What is Online Reputation Management?


Published: February 1, 2021 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
What is Online Reputation Management?

Establishing and maintaining trust is critical for today’s customers, especially when doing business over the internet. It’s hard for potential customers to know what to expect when working with a company for the first time, particularly when you’re getting your information from the web. In 2020, 87 percent of consumers turned to online reviews to learn more about local businesses, so it’s easy to see why online reputation management is becoming an increasingly important part of your digital marketing strategy. 

What is Online Reputation Management?

No matter what industry you’re in or what size your company is, people are talking about you on the web. Whether it’s posting customer reviews about your newest products or services, heading to Yelp to discuss their most recent visit to your restaurant, or mentioning you in a social media update, consumers are constantly voicing their opinions.

An Online Reputation Management Strategy for Your Business is Critical

The purpose of online reputation management is to first find these mentions and comments and then engage with them in a constructive way. When it’s positive content, gratitude is the right approach. When the feedback is poor, a genuine effort to correct the problem is crucial. Questions, concerns, and other conversations must also be addressed.

One of the most common mistakes businesses are making is to ignore what’s happening online altogether. The problem is that people are going to fill the void with their own thoughts and may take your silence personally. Instead, you need an online reputation management strategy that takes charge of your online presence.

Online Reputation Management Strategy

Your online reputation management strategy will depend on what industry you’re in, where people tend to leave the most comments, and how active your customers are in providing feedback. When developing your strategy, start by prioritizing what’s most important to you based on those three factors.

One example of what to prioritize may be your response time. In most cases, less than 24 hours is a reasonable goal, but a response time of under an hour during business hours may be beneficial for some very active consumers.

Or, you may wish to divide your responses and prioritize those on Facebook and Twitter and give a bit more time to respond to those on review sites. Another direction to consider is prioritizing negative reviews that could impact your business and consider positive feedback as less urgent, but still important to respond to.

It’s also important to know who in your company is responsible for which reputation management roles and make that designation clear to everyone else. It’s critical to your brand’s reputation to use the right tone of voice and offer appropriate remedies for bad reviews. Having a jumble of people address online mentions can make this task impossible.

Online Reputation Management Tool

If the activity of your customers is relatively tame, periodically checking on your digital assets, using a Google search, or relying on Google alerts and notifications from individual platforms may be enough. For most businesses, however, the number of places to keep an eye on and the level of activity can make it frustrating to stay on top of your online reputation.

In those cases, it may be helpful to use a specialized tool that’s built to collect these mentions and present them to you in a way that makes management more organized and effective. Most of these online tools allow you to enter your company’s name and variations of the name, along with keywords to either include or exclude in the search. Examples of these tools are Moz Local,  SEMRush Listing Management, or Yext.

Then, online content and social networks are scanned to create reports based on search results. From there, the tools may provide reporting on whether the overall feedback is positive or negative, what your reach looks like and how it’s changing over time, where you’re getting the most mentions, and more.

Hiring an Online Reputation Manager

While many business owners choose to manage their online reputations themselves, professional reputation management services can make life much easier for others. If you have plenty of extra time and excellent writing skills, you may be able to tackle your reputation on your own. Keep in mind that while having very few mentions and reviews will make managing your reputation easier, it’s not great for business. Ideally, you want lots of engagement, especially from those who will leave positive reviews.

Why You Should Hire an Online Reputation Manager

If you’re too busy to keep up or you don’t know enough about finding and staying on top of your mentions, hiring an online reputation management company will be well worth it. Plus, any business experiencing a reputation attack from a disgruntled person or seems to only attract negative comments will need some professional help to get back on track.

When looking for the right reputation management services, make sure to choose one that’s familiar with your industry. It’s also important to ensure their services are aligned with your goals. For example, if a fast response time to reviews is your goal, it’s critical that that service is offered by the professionals you choose.

Reputation Management Made Manageable

Perhaps your business is new and you want to get started on the right foot. Or, you’ve been around for decades and are just becoming aware of the importance of online reputation management. No matter what your situation is, we can help! We have experience working with businesses in a variety of industries, and our goal is a 24-hour response time, even on the weekends.

We know how important trust is for your customers, and we know how to make sure you’re making a good impression online for the long term. Plus, actively managing your online review pages can send the right signals to search engines and give your local SEO a boost.

Whether you need a hand keeping up, stuck on how to resolve a negative image, or want someone to take the entire project off your hands, we’re ready to get to work. Our strategies are proven to bring results and we've been ranked as one of DesignRush's Top Chicago Social Media Marketing Agencies.To learn more or get started, contact us today.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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