Managing Your Businesses Reputation & Why It's Important

Managing Your Businesses Reputation & Why It's Important
15 May 2017 8127 Comments 0 Trackbacks Andrew Johnson

Businesses have always had to manage their reputation

All that has changed is the way in which a business manages that reputation, the speed in which it takes place, and the number of people that are reached by all of that information. Customers today are interactive in defining a business. With the creation of review sites, social media, forums, and other outlets, your customer is more active in the process than ever before.

Managing your reputation online is a time consuming endeavor and businesses don’t often have the time, money, or manpower to maintain their reputation properly inhouse. Even with using the various products and services that are on the market today without outside help this can be a daunting task. Given that maintaining the online presence of a business is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make. One of the most vital aspects of managing any business online is getting, monitoring, responding, and then amplifying your presence through online reviews. If your business isn’t taking this seriously you should continue reading.

Are Online Reviews Really That Important?

In short, Yes! You can’t deny the statistics, and they keep increasing each year.

  • 88% read reviews to determine quality of a local business (vs. 85% in 2013)
  • 39% read reviews on a regular basis (vs. 32% in 2013)
  • Only 12% do not read reviews (vs. 15% in 2013)
  • 74% of customers trust online reviews as much as person recommendations.
  • 93% of people who use a mobile device for research go on to make a purchase.

These numbers are powerful statements and reasons in favor of investing reputation management. If you're still not convinced please keep reading.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Yelp and others have dramatically changed the landscape and way businesses communicate with their customers. Customers control both the choice and the conversation more than ever. A reputation today is more about what customers say about a business and less about what a business says about itself. It is more about problem a customer has, is looking to solve and their communication about you highlights how you helped them solve it. In this communication the consumer is highly favoured and you can no longer just broadcast the message you want people to see. You have to interact with your consumer more than ever before. Customers can rave about a business or let everyone know they had a terrible experience. Earned media—like mentions, reviews and shares—has empowered consumers to advocate for brands they care about. Today, consumers can communicate with brands and vice versa, like never before. This has created a world of opportunities for both consumer and business alike. The story a business tells must be consistent, with the experience that customer experiences. If it is it could mean stellar remarks and high rewards. If not the business will be penalized with negative reviews and comments. This is where having the right tools and support in place to monitor, responds and manage these interactions is critical.

So What Can Your Business Do?

Being present and having a good reputation go hand in hand. Not being listed on a reference site customers use is just as bad as having bad reviews somewhere else. When many of a business’s online profiles have user generated content like reviews, their reputation drives tangible results. You need to maximize visibility and reputation simultaneously, building off the genuine customer experience.

Building a consistent online presence and a positive reputation is important for both consumers and search engines. Some of the most important aspects of the online footprint include:

  • Number of listings
  • Consistency of listing information (name, address, phone)
  • Overall sentiment in reviews
  • Frequency or current velocity of new reviews
  • Overall volume of reviews
  • Social activity and engagement (especially with reviewers)

People trust traditional advertising far less than social recommendations and review sites. Customers view this user generated content as more genuine and authentic, expecting them to mirror the actual customer experience. This means that maintaining a reputation is getting increasingly more important. Nearly 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information online. Google has reported that nine out of 10 of those searches lead to action, and more than 50% lead to sales. Much of the time, a customer decides to purchase before even entering the store. If a business has a good web presence, customers will come to them rather than their competitor. This includes local listings in order to be found; reputation management in order to be chosen, and; social products for word of mouth. Once they’re in the store, 79% use their smartphones inside to look at reviews, compare prices and other metrics, and 74% of them end up making a purchase. Those numbers make the opportunity clear: maintain a good online reputation, get people in the door and make sales. What people see online matters. 74% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations—this is a huge shift in thinking that has become more prominent year over year. This translates to dollars, as customers put their money where their trust is. A Harvard Business School study found that a restaurant that sees a one star increase on Yelp will see revenues increase anywhere from five to nine per cent.

Ninety-seven percent of consumers find local business info on the web, and nearly 90% make decisions based on what online reviews say. Every business is constantly being put to the test, and the results of that test are being published. Review sites like Yelp! and TripAdvisor host over a combined 270 million reviews and if you consider the billion+ users on Facebook and Twitter, there’s a good chance you’re being talked about online. It’s time you started paying attention to what they are saying about your business.

Gone are the days when all a business had to do was throw their [keyword] all over their website to score high in local search rank. For this we’re all thankful. There are tons of factors that affect search engine ranking (SERP factors) and many of them include reviews. Some of those are:

  • Diversity of third-party sites on which reviews are present
  • Authority of third-party sites on which reviews are present
  • Quantity of Reviews by Authority Reviewers (e.g.Yelp Elite, Google Local Guides, etc)
  • Positive Sentiment in Reviews
  • Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native + Third-Party)
  • Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews
  • Product/Service Keywords in Reviews

Aside from SEO on Google and other search engines, Yelpers can filter their search options to include “highest rated” and “most reviewed.” If local businesses lack reviews, they won’t show up as a local fave here. Consumers are declaring their purchase intent—71% of searches on Yelp came from mobile devices, meaning that while customers are on the move and ready to buy, they’re checking reviews.

If you are interested in learning more about how AJ’s Full House can effect and maintain your customer relationships, your SEO, and your reputation, schedule a no obligation consultation today.

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