How to manage a company's online reputation?
On the internet, if you don’t control your reputation, someone else will take care of it for you. If more and more large multinationals are investing in corporate e-reputation management, it is because the opportunities and risks associated with corporate e-reputation are numerous. But these issues are not unique to large companies. SMEs are also concerned!
What is corporate e-reputation? Definition
Online reputation management, or e-reputation, consists of controlling how a company and its products / services are perceived on the internet. Managing a business e-reputation is all about maintaining the credibility and popularity of a business on the net.
In short, online reputation management is a proactive way of managing your company’s reputation with Internet users. The goal is to build a positive image that will promote the act of purchasing potential customers.
The importance of corporate e-reputation
Today, especially in service sectors such as catering, tourism, wellness or leisure, e-reputation plays a major role in your company’s digital marketing strategy.
- It affects your incomen
Your corporate e-reputation significantly influences the decision-making process of your prospects.
Indeed, today 9 out of 10 people trust the opinion of an Internet user as much as that of a friend.
This pledge of confidence in the opinions of Internet users has a direct impact on your income. According to Moz research, an average business loses 22% of its potential revenue when a negative article published about it is visible on the first page of Google. Worse, with three negative articles, the losses would amount to up to 60%.
Conversely, a positive corporate e-reputation strengthens the confidence of Internet users and promotes their contact with your company.
- It impacts your recruitment
Your customers aren’t the only people looking for your business on the internet. Did you googled your current business at least once before joining it? The answer is surely “yes”.
The e-reputation of companies influences the perception of candidates. A good reputation online will encourage qualified talent to apply to you. Conversely, a bad e-reputation will cost you money. According to Harvard, recruiting with a bad corporate e-reputation costs you on average 10% more. If your reputation is negative, your search for new talent will take longer and candidates will feel a need for compensation.
1. Analyze what is being said about your business
Before you start building your business e-reputation, it’s important to know where you’re starting from. For this, you must have a current inventory of what is said about your business on the internet. And this analysis is not a single action: one of the keys to your business e-reputation is the regularity with which you monitor. Without being aware of the state of your corporate e-reputation in real time, you will be unable to react in the best possible conditions.
Analyzing all the articles, Google search results, or social media posts that refer to your business can be difficult and time consuming. Fortunately, there are several specialized tools for this kind of monitoring. In a few clicks, they reveal the latest content mentioning your business on the internet. Here are a few :
This is what the Talkwalker’s Free Social Search results look like when you enter your business name. You can see how many times your business has been mentioned on social media, the general sentiment of those mentions, along with related words (in other options):
2. Maximize your presence at the appropriate points of interaction
Once you know what is being said about your business on the net, you will know where to focus your efforts. Assume that your business e-reputation should be yours.
Be present on the right platforms
You must be present on social platforms on which Internet users influence companies’ online reputation.
In most cases, the most influential public platforms for business e-reputation are:
- Google My Business
If Google and Facebook appear to be universal, certain platforms are essential depending on your industry. For example, any establishment in the hotel / restaurant industry must be listed on TripAdvisor.
If you haven’t already, you should create a page on each of these platforms. For that, our optimization guides for Google My Business and Facebook pages could be useful to you. Not only will this open up new channels for you to post positive content about your business, but it will make it easier for you to control what is showing about your business on search engines.
As our example shows, Facebook and LinkedIn pages very often take up Google’s first page when you type in your business name. Optimizing your presence on these different platforms therefore also allows you to “push” any negative articles to the second page of Google. Finally for that, you will need content … Exactly, we are coming to it.
Create and share great content
On the internet, assume that content is king. If the creation of quality content is one of the fundamental pillars of Google’s natural referencing, or SEO, it is also a central aspect for companies’ online reputation. Once you’ve established yourself on the most important platforms for your business e-reputation, it’s time to bring those platforms to life and offer content.
It’s simple, if you create 90% of the content that is related to your business, you have more control over what shows up in Google results than if you create 10%. Since more than 8 in 10 Internet users use Google before purchasing a service or product, your goal should be to occupy the top 10 Google positions associated with your business name search.
In addition, Internet users will be more likely to leave a positive review of your business if they are captive and receptive to the content you offer them.
In order to better control your business e-reputation with your content, make sure you have a relevant content strategy in place. Following this, you can create a blog in which you will publish quality and regular content.
