What is Brand Reputation Management?
Managing your online brand reputation is both a reactive and proactive approach to customer service in the digital age. In 2019, over 50% of customers searched online at least once a week to learn more about a local business. Brand Reputation Management (BRM) or Online Reputation Management (ORM) ensures customers who search for your business will discover positive trust signals and continue down their customer journey toward becoming loyal customers and ambassadors.
Why Manage the Reputation of Your Brand Online?
When evaluating common purchase influences of online shoppers, Statista discovered 68% of customers were influenced by online reviews, and 67% were influenced by brand reputation. If managed properly, customer reviews can positively impact your sales. If mismanaged or ignored, customer reviews can negatively impact not just your brand’s reputation, but your bottom line.
“A half-star difference on a Yelp review rating can swing restaurant business by a whopping 27%” (Foodbeast)
Where are Customers Leaving and Reading Online Reviews?
Below is a breakdown of the most trusted review sites for local businesses. 60% of trust authority is split across Facebook, Yelp!, Google My Business, and TripAdvisor. These platforms are really important to your online brand reputation.
How are Customers Motivated to Leave Reviews for Your Brand?
A customer will leave a review for your brand for one of two reasons.
- A customer had a great experience and wants to share it with the world. In this case, congratulations! You’ve converted a customer into an ambassador for your brand. If the customer has a large following online, a positive review can organically grow your brand awareness in seconds, generating more customers and more sales.
- The second (and less celebratory) reason, a customer had a negative experience. Unlike positive reviews, a customer doesn’t need a large online following to quickly catch eyeballs. A negative review can also gain traction more quickly than a positive one if others have had a similar bad experience. If ignored or mismanaged, a negative review can potentially result in losing a large amount of brand trust, customers, and sales.
It sucks to get a bad review online. But, guess what? It’s possible to turn negative reviews into wins if navigated the correct way. Let’s dive into how to successfully manage your brand reputation online.
How to Successfully Manage Your Brand Reputation Online
- Change Your Mindset
Online customer reviews are unsolicited, unfiltered, and free customer surveys. When a customer leaves a review about a negative experience, consider it as an opportunity to better understand gaps and opportunities in your product or service delivery. Look beyond the harsh (sometimes too harsh) critique. Use negative reviews to your advantage.
Too many positive reviews can give your brand a fake appearance. Showcasing negative reviews along with positive ones can help your brand appear transparent and authentic. According to a recent survey by BrightLocal, 85% of consumers look for negative reviews in order to make informed purchase decisions. And this number skyrockets to 91% among consumers from the ages of 18-29. This means potential customers are looking for negative reviews to learn more about your brand. Make sure they’ll see your brand’s commitment to support and solve problems for customers.
- Respond, Every Time
Your brand’s response to a negative review is more important to your reputation than the review itself. Don’t waste the opportunity. Reward customers for taking the time to raise awareness about how your brand can improve. Follow up with customers who leave negative reviews, empathize with their pain points, and reward them with a special offer or discount to make it right. You’ll quickly see their perception turnaround. Heck, they may even turn into an ambassador for your brand.
Make sure there is a company-wide plan that documents exactly how to respond to negative reviews. This ensures your internal team is aligned with brand messaging.
- Monitor Brand Reviews and Mentions
The Internet doesn’t sleep. Reviews and mentions about your brand can be published at any time of the day, seven days a week. Make sure to stay on top of the latest reviews and mentions to avoid a potential PR nightmare. This doesn’t mean you need to designate one team member to manually monitor all of your accounts across all digital platforms 24/7.
Brand reputation monitoring has become much more automated and streamlined with brand reputation monitoring and management software like BrightLocal, ReviewPush, and BirdEye. Leverage free software if you have a minimal amount of accounts to monitor and manage. If you have multiple brand accounts across a number of platforms, use paid software to reduce your internal administrative overhead.
- Encourage Reviews from Customers
The best way to counter bad reviews is with positive ones. Make it easy for customers to submit reviews and share experiences after engaging with your brand. By taking a proactive approach to online feedback, you’re signaling to customers they’re a vital part of your business’s growth. Here are a couple of simple ways to encourage reviews.
- Meet Customers Where They Are: Offer review opportunities after checkout on a confirmation page or in an email.
- Make it Easy: Two clicks or less to complete a review is ideal.
- Create Incentives: Reward your customers for their review.
- Share Positive Reviews: Boast about your best customers on your social channels.
Check out more ways to encourage online reviews for your brand.
We hope this article helped to highlight the importance of online brand reputation management, and some ways to approach negative reviews. If you have additional questions, let’s chat.
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