Online Reputation Management: The Complete Guide for Business Owners

Here’s everything that you need to know about online reputation management.

Your business’s reputation is a valuable asset. Online
reputation management can help you leverage it to its
fullest potential. In this guide, we’ll go over how you can
use online reputation management to rank higher on
search, get chosen by more customers, and be the
best business in your area.

A Complete Guide To Online Reputation Management
Chapter 1

A beginner’s guide to
online reputation

Here’s what you should know before
you get started with online
reputation management.

A Beginners Guid To Online Reputation Management

What is online reputation management?

Online reputation management is the act of proactively creating and managing customer perception about your brand online. It determines how people perceive your business when they find you online. It primarily includes your online reviews and the comments that people leave about your business on social media.

What’s the value of a brand reputation?

Brand reputation is how a brand is viewed and perceived by its customers, stakeholders, and the market as a whole. It is the most valuable asset that a business can have. When customers think of doing business with you, they want to be assured that not only the product will satisfy their needs, the experience of doing business with your company will be great as well.

The stronger your brand’s reputation, the greater is the willingness to pay for your product or service and that results in greater profits for your business. Your brand’s reputation is therefore critical for the your success. This is why your brand's reputation has actual value. According to the Economist, 30% of the value of the S&P 500 comes from brand reputation.

The history of online reputation management

Reputation management is by no means a new idea. Ever since the dawn of commerce, people have wanted to do business with organizations they’ve felt they could trust. So businesses have always aimed to build a great reputation that inspired trust and credibility.

With the rise of the Internet, reputation management moved online. Consumers gradually started seeking out the experience of others who have had an experience with businesses they are interested in on review sites and social media. In other words, they look at businesses’ online reputation.

What is a strong online reputation?

Of course, having a strong online reputation isn’t always as simple as it seems. When asked, most businesses will say that having a high overall star rating makes their business look great to customers. While this may be partially true, it’s definitely not the entire story.

Imagine this: If a business has 5 online reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars, would you say that this company has a strong online reputation? Some people might say yes.

Now, if this company has a competitor with 500 reviews and an average rating of 4.3 stars, which company are you more likely to go with? Our money would be on the competitor. While both companies have a good overall star rating, customers typically also consider factors like number and recency of reviews.

So here’s the moral of the story: your business’s online reputation isn’t determined by any one metric like star rating. It’s important to take a holistic view of how customers are talking about your business online.

Do negative reviews hurt your online reputation?

While a business with lots of reviews probably will have some negative reviews here and there, it usually shouldn’t be an issue. A study by Spiegel Research Center showed that customers prefer businesses with some negative reviews over those with a perfect 5-star rating. A few negative reviews prove that your reviews are authentic.

Why you need an online reputation management strategy

Building a strong online reputation doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes work from the business. Even if you are providing a great customer experience, it’s possible that your online reputation doesn’t reflect this.

There's a reason why this happens. Most of the time, the customers who are most likely to leave a review are those who’ve had a strong negative experience. As a result, your online reputation might end up reflecting the opinion of your displeased customers.

Luckily, there's a way to fix this. An online reputation management strategy can ensure that the reviews posted on sites like Google and Facebook are a true representation of your business’s customer experience.

Benefits of online reputation management

Staying on top of your online reputation can help you stay ahead of your competitors. Here are a few of the benefits of online reputation management.

  • A great online reputation means more credibility with customers

    We can’t stress this enough: people want to do business with companies they trust. However, if a potential customer has never heard of you before, they don’t know if they can trust you or not. That’s where online reputation can help. If you have lots of great reviews, you can build credibility with customers.

  • A great online reputation means more visibility on search

    Your customers aren’t the only people who value your online reputation. A great online reputation means your business will rank higher in relevant search results (more on this is the next section).

  • A better online reputation means more revenue

    Studies show that a great online reputation means more revenue for your business. According to the Harvard Business Review, a 1-star increase in rating can result in a 5-9% increase in revenue.

Online reputation management and SEO

Search engines value online reviews just as your customers do. Online reviews provide fresh, organic content for your business and are meant to show the genuine experiences of your customers. Since Google aims to provide the best search results for customers, reviews provide them with valuable information.

Of course, reviews aren’t the only factor that matters for search. Search engines are the roadways that help direct targeted traffic to your site. Think about the signs on the side of a freeway that tell you there’s gas, food, and a place to sleep off a particular exit. If you don’t have your signs up, search engines won’t know that they can send traffic your way.

So the signals you send to search engines shouldn't just include reviews. Your accurate and up-to-date contact information is needed to be discovered online - such as Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), opening hours and more. It’s also important to make sure that this information is consistent across the Internet.

Read more on Online reputation management vs. SEO – understanding the differences

Chapter 2

How to get started with
online reputation

Let’s talk about how your business
can get started with online
reputation management.

How To Get Started With Online Reputation Management

Building an online reputation management strategy

Before you dive into managing and responding to reviews, let’s talk about how you can build a strong online reputation management strategy.

