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When it comes to reputation management, going through the motions is simply not enough. As the world becomes more connected, businesses must place additional emphasis on managing their online reputation with long-term goals and sustainability in mind.

After all, the Web is a repository that will archive all your interactions, creating a visible timeline for all future customers and investors. Responsible reputation management is all about making sure all your online engagements, from building your profiles to responding to online reviews, are done following best industry practices and a holistic approach to brand image. Read why claiming your review profiles is essential to the success of your business.

Don’t Be Indifferent to the Voice of Your Customers

Hindsight is 20/20 for many businesses. Having failed to embrace review and reputation management from the very first moment they realized it existed has resulted in a notable loss of visibility, and potential revenue pointed in a different direction.

The voice of your customers as expressed on popular review sites such as Yelp, InsiderPages, Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor matters, and its relevance is expected to grow exponentially in the years to come. When it comes to listening to your customers, you must take a multifaceted approach in order to achieve long-term sustainability. Consider the following key engagement factors:

Listen to all of your online reviews: This is a common mistake for many businesses. Due to lack of knowledge, lack of tools, or lack of time, small- to medium-business leaders as well as executives in enterprise-level organizations opt for a selective approach in the managing of their online reviews, favoring some third-party review sites and fully neglecting others.

By doing this, they miss significant engagement opportunities and negatively impact how reviewers and potential future customers perceive them. Make it a point to read, understand, and address every online review associated with your business. It is the right thing to do, and as a result, long-term benefits will be multi-fold.

Learn from your online reviews: Both positive and negative online customer reviews contain a myriad of insights that can help you optimize the way you do business. While it is tempting to become discouraged by a negative review, it is both smart and essential to the survival of your business to see it instead as a business intelligence asset. As much as possible, try to avoid being a repeat offender on customer issues that could have been resolved by identifying the problem and addressing it at an operational level.

Love your online reviews: There is a widespread misconception regarding the volume and impact of bad reviews. The reality is that the majority of reviews left by customers are either neutral or positive.

Furthermore, the customer’s goal when leaving a review is mainly to help other consumers make better shopping decisions, and provide you, the business owner, with a way to pinpoint problem areas and identify product and services fortes. For the most part, your third-party online reviews will benefit your business more than you could ever imagine. Learn to love your reviews; celebrate the good ones, and learn from the bad ones.

Don’t Take Shortcuts

We highly encourage all of you to refrain from taking shortcuts. In the field of review and reputation management, shortcuts come in many shapes and forms, and they are all generally a bad choice when it comes to building a long-term online and offline reputation strategy.

Do not engage in the creation of false or paid reviews, or fall into the trap of believing shady marketing agencies offering to provide a quick and easy way for review site domination, or guaranteeing their ability to remove negative reviews. In addition to not taking shortcuts in review-related engagement, refrain from taking a careless or template-based approach to third-party review site profile content. Your profile content is there to build first impressions. Make sure each profile is brand-aligned, with minimal duplicate content, and pay attention to detail when it comes to grammar and spelling.

READ: 9 Ways Faking Online Reviews Will Destroy Your Business

Similarly, we want to discourage you from the copy-and-paste approach to review response. Responsible reputation management requires a commitment to professional and personal engagement with each reviewer. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to further your brand message and foster customer loyalty by responding with care and intentionality. Shortcuts may work short-term, but if what you want is long-term, sustainable, and thriving online reputation, then stick to values that put your customers first.

Don’t Trash the Competition 

Reputation management is never about leaving false or malicious reviews aimed at damaging the online profiles of your competitors, or speaking poorly about the competition in your own profile. False and malicious reviews will more than likely be moderated in the best of cases, or will result in legal conundrums that can impact you severely.

Responsible reputation management is about sticking to the golden rule. At the end of the day, you can achieve review domination by simply focusing on getting more and better reviews than your competitor, instead of using your time and energy on endeavors that are unethical and destructive. 

Don’t Be a Know-It-All

Reputation management as a subspecialty of online marketing is barely nascent. Don’t assume that you know it all. Stay on top of the latest industry trends, and be quick to change the direction of your ship as new review sites gain popularity, or apps and services are launched. Adaptability is essential to both maintaining and growing your online reputation. Make learning a priority. 

Don’t Stick to Manual Review Management

There are hundreds of review, local, and social sites, and more will appear in the upcoming years. Managing your reviews manually is neither sustainable nor effective. The right review management platform will help you capture historical data, provide real-time alerts, and assist you in identifying trends that might be affecting your business operations. Let us give you a demo of ReviewTrackers, our review monitoring and management software, and show you how it can help you channel the voice of your customers in a way that positively impacts your growth and profitability.

Kevin Kent

Kevin is the Director of Finance and Operations at ReviewTrackers. Every day he finds creative ways to solve business owners' problems and identifies key issues to help them achieve top results.

Discussion

  1. Don

    Leaving false reviews on competitors can get you into serious trouble. Especially if you get caught lol. And making up false positive reviews for yourself isn’t much better. There are people who get away with it I’m sure. But I hear more and more stories all the time about the people who don’t get away with it.

    Reply
    • Tim Walters

      Courts and state governments are getting more and more serious about this type of fraud as the weight online reviews carries increase.

      Reply
  2. Todd

    I like the ‘don’t trash the competition’ part. It seems that lately it is more important that your competition fails than for you to succeed. What happens if the situation is reversed, if for example the competition starts to trash your business? What is, in your experience the best way to deal with this?

    Reply
  3. Gayle

    I agree with the most part of review, especially with ‘Learn to love your reviews; celebrate the good ones, and learn from the bad ones’ – well said!
    However, I simply don’t see the point in ‘don’t trash the competition’ – why not?

    Reply
  4. Susan Armand

    I agree with you, however, as a business owner, I have to add that sometimes you cannot act as some people would like and that you have to stand up for yourself and your business.

    Reply

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