How Vital is Online Reputation Management?

 In Core Local®, Digital Marketing

The popularity of online review websites has skyrocketed in recent years proving that people are putting more and more stock into what others have to say about businesses, products, and services. Can your business afford to ignore the online reputation it has? There are 3 main things that make reputation management so crucial to any business: Reach, Credibility, & Direct Interaction with Target Market.

Long Reach

With the world wide increase in internet usage, the reach of the internet has exponentially exploded. Users from all over the world now have the ability to view, purchase, and review your goods and services.

This new found reach the internet provides that is now available to anyone with an internet connection and a computer, tablet or phone opens up your business to reviews from all over the world.

Perceived Credibility

According to a Nielsen study, more than 70% of people trust online reviews from unknown people. We have all grown accustom to the 5-Star ratings process.  Everyone attributes the feelings of being let down by products in the past to those lowly 2-3 stars and the feeling of being so happy with a purchase to the 4.5-5 star range. Without even thinking about it, a potential customer is letting their past influence their future buying decisions based on the star rating of a business product or service.

This study has tremendous implications on businesses. The study concluded that 7 out of 10 people trust a random review online as if it were their friend telling them about something new they just purchased. When you stop to think about that, that influence is incredible. Reputation Management takes those reviews and star ratings and aims at improving them.

Direct Interaction with Target Market

How often in the course of running or managing your business can you directly interact with your target market on a massive scale? Not often, right? Online review websites allow you to respond to reviews that are left on your company’s profile. Because online review websites are becoming more stringent on forcing reviewers to log in to a profile in order to leave a review, most businesses know exactly who left the review and, upon reading through the profile, will know the demographics of that person.

If knowing your target market was not a good enough enough reason for reputation management, online review websites allow you to wrangle new customers from your target market to visit your business. Once a review is left by a customer, your business will have the opportunity to respond to that review. Responding to the review, good or bad, gives you a platform to promote your business, show that you are willing to rectify mistakes or complaints, or just to show people that you are a business owner that cares what customers think. Regardless, online review websites give a business owner direct insight and line to customers.

Reviews are The Evolution of Word of Mouth

A lot of businesses today say they do not advertise or put any stock into digital marketing because they rely solely on “word of mouth” advertising. What those business owners do not understand is that being reviewed online is the evolution of word of mouth advertising. However, there are a few key differences:

  • With online reviews, a single influencer has now increased their sphere of influence to anyone that reads the review, not just to the people that influencer can talk to.
  • Never before with word-of-mouth advertising could a business owner, interject, rectify a mistake, or identify the people that were talking about their business on a daily basis. Online review websites make this possible for business owners.

Businesses can no longer afford to ignore how they are perceived and what is being said about their company online.  Be sure to monitor and respond to as many reviews of your business as you can to better manage your online reputation.

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