  • Monitor

    Keep a close eye on how customers are discussing your business or writing reviews for your business on review sites like Facebook and Google.

  • Collect

    Ask your customers to leave reviews. Chances are that you have tons of customers who would be happy to do this. They just need an extra push.

  • Manage

    Keep track of your reviews from all over the Internet and respond to reviews - both negative and positive.

  • Market

    Once you have lots of great reviews, use them as social proof. Share your reviews on your website and on social media.

  • Connect

    If all of the previous four steps went right, you should have prospects who want to contact your business. Make sure that it’s easy for your business to communicate. That means having the right contact information on listings sites and easy ways to get in touch with you, like Webchat or a textable landline number.

Social media reputation management

Of course, it’s also important to keep an eye on what customers are saying about you on social media. The last thing any business wants is to have a customer who feels like they had a bad experience going viral on Facebook and Twitter.

Managing your social media reputation has a lot in common with monitoring your reputation on review sites. Here’s three tips for managing your social media reputation.

  • Monitor mentions of your brand

    It’s important that you stay on top of mentions of your business so that you can know the moment customers talk about your brand in a positive or negative context.

  • Respond to customer complaints

    If a customer complains about your business, get in touch right away. If you get to the bottom of the problem, the customer will most likely be happy to update or delete their original comment.

    Social Media Reputation Management

  • Encourage customers to post

    Just as you should encourage customers to leave reviews, encourage customers to share your business on social media platforms. It’s an easy way to get more awareness for your brand.

10 steps to a stellar online reputation

So now that you know why your business’s reputation is so important, let’s talk about how you can create a stellar online reputation. We’ve put together these ten tips to lay the foundation for a great online reputation and future business growth.

  1. Aim to provide quality service

    The first step to building a great online reputation is by providing a fantastic customer experience from start to finish. Make sure that you are making an effort to consistently delight your customers.

  2. Send review requests to all of your customers

    Next, you want to make sure that your customers are sharing their great experience, on review sites and social media. Remember, a business with 500 reviews looks a lot better than a business with 5. There’s an easy trick to getting more reviews: just ask. By sending review requests via text and email to all of your customers, you will make the process of leaving a review easy. All they have to do is click on the link and write a review.

  3. Be on the first page of Google search

    75% of users never go past the first page of Google. By taking the steps to rank higher on search, your business will get discovered by more customers. To increase your business’s visibility on search, get more reviews and make sure that your business listings are accurate across the Internet. It’s estimated that reviews and listings together account for more than 25% of ranking factors.

  4. Monitor all relevant review sites

    Customers are constantly making the decision whether or not they want to buy from your business by through the hundreds of review sites on Internet. Bad reviews on one site can lead to customers turning away from your business and going to a competitor. Make sure that you’re keeping track of every review site that you appear on to prevent damage to your reputation.

  5. Engage with all of your customers

    Be sure that you’re responding to your reviews to show that you care about the experience of all of your customers. Responding to a positive review is a great way to show appreciation and build loyalty. On the other hand, responding to a negative review in the right way can help turn an angry customer into someone who is ready to have a conversation with you or even an advocate of your business based on the way you handled the situation.

    Engage With All Of Your Customers

  6. Treat negative feedback as an opportunity to improve

    Remember, negative reviews can also be an opportunity to improve your customer experience. For example, if you see a customer complaining about something like “long wait time”, you might want to explore how you can make your processes more efficient. Use the insights that you get from reviews to better understand what aspects of your business customers love and what aspects need to be improved.

  7. Fight slander against your business

    Occasionally, you may get a bad review that comes from a someone you don’t recognize or is reviewing the wrong business. In this case, put your evidence out there strongly and politely so potential customers know that they’re looking at a fake review. This shows the public that the review doesn’t actually represent your business.

    Fight Slander Against Your Business

  8. Make sure that your listing information is accurate

    Incorrect business listing information can spread across the Internet and cause serious damage to your business. Because there are just four major data aggregators that distribute listing information, a wrong address or phone number can quickly spread all over the Internet. That means a lot of confused and angry customers.

    Want to check if your business listings are accurate? Check out our free Scan My Business tool to find out if your contact information is accurate across the Internet.

    scan your business’s listings across the Internet

  9. Keep track of your competitors

    Whether customers are trying to find a new restaurant or a new dental practice, they’re probably going to look up multiple different businesses online. That’s why it’s important to see what customers are saying about your competitors on review sites. If there are areas where your competitors are excelling and where you’re falling short, you can figure out what you can do differently to stay a step ahead.

    Keep Track Of Your Competitors

  10. Stay active on social media

    Customers do keep track of what friends and family are saying on mediums like Facebook and Twitter. So make sure that your business is posting regularly on social media. Recent news about your business, a new offering, a promotion or sharing one of the great customer reviews you recently received are all great things to share with your social media followers.

    Stay Active On Social Media

Can I do online reputation management myself?

Yes, you can do online reputation management yourself. However, if you do choose to do this, be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy.

