As anyone who’s ever gone to high school knows, reputation is important. What current and prospective customers think of your business can have a major impact on your company’s success. This has always been true, but in the digital age, with reviews, testimonials, and complaints available at the click of a button, managing your reputation has become more important than ever. Rave reviews on a site like Yelp can drive a flood of leads to your business, while a viral Facebook complaint video, whether valid or not, could cause hundreds of potential clients to choose a competitor.
The field of reputation management can be intimidating, overwhelming, and seemingly uncontrollable for many business owners. Fortunately, Concentric Management is here to help. We understand the growth-based strategies to help boost your repute, publicize your successes, and handle any complaints. The benefits of reputation management go far beyond PR and marketing. In the process of building your good name, you’ll learn more about what works for your customers and what doesn’t, allowing you to deliver outstanding service and earn exponentially more business.
Read on to learn more about reputation management basics, our outstanding techniques, and our customized approach to making your company renowned.
What is Reputation Management?
In the modern business world, reputation management is often discussed but rarely fully understood. You probably know it has something to do with press releases and might have a vague idea of online reviews being a part of the equation. WhatIs defines it more clearly: “reputation management (sometimes referred to as rep management, online reputation management, or ORM) is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or organization by influencing online information about that entity.”
The basic premise of online reputation management is that people will discuss your company, leave reviews, and read your website regardless of what you do, so you ought to take a proactive approach to this content. Fundamentally, reputation management is simply the action of engaging with your customers on online media to provide the best possible experience and promote your exceptional service. Often, reputation management is wrongly thought of as “crisis” management, reserved only for brands in crises or companies who need to do some “damage control.” While this is certainly one use for reputation management, it is not the best or even the most common. Companies in good standing can raise their renown to an even more exceptional status by taking an energetic approach. This is the essence of our growth-based strategies for reputation management.
How important is reputation management, really? We could go on and on about clients’ success stories and tactics for customer engagement, but the numbers don’t lie. Check out these stunning statistics on this important component of modern marketing:
- “88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations,” according to Search Engine Land. The days of relying on word of mouth referrals alone are long gone. Your current and prospective customers put their faith on online reviews, for better or worse.
- Search Engine Land also reported: “72 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.” While the world of online reputation management may seem daunting at times, this is its definite upside. If you can successfully drive positive reviews, resolve complaints, and build your online brand, you’ll have a serious advantage.
- Sustainable Journalism’s report on Pew Statistics found: “online reputation matters; 44 percent of online adults have searched for information about someone whose services or advice they seek in a professional capacity.” This means that online reputation is just as, if not more, important for B2B companies, recruiters, and similar businesses. In addition, if your company has a particular leader or public figure at its helm, you’ll need to monitor the online reputation of this person, as well.
- In his Huffington Post piece on this topic, Kevin Rowe cites: “in one survey by Dimensional research, 86 percent of customers who read a negative review online said that information impacted their purchase decision.” Your online reputation is a double-edged sword. If managed properly, it can propel your business to new heights, but if not, it could seriously affect your revenues.
- Rowe also points out: “Acquity Group’s 2013 State of B2B Procurement Study found that a whopping 94 percent of buyers complete some sort of online research before making a business purchase.” If you think your customers aren’t looking your business up on the web or that your online reviews don’t matter, you’re almost 100 percent wrong.
These statistics clearly demonstrate the significance of reputation management in this digital age.
Facts of Reputation Management
Building a business is a dynamic, multipronged enterprise, and so is maintaining a company’s brand. At Concentric Management, we create customized reputation management plans for each and every one of our clients. These individualized strategies often involve some combination of the following:
- Monitoring and Analysis. To revamp your reputation, we first need to understand your standing. Our experts can use advanced digital tools to evaluate your social media, website, and other types of engagement. In addition, we can conduct a review of your online reviews, testimonials, website content, search engine rankings, and social media to assess whether or not you are using these media to their full potential. These steps give us a baseline by which to measure the improvement in your online reputation and give us key metrics we can use to design a customized strategy.
