In today’s digital world, your business’s online reputation is everything. It’s not just about asking your customers to leave a review, it’s about actively managing the process and responding to what they have to say about you. From images to videos, posts, comments, reviews, news and shares on social media – your online reputation is based on anything and everything a customer can find about you on the internet.
Instead of attempting to take on the mammoth task of cleaning up their digital perception themselves, many businesses turn to professionals for help and guidance.
With so many online reputation management companies out there, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose for your business’s brand and goals. This guide will take you through why it is important to keep track of your online reputation and reviews, and the best online reputation management companies to go to. There is more than one way to handle your online reputation and choosing which tools are right for you will depend on the strategy you choose to follow.
The importance of online reputation management
As a business, it is crucial for you to remain positive in the eyes of all existing and any potential customers. 93% of people say that online reviews will have a direct impact on their buying decision. A negative reputation will not only leave a bad taste in potential customers’ mouths but, in today’s digital world, it is also something that can stick around forever. It is important to be on top of everything that is being said and shared about your business, and vital to take the narrative under your own control. This starts by taking note of your customer reviews.
Customer review platforms
Customer review platforms will help you understand what clients currently think about your brand, your product and which areas you can improve in. Additionally, these tools will help you to actively manage your online reputation by tweaking and enhancing your offering using any feedback you receive from your customers. Some of these platforms also enable businesses to manage review requests to structure campaigns that reach out to customers asking for feedback. This is a much more effective way of collecting customer reviews than waiting and hoping that reviewers will take time and leave you a review.
The analytics, insights and sentiment analysis that some of these platforms offer will allow you to quickly adapt and change the strategy as you go along.
8 notable online reputation management (ORM) platforms
Feefo is one of the leading customer review platforms in the UK market. Feefo offers a unique solution of customer feedback collection, sentiment analysis, NPS surveys, integration with several big platforms like Facebook and Shopify.
The campaign management tool offers an intuitive platform for tailored feedback requests to increase response rates. The platform has several unique offerings like insight tags that allow you to get the customer understanding you need by tracking themes that are important to you across all feedback received.
The performance profiling tool automatically analyses your review content to see where you’re succeeding, where you can improve and what makes you special. The platform offers SMB and Enterprise solutions.
2. Google Reviews
Google is one of the most visited websites in the world. With over a billion active monthly users, it is safe to assume that almost all your customers will be using Google’s platforms to research and share news about your brand. Google’s algorithm decides what appears in what order on their search results page (SERP), and is constantly getting updated. As a business, you need to take this into control as much as you can and that starts by creating a Google My Business account.
Optimise your business’s page with as many details as you can, as Google displays your images, location, contact info, website and social media pages and even reviews. The more information you include, the more reputable you will appear online. Actively ask your customers to leave a review for your business on Google, by sharing a link with them. The more straightforward you make the task, the more likely they are to help you out.
Any business in hospitality, travel, tourism and entertainment will know the importance of TripAdvisor. It is the largest online travel destination in the world, covering listings, contact information, bookings and reviews for outlets across the world. Users can also upload images to the platform, and their reviews can go very in-depth to include star ratings, amenities available, timings, food preferences, costs and even traveller types.
Similar to Google, it is important that you upload as much information as possible to get as reputable and relevant as you can. Ask users to leave a review as soon as they have used your service, while it is fresh in their mind.
4. Facebook Reviews
Over 20% of users check Facebook reviews before supporting a business. This is a huge portion of your customer base and one you can’t ignore. Any user with a Facebook account can leave a review on a page, and you can choose how you’d like for reviews to appear on your business’s Facebook page. You can’t make reviews disappear, but you can move them from the left side panel to under the top tab of your page settings.
This community-driven review platform collates product and seller reviews. Trustpilot brings together consumers and businesses of all sizes in an attempt to build their online reputation together. Businesses are allowed to flag reviews that breach guidelines, and most choose to respond to negative comments and grievances on the platform itself to show their transparency and authenticity. This adds value to a business’s online reputation.
One of the pioneers of online reviews, Amazon is still a very important platform for product reviews across the globe. Amazon lets each customer review a product one time, and users can leave a star rating and upload images and videos in support. Amazon reviews have become well-revered nowadays, and customers are encouraged to give in-depth details about their experience and usage with each product.
The platform has recently started cracking down on fake and biased reviews. Most users look for a mix of good quantity as well as quantity reviews when searching for products, so it is important to ask for customers to leave a review as soon as they are able.