Sending review requests to every customer is not something that most business owners have the time or energy for. Fixing listings, responding to reviews, and keeping track of competitor reviews requires a lot of effort on your part.

On the other hand, you can invest in an online reputation management software. This can help you automate these tasks and give you more time to run your business.

Reputation management software

A tool like Birdeye can make the process of managing your reviews significantly easier. Here are a few ways reputation management software can help your business.

  • Stay on top of customer reviews

    Your customers aren’t just on big sites like Facebook or Google. Customers are discovering your business all over the Internet, making it important for you to stay on top of your online reputation on all platforms. Of course, this isn’t easy. It’s hard for business owners to go through every single review site manually, there just isn’t enough time in the day.

    Luckily, there’s an easy way you can impress all of your potential customers, no matter where they discover you: Review Monitoring.

    With Review Monitoring, it is easy to track all reviews from Google and Facebook to more industry-specific sites for lawyers, dentists, realtors, doctors, and more all in one place on Birdeye’s dashboard. Birdeye tracks reviews from over 150 sites, making it easier than ever to manage your online reputation.

  • Generate new customer reviews

    The more reviews you have, the better your business looks to customers. While sending review requests to your customers can help, it’s tough to manually send out emails and texts to your customers.

    Luckily, there’s a better way. Birdeye can send review requests to your customers automatically. Birdeye can integrate with your customer relationship management or practice management system and generate new reviews while you do the hard work of taking care of your business.

  • Manage reviews all over the Internet

    Want to make sure that you’re dealing with negative reviews quickly and effectively? Birdeye gives businesses automatic notifications every time they get a bad review. That makes it easy for your team to deal with these problems before they escalate.

    Birdeye makes responding to reviews easy. In order to respond to a review, all you have to do is type out a response within the Birdeye dashboard. Then your response will show up on the site where the review originally appeared.

    Don’t have time to respond to every review? Birdeye also allows you to set up automatic review response templates. You can customize these responses so that they can fit your brand voice and circumstances.

  • Share your reviews on social media

    We can’t say it enough: customers value reviews. So why not share them on social media? With a review management tool, you can make sharing reviews on social media and on your website easier than ever.

    Whenever you get a 5-star review, Birdeye allows you to share it automatically on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Your social media followers can see social proof from any one of the 150+ review sites that Birdeye monitors.

    Share Your Reviews On Social Media

    Birdeye also allows you to showcase your glowing reviews on your website with an easy-to-install review widget. All you have to do is copy and paste a simple line of code. After that, website visitors can see the testimonials of all your happy customers.

Reputation management examples

Want to know how businesses use reputation management to get results? Here are a couple of real-life examples.

  • Brockport Smiles

    Brockport Smiles is a dental practice based in Brockport, New York. Even though they were delivering great patient experience, Brockport Smiles only had 3 reviews on Google. The practice decided to use Birdeye’s software to collect more reviews.

    With Birdeye, Brockport Smiles was able to send automatic review request texts to all patients. Birdeye integrated with the practice management system Brockport Smiles was already using, so the practice was able to send texts and emails to customers on the same day as their appointment.

    The results speak for themselves. The practice now has more than 300 reviews on Google. Now, potential patients looking for a new dentist can find them in the top search results and see social proof assuring that Brockport Smiles stands ahead of the competition.

  • Accent Roofing

    Accent Roofing is a family-owned roofing business in the Atlanta area. While the company had a long record of satisfied customers, they were facing a stigma against roofers in their area. Since their state did not require licensing for roofers to operate, Accent Roofing realized they needed to build credibility with potential customers.

    The business turned to Birdeye to collect reviews from customers. Birdeye’s review software made the process easy. All employees had to do was enter the customer’s name and email or phone number at the end of the job to send a review request. With Birdeye’s help, Accent Roofing now has more than 2,000 reviews.

    Of course, Birdeye didn’t just help Accent Roofing with collecting reviews. Monitoring reviews is now easier than ever. Employees can keep track of reviews posted across the Internet within the Birdeye dashboard.

    Want to see more reputation management examples? Check out these awesome results that we’ve seen from businesses using Birdeye.

Reputation management cost

Investing in a reputation management software is totally worth it. It’s an easy way to rank in the top search results, build credibility and social proof for your business while saving your team’s valuable time.

The price of reputation management software can vary based on the size of your business, the number of services that you want to subscribe to, and the number of locations that you have. Birdeye offers different plans for businesses with different goals.

We recommend that interested businesses speak with one of our reputation experts to better understand how your business can get the best results from online reputation management.

Why Birdeye?

If you’re looking for an online reputation management software, choose Birdeye. Birdeye is the most comprehensive solution on the market. G2 has named Birdeye the #1 online reputation management solution for 9 consecutive quarters among many other awards and recognitions.

No other company on the market can compete with Birdeye’s all-in-one platform. Only Birdeye allows businesses to send automatic review requests, respond to customer reviews, send surveys, get actionable insights, fix listings across the Internet, and easily interact with customers through website chat and text messaging.

Improve your online reputation with Birdeye

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