- Social media engagement. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are some of the most fruitful means with which to interact directly with your customers. We can create outstanding content for these profiles and ensure you are appropriately responding to likes, follows, comments, posts, and reviews.
- Online review management. This is the quintessential component of online reputation management. Sites like Yelp and Google have become important forums for current customers to provide feedback and prospective clientele to check out your company. We can create better profiles on these sites and help you more effectively engage with reviewers (hint: arguing with an upset user is not the way to go). Furthermore, we can make it easy to follow up with your existing customers to encourage positive posts and handle client complaints before they ever reach these platforms (exceptional customer service could transform a one-star review into a five-star review!).
- Search Engine Optimization. SEO may seem like a separate function from online reputation management, but the two are inextricably linked. When researching your company, most prospects will begin with a search engine like Google. If the top result is a negative review on Yelp, that won’t bode well for your business, but if a glowing testimonial on your site appears first, it’s likely to help drive traffic to your company. We can help you boost the content that strengthens your reputation while lowering rankings for less favorable pages.
- Testimonial collection. Rather than waiting to see what clients write about you on review sites, you can ask for more direct feedback, especially from your most satisfied clients. We can assist you in collecting high-quality testimonials, which you can then publish on your website, share on social media, or even use in your marketing materials.
- We don’t ascribe to the old adage that “all press is good press.” However, we do believe that good press is, well, good press! With our help, you can be proactive about generating and distributing positive news articles, announcements, and releases regarding your business. Our skilled team knows the techniques and tactics to get your great news published.
With the above growth-based strategies at our disposal, Concentric Management is ready and willing to shift your reputation into high gear.
Points To Consider
But, you might wonder, why can’t I manage my reputation myself? Certainly, I should be able to publicize my company, respond to customers, and get press releases out on my own! While it is technically possible to do some reputation management by your lonesome, it’s not advisable to take on this task for yourself. Here are some example elements to consider:
- Legal liability. While you’re busy revitalizing your reputation, you might not stop to consider the technical details. In this new, strange world of digital marketing, online reviews, and social media, trying to bump up your reputation could actually break the law. For example, if you own a medical business, you’ll have to be very careful to engage with your clients without violating HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, an American federal law). As silly as it may seem, your patients can post whatever health information they want on review sites, whether or not it’s true. However, the second you affirm, correct, or share any patient data, you could be in legal trouble for sharing an individual’s medical information. In a piece for the California Dental Association, Lawyer, Sherry Mostofi, notes: “It’s important to follow proper protocol because many legal aspects can come into play with online posts; he risk of HIPAA violations and the myriad other potential legal liabilities may present themselves…posting information about patients, including names, pictures, and testimonials without the proper consents could constitute violations of HIPAA.” As masters of reputation management, Concentric Management’s team understands the ins and outs of these tricky legal concerns. We can help you succeed in this area without getting sued in the process.
- High stakes. As we’ve already pointed out, your online reputation can make or break your business, so you shouldn’t take any chances with it. Trying to manipulate your own search engine rankings could get your pages punished by algorithms, a single poorly worded response to an online review could cause widespread outrage, and a social media fumble could go viral. These important functions are best left to a trained team you can trust.”
- Corporate consistency. Concentric Management is proud to be a full-service firm, offering a wide variety of features and programs. Especially since reputation management is such a multi-pronged operation, it’s best handled by the same team authoring your content, improving your SEO, and posting your paid advertisements. Each of these services strengthens the others, and combining them can help you create a cohesive brand across all platforms.
These are but a few reasons why professional online reputation management is the smartest strategy, particularly when you partner with Concentric Management.
Are You Ready For a Remarkable Reputation?
The Latin scholar, Publilius Syrus, once said: “a good reputation is more valuable than money.” In the case of modern marketing, your renown is directly tied to your revenues, making your business as valuable as your reputation. Our team is prepared to help you! Contact Concentric Management today for a consultation.