15 Jun Why You Need To Invest In Your Online Reputation Now
The internet has woven itself into every aspect of our society. It’s changed how we live by reinventing the way we talk to friends, meet dates, learn skills, and shop. Not to mention how it has entirely redrawn our business landscape in the process!
Several industries have been borne from the Internet age while others have been rendered obsolete and many more revolutionized in its wake. Some changes have been dramatic, as seen in the music industry. Other markets, like B2B, have experienced gradual change, but virtually no industry today is unaffected.
Some businesses think nothing has changed, but their buyers’ habits have, and that makes all the difference. In our highly-connected modern world, if your business needs customers, you need to watch your online reputation.
What Is “Online Reputation” Exactly?
Your online reputation is the perception that people will have of your brand based on what they see online.
People can gather an opinion on your brand from anywhere, in fact, wherever your brand is mentioned. Be it in a review on Hello Peter or Google, a mention in an editorial article, or raving fans on social media.
Your online reputation spans:
- Bought and owned media. Your website and any paid-for editorial, advertorials, or influencers.
- Earned media through PR, brand advocates, shared articles, organic reviews; ratings, and backlinks.
- Asked for exposure in the form of feedback and testimonials.
For this reason, your online reputation is both beyond your control (or passive) yet simultaneously in your immediate reach and circles. In most cases, it’s inbound. So, to manage your reputation yourself, you need to leverage ways to listen [to the net] so that you can respond to comments and have a higher degree of control. Thankfully, there are listening tools and even ways to automate appropriate reactions to online mentions.
Why Your Online Reputation Matters
What people are saying about you on the internet can significantly impact your sales. According to Podium, 93% of consumers today say online reviews impact on purchasing decisions. 82% of the same respondents confirmed that the content of a review had convinced them to make a purchase.
Don’t think that online reviews only affect online businesses. Research by BIA/Kelsey and ConStat reveals that 97% of consumers use online media to shop locally. Studying smartphone users, Google & Nielsen found that 93% of people who use their phones to research ultimately go on to complete a purchase of a product or service, and most of these purchases happen in physical stores.
The immediacy and easy availability of information on the internet have changed both habits and expectations. People today want to be able to engage with businesses online through websites and social media. More and more companies today incorporate social media as a customer service channel. A few go a step further by proactively seeking out brand mentions or reviews to enhance their customer relations.
The numbers prove that customers are receptive. Forrester reveals that 80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands and, according to Conversocial, 54% of customers prefer social media for customer service over phone or email.
Mitigate Business Risks by Managing Your Online Reputation
Investing in your online reputation is a business imperative. It exists—and will impact your business significantly—whether you manage it or not.
Management entails a great deal more than opportunistic inceptions of conversations. By not taking ownership of your online reputation, you’re only forgoing your ability to influence it.
A bad review is bad for business. However, if your company actively manages reviews, it can do more than mitigate the damage—it can turn it into a positive. In its local consumer review survey, BrightLocal found that 97% of review readers consider a company’s public response to its reviews. Plus, 71% of those consumers say they’re more likely to use a business that has responded to its existing reviews.
Your online reputation is your reputation. Playing an active role, engaging with and responding to customers, can only benefit your business.
Benefits of Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Grow your online presence (gain increased exposure and visibility)
- Improve your customer relations, and encourage positive Word Of Mouth (WOM) marketing.
- Generate leads.
- Build trust with your audience – the importance of which is increasing.
PR firm, Status Labs, reports that 83% of buyers no longer trust advertising.
Make “reputation” one of your content pillars or communication objectives.
Plot “feedback” into your customer journey by asking for feedback, reviews, and ratings at various stages.
In real life, that would seem quite needy and socially annoying, but, online, people love to advocate wherever possible. If they believe in your offering, they will gladly associate with you and your network. It’s more than ok to ask (and keep asking for more) feedback. Implement what you’ve learned. Feedback gives you invaluable insight into what your customers want, by acting on that you’ll refine your service offering and gain even more loyal patrons.
In turn, these fans will be ever so willing to tell others about their positive experience with a brand that truly listens. In public, for hundreds of potential new clients to see. You can’t put a price on positive WOM, which is considered more credible than any advert or brand website. When people are talking: find your unique hashtag and own it forever.
ORM is a long-term game. It is a continual process of listen, respond, adapt (or implement), repeat. It’s worth every ounce of effort. Winning over buyers today means showing them who you are.
If you’re to make a good impression, you’re going to need to be the one who’s doing the driving.