What is Online Business Reputation Management and Why Does It Matter?

If you are growing your small business, you probably wear more than one hat. Bouncing between accounting, employee management, and day to day operations, can eat up every second of your day. But what about your business reputation? Are you managing your online reputation? Have you developed an reputation management strategy?

If you answered, no, to any of these questions, you more than likely haven't been paying attention to what customers and community members are saying about your small local business.

What Is Online Reputation Management?

Online business reputation management defined in under 50 words. Online business reputation management is all about listening, watching, and managing what your customers, other people in the community, or local organizations are saying about your business on digital channels. An example of one of these digital channels, Google Reviews.

Why Is Reputation Management Important?

Growing a small business can be one of the most challenging things a person or group of individuals can do. Many business owners miss or just neglect what people are saying on their online channels. Missing the importance of how this could, not only, negatively impact their business but their search appearance.

Search engines and social media channels are the mediums most used to drive traffic to websites. The first interaction most people have with your brand are through these channels

As a business owner, wouldn't you like that first interaction to be a positive one?

According to blog article from Moz, "67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews." This study is from September 2015, which is three years ago, but the numbers remain consistent.

Listen, watching and managing what customers and other people are saying about your organization online remains a seriously important factor in driving sales.

How To Manage Your Online Brand's Reputation

I will always say, your plan of action is to take the first step. Success is not built by just showing up, it's by taking action and developing a strategy for when, not if, negative comments are made about your organization.

Here are the steps to developing your brand reputation strategy:

  1. 1. Identify the mediums on which customers or other people could potentially speak about your organization. These could be; Google My Business, Facebook Business Pages, TrustPilot, Yelp, etc...
  2. 2. Go through already published reviews, comments, and mentions, and identify what is legit and what is fake. You can go here to see how to remove fake reviews on Facebook or here to remove fake reviews from Google.
  3. 3. Identify the positive reviews and like, respond, or share those positive reviews.
  4. 4. Identify the negative reviews and take the necessary steps to taking the conversation offline. Take a look at one of my personal experiences and how this business owner executed flawless brand reputation management.
  5. 5. Empower one of your employees to take the role of brand reputation manager and develop a plan for positive and negative reviews. There are also a large amount of softwares that can do this through automation.
  6. 6. Put your plan in to action!

You are well on your way to building and managing your online brand reputation through great reputation practices.