If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the internet has drastically changed the way people operate in the world. Most notably, it’s changed how we not only collect information, but also how we pass that information along by giving each person a platform where they’re encouraged and empowered to share information about their work and experiences, their hobbies and families, and their likes and dislikes. And we’re not just talking about social media.
All across the internet, websites, listings, forums, businesses and reviewers aggressively solicit feedback from consumers. Since 66% of global consumers say they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions, this can often provide great exposure for businesses, especially if their customers are the type that typically leave positive reviews or comment about their good brand experiences. But with studies finding that people are more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones, the internet has also made it incredibly difficult for some businesses to maintain a positive reputation online. This puts businesses in danger of losing business as a study by Dimensional Research found that 86% of consumers were dissuaded from making a purchase based on a negative review.
On the flip side, if you don’t really have a presence online, you could also be missing out on gaining new customers, especially if your competitors have a strong online presence.
Your online reputation is made up of a variety of factors: social media, your website, SEO, online listings and reviews. It can often be overwhelming to manage your online presence across the internet – especially if you’re not even aware of when and where your business is being mentioned. Add in the extra time it takes to keep track of your mentions and manage your listings and you’ve got enough work to distract from your other responsibilities as a business owner.
The good news is that there are now tools available that automatically monitor your online reputation for you, removing the guess work, tedious searches and time you would have to spend if you were to do it manually. These tools are called online reputation management systems and they automatically monitor the web for mentions to give you the data and information you need to craft strategies to counteract negative material, boost your search rankings and/or improve your organization’s online visibility.
So now that we’ve covered what online reputation management systems are and why they’re important, let’s talk benefits.
- Increased customer satisfaction
Most online reputation management systems will send you an alert as soon as someone mentions your name on the internet which enables you to respond immediately to thank the person for positive comments or resolve any complaints that person may have. This is especially important in the case of negative comments. Marketing experts say that it’s essential to respond to customer concerns within 48 hours to avoid further damage to your reputation. Shorter response times leads to quicker resolutions to customer complaints, increasing customer satisfaction.
- Gain Insights into Your Customers
One of the best things about online reputation management systems is that they help you consolidate data to report on trends on where people are talking about you, what they typically talk about and who has the most influence. This data is critical for you to figure out where you should focus your communication efforts online and can give insight into what your clients value about your products and services as well as how you can improve to better meet their needs.
- Eliminate inconsistent information
Chances are there’s probably some inaccurate information out there about your business. Whether it’s an incorrect phone number, outdated product information or a broken link to your website, inconsistent and inaccurate information can actually turn customers away. In fact, 37% of consumers will not consider a business with inconsistent information and 32% of consumers will not consider a business with the wrong contact information listed online. How an online reputation management system helps fix this problem is that it automatically searches the web for any potential mention of your business so you know exactly where your business is listed, giving you the knowledge necessary to correct any inaccuracies. Consistent information about your business across the internet increases your credibility and strengthens your brand.
- Increase your business’s visibility
The more activity you have online, the more people are going to see you. Accurate information, up-to-date reviews, a developed website and active social media accounts all influence how you’re ranked in online searches. We don’t really need to spell out why this is important, but at the risk of stating the obvious – the more people see you, the more customers you’ll get, it’s as simple as that.
Ready to learn more about how you can put an online reputation management system to work for you? Click here to explore how you can use Eliot Insights, EMG’s online reputation management system to grow your business.