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Today, the Internet and social media channels have changed the way reputations spread. Any compliment, bad review or rumor can live and grow anywhere on the World Wide Web. Although we find ourselves and our businesses in difficult times, reputation management is as important as ever. While managing reviews may seem like a daunting task to businesses at this point in time, not doing so could be costly at its worst and the loss of an opportunity at its best.
There is a great deal of unrest and confusion caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. So much so that on March 20, Google temporarily shut down the publication of new reviews and the Q&A function. The disabling of review creations or responses for consumers and business owners alike was intended to prevent inaccurate and potentially harmful information from being disseminated to consumers about businesses. However, Google recently announced via its Help Center, that “new user reviews, new user photos, new short names, and Q&A will gradually return by country and business category.” If arguably the most important online review platform is concerned about what consumers are saying about your business, you should be too.
We’ve compiled some of our thoughts and shared some insights on reputation management and how it can be and should be used to your company’s advantage while about 306 million people are under some form of lockdown across the United States. Let’s get started.
By definition, reputation is the overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general.
Managing your reputation is nothing new. Every business has been doing it for as long as businesses have existed. However, managing and defending your company’s reputation before the creation of the Internet was a bit easier. In today’s world, it is all too easy for business patrons to profess their thoughts to a seemingly endless audience from behind a screen with little no repercussions on the accuracy of claims.
According to Forbes, 97% of business owners and operators stated that online reputation management is important to their business. In addition, 98% stated that online reviews were also of import. Do you find yourself planted firmly within the 3% group that does not share the feelings of the masses? You may want to rethink your stance as poor reputation management can be risky business.
When a consumer is researching businesses within your industry, what will they come upon when they reach your online profile? We challenge you to reflect upon your company’s digital footprint. If your company is bigfoot online – rare sightings only – you may want to ramp up your requests for positive online reviews. If glowing reviews are plentiful, you’re in great shape. We think Forbes said it best:
“The fact that a brand’s online reputation is never fully controllable is what makes it so valuable and trustworthy.”
Pretty accurate, especially considering the following stats:
It truly does pay to keep on top of what customers are saying about you. According to Harvard Business School, every 1-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Don’t take a positive review for granted. Make the review work for you – highlight it and share it with your customers on your website, on social media or via another marketing medium.
Positive reviews are great, but negative reviews can be used to your advantage as well. Have an upset customer on your hands? Do not meet their hostility with more hostility. Rather, thank them for bringing their concern to your attention, highlight the priority of the issue and outline the steps you will take to resolve the problem. A prompt response to a negative review can turn a critic into a fan. It can also provide your business with tips for improving customer service.
You company’s reputation can change overnight. Whether people are sharing positive things or negative, you need to keep on top of it!
Need help on the reputation management front? The Times Union Media Group has you covered. We’ll establish your presence on popular directories, monitor any review activity and work with you to craft a professional response when the need arises. Online sources are scanned continuously and automatically to bring you the most complete and up-to-date data on how your business is perceived by your customers.
But wait… there’s more!
From there, the data is collected, broken down and analyzed so you can target consumers who are actively engaging with your company or product. The creation of a customized marketing approach yields more inbound leads, higher instances of consumer engagement and in turn, more revenue. Interested in learning even more about our reputation management service? Get in touch today! We look forward to hearing from you.