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Reputation management is the act of proactively managing what consumers learn about your business —usually through Google, social media channels like Facebook, or another one of the hundreds of review sites on the Internet.
It’s important to listen to your customers and empower them to become your voice and your advocates. Testimonials from existing customers provides proof of your brand’s excellence to prospects . Let’s take a second to talk about why your brand’s reputation matters.
Your brand’s reputation is valuable. Just like your first impression is important when you’re meeting new people, your business’s reputation is important to new customers.
While it’s hard to quantify, our reputation even has monetary value. A good reputation means that your brand is worth more. According to the Economist, 30% of the value of the S&P 500 comes from brand reputation.
Think about a big brand like Nike. When you see the iconic swoosh, you know the brand represents quality athletic footwear. Nike has carefully built this image through decades of advertising and celebrity sponsorships with athletes like Michael Jordan.
Some of the value of a company like Nike comes not just from their profits, but also the reputation of their brand. Whenever Nike puts out a new shoe, consumers know that they can expect the same level of quality that they see with all of Nike’s products.
Of course, reputation management isn’t just a game that only giant companies like Nike can play. You don’t need to get Michael Jordan in order to get customers to trust your business. Every company can build a solid reputation through the online reputation management.
You don’t need flashy celebrity sponsorships or Superbowl commercials in order to build a strong reputation. What you do need is the authentic voice of your current customers.
Right now, there is a space where customers are checking to determine your business’s reputation: review sites. There are hundreds of review sites on the Internet, from review giants like Google and Facebook to smaller, industry-focused sites like Healthgrades and Avvo. Here, local businesses are rated and reviewed by real customers. This is where your online reputation is created.
Studies show that 92% of customers consult reviews before making a purchase decision. So it’s simple, the better your business looks on review sites, the better your reputation. The better your reputation, the more customers will come to your business.
There’s a simple reason why online reviews can make such a big impact on your business: customers trust them.
Customer reviews represent the real opinions of real customers. Any business can claim to be the best business. If you have lots of quality reviews from customers, it shows social proof that businesses actually care about your services.
A study by the Harvard Business Review showed that a 1-star increase in reviews can result in a 5-9% increase in revenue. Here are some factors that can help your business’s online reputation:
- If the reviews are positive
- You have “fresh” recent reviews
- You have lots of reviews
- Your business is highly rated
- Your reviews are authentic
- You respond to both positive and negative reviews promptly with a positive and helpful demeanor
Since customers find reviews important, search engines do too. Online reviews provide fresh, organic content for your business, and are displayed in search engine results. Therefore, they have a massive impact on your search engine ranking (See Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Small Business).
Search engines are the roadways that help direct targeted traffic to your site. It’s like the signs on the side of a freeway that tell you there’s gas, food, and a place to sleep off a particular exit. If you don’t have your signs up, search engines won’t know that they can send traffic your way.