3. Generate positive reviews
The reviews you receive reflect what your customers think about their experience with your business. The goal of this step is to help you increase the volume of positive reviews you receive to increase your overall average. But keep in mind that apart from generating positive reviews, the quality of the service / product you deliver should remain your top priority.
- Ask your customers
The easiest way to get feedback is to ask your customers. Of course, don’t ask for a positive review directly, but rather ask a satisfied customer if they’d like to take a few seconds to share their opinion.
Facilitate the evaluation process for your customers
Customers who are happy with your products and services won’t automatically think of leaving you a positive review. If you make it easy for them, you’ll be much more likely to receive reviews that will boost your business reputation. Here are our tips:
If you own an e-commerce site, you can place a “review” button once the purchase is complete.
Add a rating widget like Yasr to allow web users to rate your web pages. This is the one we use. This allows your pages to stand out in search results by showing visitor votes.
Send emails to your happy customers asking them to share their positive experience. Regarding Google reviews, to make this process simple, you can even create a link that will take them directly to the space provided for this purpose!
Here is a structure that you can reuse for your emails:
Dear [first name of your client],
As one of our very first customers, your opinion is of great importance to the teams of [your company]. We are continually trying to provide the best possible experience for our customers, and your contribution will certainly help us achieve this goal. That being said, if you would like to take a minute to leave your review on our page [platform], we will be very grateful.
We look forward to continuing our collaboration with you / seeing you again very soon!
Leave reviews for other businesses. Do you know the saying “you reap what you sow”? If you want to receive reviews, you should be inclined to give them. If you collaborate with other SMEs, do not hesitate to leave them a positive opinion.
4. Respond to user reviews
As we have seen, online reviews significantly influence the decision-making process of Internet users. Having a direct impact on your income, reviews are a central part of your business e-reputation strategy. In addition, with the evolution of Google’s technologies, we know that reviews will occupy a prominent place in the future of natural referencing.
Whether on Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, or Yelp, responding to a user review is an action that should not leave anything to chance. Indeed, you do not respond to just one customer, but to the entire internet: your response can influence the decision of other potential customers and help strengthen your corporate e-reputation. So be sure to structure and document this aspect of your customer service.
Manage negative reviews
In the management of your business e-reputation, negative opinions represent a sensitive element that it is imperative to master well. In case of negative opinions, do not ignore them above all. Instead, use the following method to answer them optimally:
In an article dedicated to negative reviews on Google, we explained how to deal with negative reviews and fraudulent reviews. Here is the method you must remember:
1. Apologize and use an empathetic tone
Start by apologizing
Explain the cause of the problem to your customer
Show your desire to fix the situation
Never enter into a confrontation with the Internet user
Don’t be threatening
2. Talk about the positive
Explain what your customers generally think about their experience with your business.
For example, with a sentence like this:
“We are renowned for our rigorous attention to detail, which is why [xx]% of our customers decide to come back. We therefore sincerely regret this moment of inattention from our team.”
3. Cut the discussion short and take it offline
The longer your response to a negative review, the more likely it is to monopolize the attention of Internet users, which would damage your business e-reputation. To avoid this, keep it concise and offer your internet user to join you directly.
Provide your contact information with a name and number, as in the following example:
“My name is [your name] and I am taking care of [your role] within [your company]. I would be happy to chat with us to help you find the solution that is best for you. Contact me to [your number / email]. “
To summarize, we suggest the following structure, in three sentences:
Explanation of the problem and willingness to fix your mistake
Offline contact request
Last tip: on Google, avoid mentioning the name of your business when you respond to a negative review, because Google could highlight this review when people search for your business!
Also respond to positive reviews
A positive review is good news that you can capitalize on. Responding to positive reviews benefits companies’ online reputation for the following reasons:
Responding to a positive review solidifies the relationship with your customers
Paying attention to positive reviews helps retain your current customers
This humanizes your business and makes it accessible to internet users
You strengthen the confidence of Internet users
The method is simple:
Thank your client
Talk about the positive again
Invite him to come back
- Your level of quality must remain a priority
If your business e-reputation is becoming an increasingly important component in your web marketing strategy, remember that it depends above all on the quality level of your products and services. Knowing how to react is a good thing, but if you want to put the odds on your side to benefit from a positive corporate e-reputation, above all, make sure you guarantee a level of service that will satisfy all your customers!