This independent non-profit review platform publishes reviews, buying guides and other consumer-related content itself and not from consumers. Which? sends out regular surveys asking for people’s opinions on certain subjects but run on the idea that their reviews are non-biased and not affiliated. Popular topics include technology comparisons, financial and banking advice, lifestyle recommendations, car buying advice and more.
One of the oldest, but still widely used, review platforms out there – Yelp combines the best of review sites and social networking platforms to provide users with a more well-rounded experience. It is widely used by travellers and newcomers to a city as entries can be sorted by location, making it the ideal review platform for geo-based businesses.
Social listening platforms
These ORM platforms differ from the ones mentioned above, as they scan the web for any mention of your brand across all websites and articles. Mentions get flagged to your attention to help you identify the positive and negative ones and monitor what other publishers think about your brand. You can quickly leverage the positive customer feedback in your marketing and take control by addressing the negatives promptly.
- Awario: Track mentions of your brand, keep an eye on competitors, find opportunities for sales and influencers using this platform. The dashboard lets you analyse data over time and compare results to help you understand your audience better
- Mention: A platform that lets you keep track of brands, competitors and any industry topics to enable you to compare and analyse conversations online
- Hootsuite: A very popular online community-connection tool. Hootsuite lets you monitor online conversations, hashtags, keywords, mentions and more across all your social channels
- Keyhole: Keep track of all your mentions and conversations across social media channels in real-time. Use analytics to make data-informed decisions on your campaigns
- Buzzsumo: A cloud-based platform with various tools to help you monitor social media conversations, identify relevant and interesting topics, uncover insights and curate content.
Image & ORM-building companies
These are companies that actively help you manage and build your online reputation and brand image. These are usually PR agencies with sophisticated and unconventional platforms that take a 360-degree approach to your brand image and reputation to develop a full ORM strategy.
This can include the utilisation of the above platforms together with PR campaign ideas that your company can choose to run throughout your whole financial year. Image & ORM companies usually focus a majority of their efforts on PR or SEO and content marketing. Some may even help the removal of negative online mentions or will help manage them in a way that negative reputation gets hidden from the public.
Four popular image and ORM building companies include:
- Webimax: The reputation management service offered by Webimax specialises in getting negative content removed or making sure it gets buried deep into the internet making it difficult to find. They simultaneously generate positive content that is of good quality and relevant to ensure that it ranks higher than any negative content. If you are a business that has recently gone through a difficult time like a press scandal or have too many negative reviews online, you can reach out to Webinax and get a dedicated campaign manager to take care of your needs
- Reputation Rhino: This is a popular online reputation manager used by big companies across the globe. They work quickly to scan through and eradicate damaging reviews, press articles, blog posts, comments and any other negative presence online. The platform can also help you create valuable content for your brand, optimise your webpages and help with media and content outreach
- Konnect Insights: Get the best combination of social listening and ORM from this platform. This tool is built for optimum user experience so you can manage your multiple functions from one tool, and get access to analysis and data from your dashboard. Download customised reports and templates according to the type of social intelligence your business requires
- Ignite: A global online crisis management brand, Ignite has a team of specialists dedicated to different fields and industries. They tailor-make their services after studying your company’s history and current actions thoroughly, giving you a bespoke solution. The company sifts through negative reviews, comments and posts from trolls, negative press and more.
Owning your online reputation management
More often than not, there is no escaping a negative review. And that is completely normal! Businesses of all sizes and in any industry get negative feedback throughout their lives, and the way you handle this can make or break the future of your business.
Never ignore a bad review. It could be a disgruntled employee or a mistake that happened from your end. Always reply professionally and with a solution. The longer you leave a negative review on the internet unattended, the more likely it is to go from bad to worse. Set aside time for someone in your team to respond to negative reviews on a weekly basis till you have the solution under control. And if you need help, ask for it sooner rather than later.
Managing your online reputation is feasible when you have support from the right company. The internet might seem like a black hole of neverending content and reviews, but with the right system in place and professional guidance, any business can get it under their control. Clarify what your company needs according to your goals and budget, so you can decide what you feel is the most suitable option for your ORM Strategy.
We believe that knowing your customer's opinion is a great way to start learning more about your brand, your strengths and any weaknesses before you embark on the more expensive and time-consuming reputation-building project.