The Importance of Online Reputation Management In The Digital Age

Reputation management is nothing new in the world of advertising, marketing and branding a company. However, in today’s increasingly digital world, a new area has emerged: Online Reputation Management (ORM). ORM involves taking control of the online conversation surrounding your company. And it’s never been more important than it is now.

Why is online reputation management important for your business? Consider that in 2010, only 22% of consumers were reviewing a company’s digital reputation before choosing to do business with them. According to a recent consumer review report by BrightLocal, the number of consumers now who read online reviews for local businesses is 86% (including 95% of people aged 18-34). Of those, 27% of consumers looked online daily for a local business in 2018 — more than double the proportion in 2017.

The basic concept is nothing new. Consumers have always looked to the experiences of others to help influence their decisions. Before the Internet, word-of-mouth referral was key for many companies. Today, social media is the new word-of-mouth, except word travels faster, farther and beyond the traditional bounds of family, friends and neighbors. Social media provides consumers with worldwide reach.

And if you think ORM is only for big brands, think again. With the rise of social media, monitoring and managing your digital reviews is more important than ever. The same report from BrightLocal showed that 78% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, underscoring the importance of ensuring that what customers see is not only accurate, but positive.

Still not convinced how important online reputation management is?

An entire market has developed to deal with ORM using software platforms, online tools and more. Companies are making their money by helping you manage your online reputation. But, there’s a lot you can do to manage your reputation yourself.  

Build Your Online Reputation: First, you need to create your online reputation. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and in today’s social media charged environment, your digital reputation is often people’s first impression of your business.

Build Your Brand: Provide the ultimate level of customer service each and every time. Turn your customers into brand ambassadors and provide opportunities for them to speak highly of their experience. Ask them to review your business and their experience and provide them with the means to do so to make it easy.

Build Trust: Make your business more transparent. By monitoring your online reviews and responding to them, both good and bad, you demonstrate your willingness to serve customers well and make changes when necessary. Open and honest communication with customers is a great foundation for your marketing campaign. And with the shift from conventional advertising to more online and social media advertising, it has become increasingly important to engage consumers online.

Build Recognition: When you win an award or receive recognition, take advantage and publicize. Share the information on your website, in your advertisements, on your social media pages and more. Your online reputation in today’s digital landscape is a 24/7 advertising tool that helps get the good word out about your company to consumers searching in your community.

Build a Strategy: Having a strategy for handling online management, whether you outsource it or handle it in house, is important. A comprehensive ORM strategy can highlight your company’s strengths while also helping to deflect negative publicity.

Further, managing your online reputation helps keep you in touch with your consumers. You can gain valuable knowledge from your customers on what they love, what they want to see change, what they think is missing and more. Your customers are one of your greatest assets if you take the time to learn from them.

Companies with a positive reputation also have a better chance at recruiting the best talent. In fact, a Corporate Responsibility Magazine/Allegis Group Services survey recently showed that job seekers (as high as 69%) are likely to reject an employment offer from a company with a bad reputation.

If there is one thing that’s certain, it’s that a good online reputation can absolutely help a business and a poor online reputation can cause serious damage if it isn’t dealt with proactively. According to Reputation X’s 2019 Online Reputation Management Statistics, 74% of consumers have greater trust in a company if they read overwhelmingly positive reviews. Conversely, the research shows that 60% of respondents said that negative reviews made them not want to use a business. The good news is that consumers are getting more adept at sorting real reviews from fake reviews.

Consumers like to feel as though they are purchasing products and services from a trustworthy source, and online reputation management can help you maintain that image.

City Beat News and the team at The Stirling Center for Excellence also understand the importance of creating a strong online reputation. The two seek out, rate and recognize companies through their unbiased, independent research and rating system that creates one comprehensive, yearly rating for companies. In the process, they remove the bias, both positive and negative, that is inherent in many online ratings and reviews, which can be altered by competitors, disgruntled employees or others. Those companies with top ratings receive the Spectrum Award for Customer Satisfaction.

Let City Beat News partner with you in managing your online reputation. The company is dedicated to helping small to mid-size companies that provide excellent customer service. It offers marketing support to help those companies spread the word and capitalize on their high rating and subsequent Spectrum Award.