- 90 percent of consumers read online reviews.
- 88 percent believe more in online reviews than personal recommendations.
- 86 percent will most likely not purchase from a brand that has a negative reputation.
So, what do these stats tell you? First, online reviews are highly influential. They have the power to make or break your business. Second, customers are more empowered and demanding. Instead of trusting your opinion about your brand or what you are trying to convey through your ads, they trust honest opinions from other users like themselves.
Online reviews are one the most effective marketing channel for businesses of all sizes, and yet most business owners tend to either ignore them or take the wait-and-watch approach. Monitoring, improving and protecting your brand’s online reputation should be a part of your daily operations. The good news is that you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to improve your online reputation. Here are 10 easy ways to help you improve your brand’s online reputation.
- Leverage social media: Social media could prove to be the biggest platform for online reputation management. You must use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels to your advantage by posting updates about your products and services. You can also post photos of your products because photographs leave a lasting impression in the minds of readers. Through your business pages on social media, you can also offer discounts and deals to attract consumers.
- Encourage positive reviews from real customers: Most customers will not motivated enough to write a review of your business. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to go out of your way to encourage them to post reviews about your products and services. You could offer an incentive for writing reviews. Your customers may feel more encouraged to write a review if there is something in it for them.
- Find out the reasons behind negative reviews: If you’re constantly experiencing negative customer reviews, it’s high time that you analyze the real reasons behind dissatisfied customers. If you’re receiving reviews related to poor quality of products or poor customer service, there may be an underlying issue within your business that you’ll need to address in order to create a stronger online reputation.
- Handle negative reviews appropriately: Responding harshly to a negative review may do even more damage to your online reputation. Instead, a negative review can be an opportunity for you to boost your online reputation. You can please an unhappy customer by apologizing and offering product returns or compensation, thus reiterating your brand’s high-grade customer service.
- Pay attention to feedback: If you can handle suggestions and criticisms from your employees, customers and the social media community, you are on the right track to building a stronger online reputation for your brand. By being receptive and flexible in accepting both applause and disapproval, you’ll attract honest suggestions from customers and employees.
- Offer compensation to employees for encouraging customer reviews: You can encourage your employees to help improve your online reputation by the way they treat customers. You could announce incentives for employees who go over and above in serving a customer or for converting an unhappy customer into a happy one.
- Reward loyal customers: Loyal customers can be your brand ambassadors, so it is a good practice to reward them for their support. Special discounts will keep them coming back to you and referring you to their family and friends. This will not only get you more positive customer reviews but may also help increase sales.
- Stay active on blogs: Whenever your business introduces a new product or a service, you must blog about it. The idea is to keep customers informed about the various features of your products. You must also provide a link to your website where the customers can review and assess your products. This will show that you are confident about your products, and positive customer reviews will help your brand immensely.
- Participate in online communities: Creating and promoting your business profile on online communities can be a great way to build a reputation. The only thing to keep in mind is that the more you help other people, the more they’ll connect with you and your brand. Such online communities will not only help you gain information but will also offer incredible exposure
Don’t wait too long: So many businesses wait until something bad happens before they even consider fixing their online reputation. And by the time they initiate damage-control measures, considerable damage is already done. Starting early will ensure that a positive reputation is maintained and the occasional negative feedback will not do much damage to it.