With the days of advertising purely through word-of-mouth recommendations long, long past, it may seem like the importance of reputation management has faded with time. After all, given how much traffic organic search and paid advertisements can drive to your business’s website, surely brand reputation management is now secondary to something like SEO?
This couldn’t be farther from the truth, however. The reality is that the importance of reputation management is just as significant as ever—if not even more so.
In today’s online world, brand reputation management is vital to maintaining the image of your business. News travels fast online, and that means handling a tough situation poorly could quickly spiral into something much worse than just a negative review. So today, we’re looking at a few of the biggest reasons why online reputation management matters for your brand.
Helps you maintain a professional image
In no small part, people see your brand as the reviews that appear when they search for you. Of course, we’d all love for those online reviews to be glowing—but for negative reviews, that’s where reputation management comes in.
To start, responsiveness is a good attribute to have as a brand. Not responding to, acknowledging, or otherwise handling negative reviews will directly influence people’s opinion of your brand—specifically, they may see you as uncaring or dismissive.
As a rule of thumb, at Alter Endeavors we recommend responding to reviews and messages within 24 hours. This ensures that, even if a negative review begins to attract attention, most people that read the review will also see your side of the story and see that you care about your customer’s experience.
Additionally, when responding to a negative review it’s often a good idea to provide an internal email address for the reviewer to send further details. This demonstrates a willingness to hear them out, and it also gives the customer a chance to talk to a company representative directly to resolve any issues.
Builds better brand loyalty
Brand loyalty is based on a number of factors, but two things that matter a great deal are trust and care. Effective online reputation management helps you demonstrate both of these attributes.
On the trust and credibility side, most people in search of a product or service want to see the business they’re interested in is willing to address and handle issues. Being honest in your responses to negative reviews—rather than making excuses—helps demonstrate to other potential customers that you value honesty and strive to continually improve their experience.
While the customer that had a negative experience may not remain a customer, other people will see and, ideally, acknowledge and appreciate the effort you put in.
Further, seeking out opinions and reviews demonstrates that your business cares about the customer experience you provide. Doing so proactively is a great way to foster loyalty among your customers. For example, we’d recommend building a customer survey using a platform such as CatchEngine to ask customers about their experience more in-depth.
Improves your SEO visibility
Remember when we mentioned that brand reputation management shouldn’t necessarily be seen as secondary to SEO? Well, a major part of the reason why is because reputation management and SEO aren’t mutually exclusive—and carefully managing your image online can actually help boost traffic to your site.
While it’s not known exactly where responding to reviews ranks among the factors that go into Google’s search algorithm, it’s generally accepted that it does make a difference. Specifically, responding to reviews helps build Trustworthiness, which is the T within the E-A-T concept Google uses to assess the quality of pages and websites.
In addition to helping your brand appear in more searches, online reputation management also helps control the kind of SEO visibility your business gets. For example, if your business responds poorly to a negative customer experience or review, and that incident goes viral, it could wind up being the main thing users find in relation to your brand. Effective reputation management helps you steer the narrative surrounding your brand back to the things you want to be known for.
Drives more feedback on consumer needs
Reputation management isn’t just about external-facing damage control. It can also provide internal benefits—most notably, staying up to date with customer reviews is a great source of feedback on consumer needs.
Negative reviews, of course, can help reveal weaknesses of your brand or business. While some issues may simply be one-off mistakes, if you find that multiple customers are leaving poor reviews for similar reasons, that’s a major sign that this is an area for improvement.
Positive reviews are helpful in this regard as well. Identifying trends in positive reviews will clue you in to what your brand is currently doing well. This will allow you to make decisions as to whether you should simply continue doing what you’re doing, or even make this positive attribute more of a focus for your business.
After all, if many customers are praising the same thing, that’s at least part of what makes your business “uniquely better” in their eyes.
Alter Endeavors Can Help with Your Brand Reputation Management!
As part of our digital marketing services here at Alter Endeavors, we provide prompt and effective reputation management to maintain your brand’s image online. Having someone always ready to respond for you can make or break your business, and effective reputation management can improve your sales and general success as a business. If you’re interested in learning more about our brand reputation management services at Alter Endeavors, contact us today!