If you own a business and you want to see your company succeed, Online Reputation Management (ORM) is key.
You may be wondering: what is ORM? How will ORM strengthen my company? ORM is a process that manages, and monitors the online reviews for a company — essentially, ORM manages your online presence. The online world has grown to become a powerful platform for consumers everywhere to share and express their voices. With that being said, consumers are now calling the shots as they have the control on how the public views your business. This is why companies need to take action and be proactive in managing their reviews and reputation.
Think of it like this: we all know that first impressions are everything — they can either make or break a person. If Sarah is looking for an Italian restaurant and finds your business on Google, and all she can see are negative comments, her first impression of your restaurant won’t be good. These reviews are the first impressions your company is giving to consumers — so make them count.
Check-list to get business owners started on ORM
Look Up Your Company: Do some research and see how consumers are reviewing your business. Do people look at the company in a positive or negative light? You can also pinpoint what it is that reviewers like and dislike about the company.
Create a Google My Business (GMB) Account: Inputting the name, address and phone number (NAP) for your business will help you to improve your local presence on Google SERPs (don’t worry I’ll get deeper into this later on). Add current images to give life to the profile — this lets people know the company is staying up to date.
Google Alerts: These alerts keep you in the loop about what people are saying about your company at all times. The program will alert you when any mention of the business is made.
Remove or Push Negative Reviews: Depending on the platform, you can either remove or push negative reviews. If these reviews are left on platforms or profiles you can access, you will be able remove them. If the reviews are on 3rd party sites, you can push them by creating content and implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or simply respond to them. The constant content creation will push the positive content and citations upward and the negative reviews downward.
Impacts of negative reviews & positive reviews:
Lowers your Google Rating: Those golden stars are key — people don’t want to work or do business with companies who have less than 4 stars.
Decreases Reputability: Negative reviews cause potential customers to trust you less.
Hard to Fix: If you have many negative reviews, it can be difficult to regain trust and rebrand. Fun fact: It’s cheaper to manage and maintain a positive online reputation than it is to repair a negative one.
On the other hand, positive reviews will:
Increase Reputability: Consumers will trust your company and want to take a chance on you because they are seeing positive feedback on past consumers experiences.
Higher Ranking: Google wants to give consumers exactly what they need. Positive reviews will signal to Google that you are the best match for a particular user query based on your rating.
Overall, negative reviews can have a serious impact on your business. That is why ORM is crucial to any strategic business plan.
Ways to Manage and Improve Online Reputation:
Monitoring and managing your online presence will help maintain a positive reputation for your company.
Encourage Positive Reviews:
After your clients have finished their services with your company, send an email a day or two later asking them to rate and/or review their experience. Don’t wait too long to send the email. After a couple of days, people don’t have the motivation to write a review. Also, consider asking loyal customers who you have built good relationships with if they’d like to write a review.