platform and work with the ones that your customers also use.
Once everything is set up, promote your profiles, and post regularly. As people begin to comment and engage with your posts, respond to them, or follow them back!
Having a Great Website
Another essential factor in online reputation management is having a great website. While we won’t go in-depth on this topic, keep in mind that your website should look professional. It should represent your organization as well as your brick-and-mortar location does.
Your website should display your services or products on the site. Customers should also be able to contact you easily. Finally, the site should provide customers with a fantastic user experience! Just make sure your website also looks fantastic on mobile and tablets as well.
With all of those bases covered, you can feel confident that you’ve got online reputation management in the bag.
What Online Reputation Management Looks like in a Schedule
If all that seems like it’ll be another full-time job, don’t worry! Online reputation management should only take up a small part of your week.
Monitoring your online reviews should only about fifteen minutes each week, which can happen over multiple days. If you use an online review management tool, you’ll be able to see the information from all of your profiles on one dashboard. That means you’ll save time logging in and out of each profile too!
Soliciting reviews is a quick and constant process. Training your team may take an investment of an hour or two, but it will be well worth it. Once they get going, asking for reviews in conversation will be natural to them.
Social media will be an on-going process that you can enlist the help of an outside agency or your staff. Just make sure to stick to a schedule and show some personality while you’re at it!
Building and enhancing your online review profiles is a one-time process for most people. Aside from updating these profiles when information (like your address or open hours) changes, you won’t need to do much on that front.
This process is similar when it comes to your website. Aside from the investment that comes with creating and hosting the site, you shouldn’t be spending too much time on it from week-to-week.
Why Is Online Reputation Management Important?
More than ever, customers are heading to the internet first – rather than hopping in their car or picking up a phone to contact you. The information they find online will depend on how well you’re managing your business’s reputation.
If your organization’s online presence is shady, customers will look for a business with a better reputation… Even if your business is the best in town and has been operating for years.
Your online reputation should be enticing to potential customers. It should make it easy for them to do business with you, which is why you want to use your online reputation management process on-going. That way, potential customers can always see a fresh stream of great reviews and can access the right information to contact you.
Want to Learn More? Join Our Community
If you’d like more information about how you can manage your organization’s online reputation, join our community! We offer expert-led courses on online review management and other topics under the “online reputation management” umbrella so that you can become an expert too!