For any business, having a positive reputation online is crucial. While there was once a world where the reputation of businesses relied on word of mouth, today if you’re not visible online in a positive way, you’re slacking compared to your competitors.
Most customers and potential customers pop your business into Google or in a social media outlet online before deciding to make a purchase or visit, and if they don’t like what they see then you’re ruled out.
That’s why ensuring you display a positive reputation online is key. Your website, customer reviews, images, branding, and social media outlets will all be a deciding factor for many people considering making a purchase.
Want to learn the main advantages of having a positive online reputation in further detail? Keep reading.
What Is an Online Reputation?
First, let’s cover ‘what is a reputation?’. As mentioned, before the internet and social media most businesses relied on word of mouth publicity. Companies with big budgets could carry out marketing advertising campaigns on billboards and on television, but, of course, only the big brands could afford it.
Enter the internet, and ‘word of mouth’ becomes replaced by ‘word of mouse’. An online reputation, otherwise known as an e-reputation, is the reputation of a brand, person, product, or service reflected on the web and other digital platforms.
This online reputation is affected by various factors. This includes the social content a brand or individual distributes, the reviews and interactions with internet users, social media activity, and more.
While a positive online reputation is crucial for any business, it’s even more important for e-commerce companies. This is because their livelihood is online, and a negative reputation can heavily affect their credibility and visibility.
Today browsing web users can decide on your brand with a simple click, and this decision is often reflected by your company’s online reputation.
The positive reputation of any business is essential for it to thrive. Customers now have free reign to express how they feel about a specific brand, product, or service and these views can either make or break a company’s reputation. This isn’t just in the eyes of the customers, but also the competitors, influencers, community members, trade groups, and others with whom the brand communicates with.
However, in many cases, businesses know they need a positive reputation online, but they don’t understand the specific reasons why. And once you do learn why a positive online reputation is beneficial, planning your online marketing strategy becomes a whole lot easier.
Ready to hear the benefits of a positive reputation? Let’s delve in.
1. Combats Negative Criticism
A negative review or criticism isn’t nice for any brand, but that’s where a good reputation swoops in to save the day. A great online reputation can come to your rescue when negative reviews crop up to harm your company.
Plus, the loyal community you’ve gained will rise to your defense to help you out. If you have a solid network of happy and well-treated customers, they’ll stand up for you if your reputation is challenged.
Negative reviews are one of the biggest factors in the ranking decline of a business in a search engine. So, to swallow these negatives comments, a host of positive comments and reviews are crucial. That way, the negative reviews get lost among the positive ones and make less of a difference to rankings.
2. Builds Trust
Brands with a strong online reputation are, of course, trusted more. That’s because people trust the opinions of others, and if lots of people appear to commend a brand, product, or person, others are likely to follow suit.
If you struggle to get people to trust your company, you’re going to have a hard time selling your products and services.
A good way to build trust among customers and potential customers is to make your brand as transparent as possible. Today’s online customers are savvy and switched-on, and most appreciate a company that’s open and honest rather than one that appears to be shifty and hiding something.
As a brand, listen to your online customers and respond to reviews and comments, whether they’re good or bad. By responding to negative comments too, you show to everyone that you care about your customers and take all feedback, questions, and queries onboard.
Even replying to comments on Facebook or Instagram can help boost your reputation and builds trust among customers. You want to feel that customers can express their thoughts to you on your brand, products, and services and can expect a swift response back.
The positive reviews and feedback online help ensure the credibility of your company. They offer information and advice on your company and products that aren’t from you yourself, so other customers know that the comments are genuine and aren’t sugar-coated.
Remember, don’t assume your reviews and ratings will stay positive on their own. The higher you set the bar, the higher the customer’s expectations are. That means it’s always important to try and outdo yourself, so you can keep the positive reviews coming.
3. Increases Profits
One of the main benefits of having a positive reputation is that it helps increase profits.
Think about it. When a customer discovers that your brand outperforms one of your competitors, that customer is likely to choose you again, potentially becoming a loyal customer.
Then, the cycle continues. That loyal customer may become an advocate of your brand, sharing their positive thoughts, feelings, and experiences via review websites and on social media.
