Do you know how your business is perceived online? The internet plays a significant role in day-to-day life, so it’s hardly surprising that it is often the first port of call when looking for a local business. Just like in the “real” world, reputation is an essential factor in the decision-making process. A good online reputation will go a long way towards attracting more customers – and a bad one will do just the opposite. In this article, we give you five tips to help you build a positive online reputation for your business.
Why is Online Reputation Important?
Reviews are the new word of mouth
Before the internet, a company’s reputation was mostly word of mouth. Now that people can (and do) go online to talk about their experiences, they can reach a much wider audience. A survey by Critical Research in 2021 found that 67% of consumers are more likely to choose a business that has online reviews compared to a business that has none.
Reviews Help with Purchase Decisions
91% of consumers take action as a result of reading positive reviews online (Source: Critical Research, 2021). With more people looking up reviews before making purchase decisions, maintaining a positive reputation online is increasingly important.
A Positive Online Reputation Builds Trust
People listen to people. And when they see that other people have had a great experience with your business, they are more likely to trust you. The opposite is also true – if what people say about you is mostly negative, they are more likely to steer clear.
Reviews are Good for SEO
Search engines like positive reviews. Therefore, with a glowing online reputation, you are more likely to rank higher in search results, meaning more eyes on your business. To find out more about the impact of reviews on SEO, check out our article entitled How Online Reputation Management Can Boost SEO.
Here are some tips on how to get started with building yours:
1. Ask Customers to Review Your Business
The most simple step in building a good portfolio of reviews is to ask. A survey found that 31% of people are more likely to leave a review if asked to do so (Source: Critical Research, 2021).
Make asking for reviews a habit. Asking every customer for feedback will help you maximise the number of reviews you receive and keep them up to date. 62% of people who read reviews expect the latest one to be no older than a month (Source: Critical Research, 2021).
Always remember to let people know where and how they can write a review and thank them for their time.
Places you can ask customers to write reviews include:
- Social media
- Review sites
- Your website
- Industry-specific forums
For ideas on encouraging reviews from customers, read 11 Ways to Encourage Customers to Leave Online Reviews.
2. Set up Profiles on Relevant Review Sites
People will often visit review sites when looking for a business. These sites are usually well established and therefore considered a trusted source of information. Being listed on such sites, therefore, can make sense.
Examples of review sites include Yell.com and Google My Business. There are also industry-specific sites such as TripAdvisor or TrustATrader. It’s worth doing some research to find out which sites your customers typically use for recommendations.
3. Respond to Reviews
As well as building a portfolio of reviews, make sure you check in regularly to respond to them. An active presence shows that you care about the quality of service you provide. Make sure to thank customers for their positive reviews. Doing so is not only polite but shows you appreciate the time they have taken to support your business online.
Also, don’t forget to address any negative reviews. Responding to negative reviews shows that you care about customer service. And it can turn a bad experience into a positive one. As a side note, if you’re worried about being judged on your bad reviews, just remember that 50% of consumers don’t trust feedback that is 100% positive (Source: Critical Research, 2021).
To find out more about responding to negative reviews, read our previous article You Don’t Need to be Scared of Bad Reviews. Here’s Why…
4. Promote Good Reviews
Taking the time to promote good customer reviews will further build awareness of your business and your fabulous work. Places you can share positive reviews include:
- on your website
- on social media
- in your email or printed newsletter
- in online or offline adverts
5. Provide Useful Content
A positive image is not just about reviews. When finding out more about a company, customers will also look at their website, blog, social media, and anywhere else you have a presence.
Enter useful content. Providing helpful content on your website will go a long way towards persuading customers to choose you. And while you don’t necessarily want to tell them how to do your job, offering helpful tips, advice and information will build trust, highlight your expertise and show why they should pick you.
Bonus Tip: Monitor Reviews
Keeping an eye on what people are saying about you is a vital part of managing your online reputation. However, this can also be time-consuming if there are lots of places you need to check.
Luckily, there are a few tools out there that can help make this task a bit easier. Some of these include:
- Google Alerts (use to set up free email notifications of any new mentions of your company name in search results)
- Social media tools such as Hootsuite (multiple platforms) or TweetDeck (for Twitter)
- Online Management Software (such as Yell’s Reputation Manager) enables you to view everything in one place, making things easier to manage
Do you want to see how your business is represented online? Run a free Online Reputation Scan now.
To sum up, a positive online reputation is invaluable to building trust and attracting customers. We hope that the steps outlined in this article will help you on your way to building a great online representation of your business.