- Posted by Noni Cavaliere
- On October 12, 2018
Within the last decade or two, being a savvy business owner has become a far more complicated task, particularly with the emergence of the online arena. Now, rather than maintaining a brick and mortar storefront and a small, local customer base, business owners must navigate the massive world of the Internet and social media, on top of more traditional aspects of business such as branding and marketing. Creating and maintaining a positive business image and reputation has never before been of such incredible importance, holding the power to make or break a business at any given moment. This is due in large part to the high visibility potential for businesses online, both through the various social media platforms as well as Internet media coverage.
Reputation monitoring is a crucial aspect of any business plan, particularly if you’re hoping to secure long-term success and market presence. Taking a multi-pronged, highly proactive approach to maintaining a positive business reputation can help you bring your business goals and dreams to fruition, setting it apart from even the most dominant competitors.
What is Your Business’ Reputation?
When discussing the concept of reputation monitoring, the term “reputation” is used to refer to the overall public perception of your business and brand. This perception is founded on the overall online reputation of your business, which is built on a mix of online reviews, feedback, social media interactions, and more.
What is Reputation Monitoring?
Your business reputation is a dynamic, multi-dimensional entity that requires a generous amount of attention on a regular basis. Although it takes time and effort to build and develop, a business reputation can also shift on a moment’s notice – particularly as a result of major events or media coverage. The goal is for your business to maintain a distinct and positive reputation, one that connects on a deeper level with your target customer base (both existing and potential customers). However, doing so often sounds deceptively simple.
Reputation monitoring combines both proactive and reactive approaches on a daily basis, constantly evaluating the public’s perception of your business and taking action as needed to deal with specific situations or events. Proper monitoring not only ensures that the public’s view of your business stays relatively positive, but also that your business reputation is on course with your overall mission, identity, and values.
Theoretically, your business reputation should develop somewhat organically as a result of your behavior and business-related actions and branding. Many business owners make the mistake of assuming that staying true to their core values will naturally maintain a good reputation. However, a positive business reputation also requires a certain amount of active involvement and structure, particularly in dealing with unplanned or unexpected events – this is where reputation monitoring becomes an invaluable tool.
Reputation Monitoring and Reputation Management: Similar But Different
Understanding the nuances of reputation monitoring requires a knowledge of the differences between reputation management and reputation monitoring. Professionals often use the following metaphor to give business owners a clearer idea of the distinction between the two: reputation monitoring is akin to a community’s police force, keeping order on the streets and maintain a watchful eye over all. Reputation management takes a slightly different form, as the judicial courtroom where a specific action is taken, and decisions are made after a breach of the law. Ideally, excellent reputation monitoring will minimize the time spent dealing with major reputation-related events and issues.
When working with V Digital Services, your business can choose either the reputation monitoring or reputation management path – it’s entirely up to you. Both options provide the tools and expertise your business needs to shape a positive online reputation; the primary difference is simply the level of support you prefer.
Reputation Monitoring is ideal if you are hoping to achieve the following goals:
- Increase the overall number of customer reviews for your business
- Minimize the flow of negative reviews on public sites
- Motivate current and past customers to leave positive reviews
- Optimize your local search rankings through an increase in the volume and quality of customer reviews
Reputation Management takes it one step further, making it a good fit if you’re interested in the following goals:
- Have a professional agency completely manage your online reputation and all it entails
- Generate positive reviews while minimizing the flow and impact of negative reviews
- Utilize customer service best practices to respond to incoming reviews on your behalf
- Escalate issues for your involvement as needed
- Create the optimal partnership in which you can focus on your business and VDS can build an excellent online reputation for your company
Why is Reputation Monitoring Important to Your Business?
Your business’ reputation can have a major impact on your overall success. The power that’s contained within a business reputation can either help propel you towards prosperity or be the tipping point towards your ultimate demise.
Today, the dynamic world of online content and countless social media platforms have made consumers ultra-aware of events and professional dealings of any given business. Gone are the days when a negative customer interaction was simply a short-lived topic of neighborhood conversation; now, an unhappy customer potentially has the power to put your business on the national stage in a terrible light. With viral hashtags, video sharing, and public reviews gone wild, there are plenty of businesses that have experienced a quick and painful fall as a result of a crumbling reputation.
Reputation monitoring ensures that threats to your reputation will be quickly handled and diffused, preventing them from growing into majorly damaging situations. Additionally, a close eye is kept on the overall state of your business’ reputation, taking necessary steps to bolster it effectively as needed. For many customers, your online reputation will be a major deciding factor in whether or not they choose to do business with you. By the same token, your business’ reputation may be preventing customers from finding you at all.
Here are a few eye-opening facts that show the importance of your online reputation:
- About 93 percent of U.S. consumers consult online reviews some of the time before dining or shopping at a business, with 15 percent using online reviews to make decisions ALL of the time
- More than 70 percent of consumers put as much trust in online reviews as they would in recommendations and information from close friends and family
- 4 out of 5 online shoppers have changed their decision to make a purchase based on negative online reviews
- Although happy customers will, on average, tell 15 people about their positive experience with a given business, unhappy customers will tell about 24 people about theirs
- An incredible 90 percent of U.S. consumers read online reviews, but only 6 percent of people actually write them
What Does Reputation Monitoring Look Like?
Reputation monitoring, specifically as provided by V Digital Services, utilizes a targeted approach for the primary factors that can influence your online reputation: customer reviews (both positive and negative) and organic SEO rankings.
Using our advanced reputation report system, your business will receive a consistent breakdown of your online reputation. This will provide the information needed to closely examine the balance between positive and negative reviews, increasing overall visibility into the presence of negative reviews on public sites – therefore allowing VDS to minimize these as needed. If your business has missing or unclaimed profiles on one or more review sites, establishing a clear presence will allow you to receive the full benefit of positive reviews.
Further, by encouraging past and present customers to leave positive reviews (through email campaigns and other methods), you will be able to build a stronger online presence for your business as a whole. As a foundation of customer reviews is built and strengthened, your local search engine rankings will improve organically as well. This increases your business’ online visibility, aiding in the overall flow of new and potential customers.
Utilizing Reputation Monitoring for Business Success
Ultimately, the goal of reputation monitoring is to ensure that you are well-informed as a business owner, putting you in a proactive position to make the most of your online reputation. You’re already doing your best to provide the epitome of excellence to your customers, so make sure that your business is earning the positive attention it deserves. By partnering with a professional team that possesses the expertise and tools to properly monitor and manage your online reputation, you can take the right steps towards paving a path of long-term success for your business.