It’s safe to say that having a flawless reputation is impossible, however, you can come close if you establish a successful reputation management strategy. And in the eye of the consumer, that’s even better because it shows that you’re real.
Reputation management strategy is an essential part of building your business’s brand, and it's so much more than making sure your company has great reviews. It’d be nice if it was that easy.
But you can’t just click delete and carry on with your day thinking that your job with reputation management is done -- it requires a strategy that calls for your attention more often than not.
Eighty-two percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, including 93 percent of people aged 35-54. Which means reviews can make or break a business.
Companies in every vertical and of every size can benefit from having a clear and effective reputation management strategy.
Reputation Management Strategies to Consider in 2020
When you begin working on your brand reputation management strategy, there are a lot of aspects to consider. Here are some of the most successful strategies your business should consider in 2020:
Reputation Management Strategy #1: Monitor your online reviews on all major platforms.
Every business should aim to react quickly and politely to reviews. Your goal should be to respond within 24 hours of the review being left. If this isn't feasible, aim to respond to reviews within a week.
The key is to be proactive. If you receive positive feedback, thank the happy customer. If you receive a negative comment, address their concern, and publicly apologize and try to rectify the situation.
At the very least, you should monitor your reviews on the following platforms:
- Yellow Pages
These are the major platforms that your customers will most likely be reading reviews on so you want to make sure to monitor these sites and do damage control.
Reputation Management Strategy #2: Establish a system and process for addressing and responding to negative reviews.
Your business has to address criticism -- no exceptions. Of course, no one enjoys reading negative reviews about the business you have worked so hard to build, but it can actually be a great thing for you to see and be a positive thing for your business if you respond appropriately. Look at it as constructive criticism.
When you receive a bad review, in addition to taking into account their critiques, you have to respond. Among consumers that read reviews, 97 percent read businesses’ responses to reviews. Consumers want to see how you handle a negative review and what your business does to rectify the issue.
Oftentimes, reviews from unhappy customers provide you with invaluable information on where your business is falling short as well as guidance on how to improve your operations.
A tip is to drive your happy customers toward review sites, and unhappy customers toward customer service so address and ideally resolve their concerns.
Reputation Management Strategy #3: Encourage customers to write reviews and highlight customer testimonials on your website.
Roughly 76 percent of consumers that are asked to leave a review go on to write one. Have a system for how and when you ask for reviews and adjust it accordingly based on what’s delivering results.
Here are some of the most popular ways to ask for reviews:
- Over the phone
- SMS text message
If you have a different method of asking for reviews that works for your business, that’s also fine! These are mere suggestions to get your business started.
Once you start receiving feedback, you can highlight and showcase customer reviews right on your page so that other current and prospective customers can see how satisfied your customers are. Including reviews on your website makes searchers see your business as more trustworthy.
A positive online reputation helps customers trust your business, convert more searchers into qualified leads, and improve your local search rankings.
Reputation Management Strategy #4: Transparency
You can’t hide or erase all the bad reviews. It makes your business seem illegitimate and that you have something to hide. You want to relay a sense of authenticity and reliability. This is done through transparency.
Just because you are being transparent, does not mean your review is free for all without any strategy. You can use SEO to push favorable testimonials to the top and negative reviews to the bottom.
You can’t solicit customers for positive reviews either. Of course, you can ask customers for reviews, but you can’t ask for positive ones or bribe them to leave you favorable feedback. In other words, the reviews have to be genuine and real.
Reputation Management Strategy #5: Remove false, illegal, or explicit reviews.
How do you know when to remove a review? Sometimes it can be tricky. You have to ask yourself, did that user ever even visit your business, did they claim something false about your company, does it contain profanities?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, you can most likely remove a review. There are different protocols depending on what platform you are using, but there is usually a standard procedure to follow.
Growing Your Business with a Reputation Management Strategy
Most of your customers will look you up before visiting your business. But what if they don’t like what they see? More than four negative reviews about a company or product may decrease sales by 70 percent. No business can afford that blow to their reputation and drop in sales. That’s why you have to get ahead of it, create an effective strategy, and take control of your online reputation.
Fifty percent of local marketers can’t put more effort into their online reputation due to a lack of time. What if time was no longer an issue? GoSite’s Review tool allows you to request, monitor, and respond to reviews on a single dashboard. We take the hassle out of review management and make it quick and pain-free.