If you care about building your reputation, you need to get serious about managing your online reviews.
More than 70 per cent of websites feature testimonials showing how happy their clients are, but less than half bother to monitor their reputation on other sites.
This is a missed opportunity!
We know that consumers tend to seek out reviews that are hosted on public domains, rather than your website, because these are considered more objective. Independent reviews shape your reputation in a big way - 88 per cent of customers have been influenced by an online review when making a purchase, with most people hesitating to deal with a business that has negative comments.
Your online reputation determines the click-through rate on your website. It also influences whether or not a visitor will convert into a potential lead. This is nothing to sneeze at.
It's never been easier for consumers to find independent reviews...
Social media makes it harder for businesses to control what consumers say about their brands and services. Independent reviews about businesses can now be found on websites such as Google My Business and Yelp, as well as social media platforms like Facebook and Foursquare.
As many businesses aim to target location-based search traffic, Google reviews play a key role in shaping how consumers select the businesses they want to trade with.
Why it's a bad idea to create fake websites or reviews...
Earlier this year, a Perth-based home building company was taken to court over allegedly creating fake review websites, which it denies.
Some businesses resort to dodgy tactics to filter out negative reviews, while pretending to be independent. This might deliver initial results, but it's a sure way to land into trouble.
Other companies sneakily create fake reviews through developers or agencies, but this backfires, since platforms like Google can now identify the source. We recently stumbled upon a dental practice that was acquiring more than 50 Google and Facebook reviews, but these had overseas-based IP addresses, which raised a red flag for us. It seems unlikely that so many international consumers would be seeing a dentist in Sydney!
Savvy consumers have also become rather good at detecting fake reviews, by exploring the profile of the reviewer and checking out their comment history.
Luckily there are other ways to guard your online reputation, while abiding by the law.
How do businesses successfully and ethically manage their online reputation?
Platforms like Reputation Guard give businesses the power to effectively manage both positive and negative reviews, in an ethical way. They also help you to monitor, manage and request reviews from a single interface - which is particularly useful since reviews can be found on multiple sources (Google My Business, True Local, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor and more).
Such tools also encourage people to leave a review, by automating the review generation process and cutting down the steps involved - making it easier for the time-pressed individual!
This overcomes the challenge of getting people to give their feedback (many consumers only do this if they've had an outstanding or terrible experience). It also reduces the time and effort required for you to chase up reviews.
It's in your best interest to take your online reputation seriously…
It's normal for businesses to get negative reviews, but you can handle this in a way that nourishes your online reputation. It's worth noting the internet has a long memory, so there's no point ignoring a negative comment or hoping that it will disappear.
Online reputation management has come to play a critical role in the way that businesses make a positive name for themselves.
Sam Shetty E-Web Marketing