What the Right Online Reputation Agency Can Do for Your Business
The rapid expansion of e-commerce has prompted more businesses to seek the help of an online reputation agency.
But exactly what these agencies do is often misunderstood, even by their customers.
So to clear things up, we answer some key questions about reputation firms and what they can do for your business.
How Public Relations Used to Work
Back in the day, the role of a traditional public relations (PR) agency was fairly simple.
PR pros worked tirelessly to build relationships with local and national news editors, persuading each to publish positive stories and bury bad news about clients.
Online review sites and social media platforms were unknown. And dissatisfied customers had few practical remedies other than taking their business elsewhere.
Then, Online Reputation Management Became Essential
But in the digital age, consumers may access a global audience, potentially millions, in just minutes.
Now, your customers can advertise how they feel instantly. And whether or not those views are accurate or justified, what they say now has a significant impact on your brand.
What’s more: Studies show as many as 8 of 10 customers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And 97% of customers now check out online reviews before hiring a local business.
So, it’s not surprising that reviews are an important ranking factor in Google search, local results pages and even paid ads. In fact, you may now see star ratings based on these reviews near each of these listings.
How Review Sites and Google can Kill your Business
What does this mean? For one, it means you can’t afford to ignore online review sites any longer. Review sites not only provide customers more ways than ever to share their experience online, but also do serious damage to your brand and reputation.
And in the absence of a good online reputation management strategy, more searchers than ever will locate these bad reviews and develop a lasting impression of your business.
Not only that, but the more engagement those reviews get, the higher they appear in searches of your brand.
So anything from online complaints and negative news to court records and blogs may come back to haunt you if you fail to take action.
Online Reputation Management or Social Media Monitoring?
Many confuse online reputation management with social media monitoring and social listening.
But there are key differences between the three.
For one, social media monitoring means identifying mentions of a particular brand in real-time. This allows your business to respond to customers and concerns quickly and effectively.
But social media listening is more of an internal process. With listening, you analyze customer engagement and experience on social to improve your products and services. In this way, you may also receive valuable insight into your competitors and your industry.
Both monitoring and listening are essential aspects of effective online reputation management. But a good reputation strategy, provided by an online reputation agency, offers much more.
What Does an Online Reputation Agency Provide?
You now have access to a number of tools to monitor your business on major review sites and social sites, like Facebook and Twitter.
But even for small businesses, keeping up with these tools and what they provide can be a time-consuming task.
That’s where the following services, provided by a quality online reputation agency, can be a huge help.
Reputation Repair and Promotion
An online reputation agency not only utilizes software and methods to identify and respond to negative feedback quickly. It also identifies trends and ongoing issues that may be resulting in a large number of poor reviews.
Additionally, a trusted agency dedicates time and resources to track your brand on popular review sites, including Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google My Business and more.
An experienced firm also won’t neglect smaller, industry-specific review sites. And, it will work to build positive conversations around your brand, engaging customers and encouraging more positive reviews of your business.
Social Media and SEO
If needed, an agency may recommend a complete overhaul of your social media profiles. It may also use specialized SEO methods to improve asset rankings and boost your best online content.
This may include boosting blog posts already getting solid results for your brand. It may also mean promoting favorable third-party content in search.
What’s more: a trusted online reputation agency will seek to reduce negative content visibility in Google. And while it might be difficult to remove content from Google rankings, there are ways to push it out of sight.
At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure you make the best impression possible on your customers.
Protecting Brand Search Results
Simply put, you want your business to show up first when customers search you online.
So, if you run a restaurant or a hotel in, say, Los Angeles, you naturally want to rank for “restaurants in Los Angeles.”
Still, you also want to rank for the specific, long-tail searches customers customer use when they’re ready to make a decision. For this example, that might be “best Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles.”
In some cases, it’s not likely your customers will book a stay or table during their first visit to your site. In fact, most customers don’t decide until after the third or fourth visit.
It’s also worth noting that brand name keywords tend to convert at a much higher rate. And while you might think you would rank highly for your own name, this is not always the case.
Your Brand Name and Paid Ads
Your competitors know how valuable your brand keywords are to your business. In fact, this is their incentive to try and outrank you for these search phrases. And many aren’t very ethical when doing so.
Certain industries are uniquely famous for this kind of ethically questionable behavior. And many include branded keywords in their PPC bids when working to outrank you.
And when they succeed, your website may fall down the organic and paid results pages, costing you a great deal of business in the process.
Fortunately, a trusted online reputation agency can help optimize your website, coordinate your PPC, and promote your social in search.
Can an Online Reputation Agency Work for Small Businesses?
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from online reputation management.
In fact, reputation management is often more important for local businesses. those operating in a much smaller market. This is the opposite of large restaurant or hotel chains, which may not be too badly impacted by one bad review.
But for a sole proprietor or family-run establishment, the impact of negative publicity can be devastating.
Monitoring small business reputation is generally simpler and less time-consuming than for household brands that are always in the news.
This is why online reputation agency services tend to be incredibly affordable, even for the smallest local enterprise.
Start Repairing and Enhancing your Online Reputation Today
There’s an old saying that in times of war, a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth has its boots on.
And it’s never been truer than in the age of digital communication.
Nowadays, just one online review or social post can be as destructive to your business as a flood or fire.
So if you need help with negative news or reviews online, you can’t afford to wait.
Our expert team is here to help you. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.