Watch Your Back: Why Reviews Are So Important
by Heather Sumpter
You’ve invested your blood, sweat, tears, and time to get your business where it is today, and the last thing you want is for a handful of bad online reviews to dismantle all your hard work. If you’re not paying attention to online reputation management (ORM), you run the risk of leaving your company’s integrity and good name in the hands of people who may or may not accurately represent your brand.
Customer reviews are perhaps the most important component of ORM; according to a Global Trust in Advertising study released by Nielsen, 70% of online consumers indicated that they use online reviews to help inform their buying decisions. If those reviews are less than stellar–or worse, overtly negative–it could be detrimental to your brand’s reputation and business objectives. So what can you do to ensure that your online reputation stays intact? Below are some important points to consider as you develop your brand’s reputation management strategy.
Your Online Reputation: It’s a Slippery Slope
Marketing history is replete with stories of brands that experienced an online reputation meltdown due to negative customer reviews and/or poor crisis management. For example, there was the famous Applebee’s meltdown of 2013, where a waitress was fired due to posting a non-tipping guest’s receipt online, and Facebook users responded with unrelenting fury.
Not too long after that, JP Morgan experienced a PR nightmare of its own when the ill-conceived “#AskJPM” Twitter Q&A session turned into a snark-fest driven by users who grilled the bank about its many controversial lawsuit settlements.
And who can forget perhaps one of the most infamous meltdowns of all time–the Amy’s Baking Company fiasco, in which Arizona-based bakery owner Amy Bouzaglo began a series of very public, very abrasive back-and-forth online battles with Yelp reviewers and Facebook users.
In each of these cases, what started off as a brand’s attempt to connect with their target audience, or even to correct certain misconceptions about the brand, ended up careening out of control due to a lack of skillful reputation management. Without utilizing the proper tools, a brand’s attempts to maintain their online reputation can be a slippery slope that sometimes leads to controversy and negative backlash.
Why You Should Consider Using a Reputation Management Service
With all of the things that could potentially go wrong in today’s world of digital immediacy and user-generated content, businesses can feel like they’re constantly walking a tightrope in terms of managing their online reputation. They don’t want to neglect it, because that could lead to disaster, but they also don’t want to make a mistake by taking on a duty that’s not within their realm of expertise. If you can relate to this dilemma, you might want to consider enlisting the help of a digital agency that specializes in online reputation management.
What an Online Reputation Management Agency Will Do for Your Business
- Social Media Monitoring – This is perhaps the most important element of managing your online reputation. A reputation management agency will closely monitor your social media accounts and keep an eye out for any chatter in the social media realm that pertains to your brand or products. A skilled digital agency will employ various monitoring tools that can scan all of the major social outposts to find out what people are saying about your company (good or bad) in real-time. This gives your brand the advantage of having a quick reaction time, versus potentially being blindsided by an issue that needs to be addressed.
- Search Engine Results Monitoring – When you Google your company’s name, what comes up? If the search engine results pages feature unflattering or completely irrelevant listings, a reputation management agency can develop SEO strategies that will help replace those listings with web pages that accurately reflect what your brand is all about.
- Content Development and Management – Whether it’s the company blog, your social media accounts or a corporate press release, a savvy digital agency will ensure that all of your published content adds credibility to your brand.
- Putting Out Fires – You may come across one or two negative online reviews about your business; just keep in mind that this is not uncommon for any organization. A digital agency will investigate the claims of these reviews to see if they are legitimate, and if so, they will publicly right your wrongs in a manner that will keep the integrity of your brand intact.
Working with an online reputation management agency like 2060 Digital can make all the difference in terms of maintaining a favorable online presence. In today’s highly competitive business environment, protecting your online reputation is a priority that you simply cannot afford to ignore.