This effect can snowball, and word can spread on how amazing your brand is, boosting sales impressively. In many cases, this natural way of advertising is more effective than a huge advertising campaign with lots of money behind it.
Companies with lots of positive online reviews, such as on Google, usually attract more business. How many times have you searched up a restaurant online to check what the reviews are like before heading out to visit it? Of course, if most of the reviews were negative, you’d opt for a competitor instead.
Now it’s more important than ever to have plenty of fresh and relevant reviews for your company online. The more you have positive recommendations for your business online, the more people will search your company online, and the higher your brand will be boosted on the search engines.
In some rare cases, a positive or negative review on a company can even go viral, especially if it’s funny or has something unique about it. In these cases, that review will gain high recognition from consumers and even the media. You may have hit the jackpot! (unless it’s a negative review).
4. Attracts Talent
Want to attract the best talent in the business? Then a positive online reputation is crucial. After all, everyone wants to work for a brand with a reputation that hits the limelight and roars of success.
A strong, much-loved, and successful brand boosts the mood of employees and drives them to perform to their best. And if the talent pool in the brand strengthens and grows, the business can also grow and improve too.
Reviews and a great online reputation are just as important for drawing in quality employees as they are for customers. Talented job seekers aren’t going to want to work for the company with the one-star rating. They’re going to aim for the brand with the five-star rating that emits a buzz among the industry.
People want to work for a successful company that’s going places and has the potential to grow. They want to work for a brand that makes them feel fulfilled and successful themselves. They want to work for a company that shares the same core values and beliefs as them, one that they can trust.
Positive online content and reviews show that your brand offers a favorable culture that potential employees can see themselves working in. So just as brands with great online reputations attract more customers, they also attract quality talent too.
5. Positions You as an Industry Leader
A fantastic online reputation also instills the idea into people’s minds that you’re an industry leader within your field. The positive publicity encourages people to look up to you, separating you from the competition. This reputation inspires others, with many looking to you as a role model within the industry.
Today’s business environment is highly competitive, and the way people look to a company offers a direct impact on its sales.
With an incredible online reputation, businesses can establish themselves as the go-to source for all issues related to that field, building even more trust among customers. For brands that are well-recognized, they can earn free media coverage in papers and magazines, online, and on the radio. This elevates them even further above the competition and boosts their reputation even more.
When people are searching for the products and services you’re offering and see your brand’s name at the top of the list, they’ll see you as an industry expert and will trust you more than your competitors.
How to Maintain a Good Online Reputation
Now we know the benefits of maintaining a positive online reputation, but how do we go about that? While it’s a big topic, we’ll briefly touch upon some of the best practices for online reputation management.
Your online reputation is a mixture of what you do as a business and what consumers say about your brand.
While building an excellent reputation seems like a mammoth task, it works similarly to building your business. In short, you get what you give. Here are some of our quick tips.
Go Beyond the Ordinary
Our first advice is to go beyond the ordinary and beyond expectations. Deliver to your customers more than they expect, and soon tongues will start wagging both online and offline. For example, offer them a special freebie as a treat with a purchase, or pay attention to their unique interests.
As mentioned, be responsive with customers to let them know you value them. Respond to comments and reviews and return their emails and calls in a good time. Address their thoughts and feedback with clear and concise dialogue.
If there’s an issue, be sure to resolve it quickly. If you’ve made a mistake as a brand take full responsibility and make it up to them, whether with a refund or discount, depending on the nature of the issue.
Find a resolution to the problem as quickly as possible, and your prompt support and efforts won’t go unnoticed. If you deal with an issue well, it many cases you can turn an unhappy customer into a returning client.
The Importance of a Positive Reputation
When it comes to positive reputation management on the internet, online reviews are the new business card. Customers and consumers judge companies based on what their online reviews say about them.
In most cases, negative reviews will deter prospects and positive reviews will attract them.
That’s why it’s crucial for any business to implement an online reputation management strategy to welcome positive reviews to build a more positive online brand reputation. That way you can reap the benefits of a strong brand reputation including improved trust among customers, the ability to attract quality talent, the chance to position your brand as an industry leader, increased profit, and the ability to combat negative attention.
That’s where we come in to help. Learn how we can help you receive 10x more reviews than your competition here.