Online Reputation Management: What it is and why do businesses need it in 2019?

Online Reputation Management: What it is and why do businesses need it in 2019?

Published By: Admin

Posted On: 05 Oct 2018

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Before we dive into online reputation management, here’s something for you to think about.

Whenever you travel to a new city or town and you need to find a restaurant to go to or a place to hang out, what do you do? Your first thought would probably be to take out your phone and search for restaurants or places nearby. For instance, if you wanted to find a nice restaurant nearby, you would search for ‘restaurants near me’. You would get a few results that look like this:

Online Reputation Management

Now the next question arises - which one do you choose? Naturally, you would tend to look at the star rating and reviews that each restaurant has, and then go with the best one.

Ratings and reviews are the two things that most people consider when deciding which business to go with. This is because for the most part, ratings and reviews are unbiased and accurately reflect the quality of the business. Hence it makes good sense to keep these two as the deciding parameters. Studies have shown that customers don’t really trust a business that has lower than a 4-star rating. This makes it clear that having a good rating and positive reviews online is extremely important, especially for local businesses.

Having good ratings and reviews help your business in other ways as well. Google also considers the quantity and quality of your business’ reviews when it comes to organic rankings. Moreover, reviews can also help you better your business’ customer service by bringing to light their pain points when dealing with your business.

Your business’ online ratings and reviews are what translate into its online reputation. It shows potential customers how your business is perceived publicly, and that has the potential to either slow down, plateau, or skyrocket your sales. Now that we know what online reputation is and how important it is, let’s dive into online reputation management.

What Is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?

When it comes to dealing with a business’ online presence, you will have to consider every online touchpoint that a potential customer can have with it. This might be through your website, Google, social media sites, and even third party sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor that list your business information. Each of these touchpoints contribute to your business’ online reputation.

ORM is the process that you put in place to manage all of these touchpoints, so that your business has a positive online presence. It involves engaging with your customers and target audience online and taking control of the narrative. It helps create a rapport with your satisfied customers, while taking the necessary steps to quickly resolve any issues that others might have had with your business. Besides this, ORM also helps you deal with any incorrect or malicious reviews that your business might have received.

Usually, ORM starts off with an audit of your business’ online presence in order to gauge where it stands in the local industry landscape, and the online customer sentiment toward it. In case your business does not have enough reviews or customer interactions to assess this, you can even opt to generate more reviews. This is important, as the information gathered can then be used to strategize your ORM and implement it effectively. But before you go ahead and frame the process for your business’ ORM, you need to first figure out why your business needs it as you head into 2019. Take a look at the following points.

#1 Mobile search is on the rise

According to recent statistics,

  • 48% of buyers use smartphones to start searching with a search engine like Google.

  • Additionally, 69% of consumers worldwide, who are between the ages of 18 - 39, use their mobile devices to research products before they buy them.

  • Also, a whopping 78% of mobile searches for local businesses end up in a purchase.

Looking at these stats, it’s quite clear that a large portion of consumers are using smartphones to discover and research businesses and products. It is also evident that majority of them are doing so with the intent to purchase.

This trend that’s moving toward a mobile-based consumer outlook shows no signs of slowing down. This means that it’s only going to get easier for your customers to whip out their phones and leave a review. The same applies for potential customers when it comes to checking out your business’ ratings and reviews. This makes it all the more important for you to have an ORM strategy in place, in order to get the most out of local business searches.

#2 Increased sales

We’ve made it quite clear that the internet is where most people turn to when they want a solution, a product, or a service. Additionally, with smart devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home on the rise, consumers will have instant access to information about your business whenever they need it.

This makes it an almost effortless task for them to engage with your business online. And when they do, they expect a quick response from the said business. The same survey that we referenced earlier also states that 53% of customers expect a business to respond to negative reviews within a week.

Having an effective ORM process in place ensures that you do not miss out on these interactions that can possibly help you build a rapport with customers and show others that you care about their opinions. A lot of times, this can even help in word-of-mouth marketing, which in turn can result in increased sales through both new and repeat customers.

#3 Better brand image and credibility

Positive ratings and reviews definitely contribute to building trust amongst existing and potential customers, as we’ve seen. However, in this fast-paced environment, even a single negative review can sometimes deter a potential customer, and turn them towards businesses with better reviews. ORM helps minimize this through effective and instant damage control, resolving any issues that customers might have faced.

#4 Hiring better talent

Besides helping your business retain and expand your client list, ORM also helps with getting better recruits. Candidates almost always research a business before applying for a job, just as customers do before they purchase. Having good reviews and a great reputation naturally helps put your company on their favourites list, which means that you will have a much better range of qualified applicants to choose from. And we all know that better employees make for a better business now, don’t we?

These four are the most important reasons of having an ORM in 2019, and their benefits alone should be enough to convince any business to place more emphasis on its reputation management. Here’s hoping that it helped you too!

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