As you prepare for the new year, we propose that it’s time for you to rethink the way you approach your online marketing strategy. Now that nearly 80 percent of Americans read reviews before buying services or products, it’s a safe bet that what others are saying about you will impact the outcome for your business.

“What are they saying about you?”

Consider the folowing statistics about online reputation management:

  • A one-star rating hike on Yelp can mean a 5% to 9% rise in restaurant revenue (Harvard Business Review 2011)
  • 7 out of 10 consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (ReachLocal)
  • 83% of buyers no longer trust advertising but most trust recommendations from users online (Formstack)
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from real people (Search Engine Land, 2012)

You can bring in the New Year like a pro by using a proactive approach to online reputation management, as well as the most current and effective methods and best practices. In order to rock your online reputation, your business needs to invest in delivering excellence on all fronts in order to cultivate a genuine customer response.

1. Tailor Your Responses to Reflect Your Brand Image

Use your reputation management opportunities to convey the voice, tone and standards of your brand to your audience. Let´s say a customer complains that when they ate at your pizzeria the service was awful with a long wait time and the food was delivered cold. If the brand of your business focuses on fresh baked pizza backed by friendly customer service, some action is in order to fulfill your value offerings. An appropriate response could be to ask for more information about the visit and offer a free pizza.

Manage your online reputation

This hotel manager restates the brand image of the hotel and what they stand for in her response to a negative online review.

2. Go Beyond Customer Expectations

Stick to your word and raise the bar. If you are setting the bar high and plan on creating a five-star online reputation in 2016, it’s necessary to deliver what you promise and then some. Look at the following example. The Public Relations (PR) manager for this hotel receives a negative review. As a public response, she restates the mission of her hotel and what they stand for.

Tips for exceeding the expectations of your customers:

manage your online reputation

This is an example response from the public relations manager of a Hotel Casino in Jaco, Costa Rica.

  • Use freebies and discounts when appropriate. Sometimes people have a bad experience and things don´t always go as planned. Take a look at the image to see how one PR manager offers unsatisfied customers compensation for bad experiences. At the time of this review, the hotel was only open a few months and Alicia R. the manager who responds to the reviews, took this job seriously in order to help establish their newly built online reputation.
  • Your marketing copy needs to create realistic expectations and be sure you follow the general guideline of underpromising and over-delivering so that you always come out ahead.
  • Follow-up positive feedback with an appreciation thank you email, even include a discount for next purchase with the message.
  • Offer shout-outs and mentions to anyone in your social media circle that leaves positive feedback.

3. Use a Variety of Networks and Syndicate

manage your online reputation

This infographic shows the different online review platforms and which industries they best serve, courtesy of Salesforce.

Stay involved in many of the most popular online review sites, especially those that syndicate reviews to other places on the web. Some of the most popular online review sites that also syndicate their content across other platforms include:

  • Insider Pages syndicates their online reviews on small and local websites which improves the online reach of your customer reviews.
  • Yelp is a huge network with not only their impressive size audience but they also syndicate content to some big players including Yahoo Local and Eat24.
  • Citysearch claims bragging rights for their extensive syndication networking in addition to their massive audience. When your online reviews are posted on this platform, you can guarantee your reviews will be widely available on other online networks.
  • DexKnows is accessed by millions every single month that are looking to find reviews and information for local businesses. This platform features a well-spidered portal that syndicates your reviews to multiple locations across the net.

4. Reputation Management is Vital

Online reputation management is important because it’s the first thing people see about your business. Here some quick ways you can get started:

  • Be sure you keep your Google My Business profile current and filled with current photos and contact information.
  • Keep social profiles consistent across the board delivering the same concise message on all platforms.
  • Optimize your profiles to include information about your website to help move potential customers from your review profiles to your actual website.

5. Proactive Damage Control

Use digital tools designed to help automate survey customer follow-up surveys that can be sent as soon as a transaction is complete. This method provides the prime opportunity to make amends with negative experiences and convert them to a satisfied customer. Plus, you get the added bonus of zeroing in on service, process and product flaws and correct them internally.

Ideally, you want to customize your follow-up survey so you don´t sound desperate for a review. An into to the survey that says something like, ¨Hey, we heard you recently completed a purchase from our website. How likely are you to recommend us to a friend.¨ This pitch helps come off more friendly and subtly requests a review.


manage your online reputation

Infographic courtesy of Salesforce displays the different sites that offer automated surveys and sorts them according to user difficulty level.

Digital tools we recommend to create follow-up surveys include the following:

  • Square is quickly emerging as a program that easily allows users to create responsive customer-service surveys that are conducted automatically following a transaction. The beauty of this process is this gives customers the perfect opportunity to voice complaints to you rather than feeling the need to rant about your business online.
  • SurveyMonkey is one of the world´s leading survey provider and also integrates with many CRMs, including the widely-used Salesforce CRM. This program encompasses the ability to create a wide variety of surveys that can further help you target audience and is a great choice if you want a system that provides multiple survey options.
  • QuestionPro provides easy tools to create automated customer satisfaction surveys. With many templates available, this tool allows you to choose from many pre-made templates and also offers the ability to customize your survey. You then can use this tool to initiate actionable results with the comprehensive reports and notifications.

6. Ongoing Trend Analysis, Evaluation and Optimization

Improving your public relations goes above and beyond correcting process errors and moving forward. Don’t misunderstand me, fixing errors is a mandatory step in the process, however, you should remember to promote the good things you’ve got going.

“Continuously improving in the areas your business does best will ensure your online reputation success.”

Tips for effective use of positive feedback:

  • Run analysis of your feedback to create compelling statistics. For example, ¨95% of our customers would recommend our pizzeria to a friend.¨ Sprinkle these convincing statistics throughout your website, social media networks, blog, etc.
  • Search your positive reviews for the most convincing and detailed feedback that resonate well with customers. For example, ¨the pizza was so good you could smell it before it hit the table and the taste could have come straight from Italy¨, is a better review than, ¨the food was great.”
  • Identify patterns and incorporate repeating customer compliments into the brand of your business. For example, at Crocodile Digital, we have had many customers compliment the advanced software development services we offer at affordable prices. When we rebranded our image, we decided to stress this benefit which further compliments our mission to help everyday business achieve their sky high visions.

7. Use Digital Tools to Manage All Review Sites from One Platform

Logging into multiple platforms to manage your online reputation is simply a thing of the past. Don’t waste time and money on this outdated practice when there are so many available tools online to manage all reviews from one central location, including the following options:

  • Review Trackers is a convenient centralized platform that allows you to capture leads and see all your real-time activity across multiple platforms in one place. From your Review Trackers dashboard, you can easily monitor all your reviews on the major websites as they are posted in order to respond appropriately. This platform also hosts automated tools designed to ask your happiest customers to leave online reviews.
manage your online reputation

ReviewTrackers is a great place to manage all your online review accounts from one platform.

  • Review Push is a tool that collects all your online reviews and organizes them in one place. Quickly emerging as a go-to resource for online review management, more than 500 businesses are already signed up and using this platform. Features from this service include the ability to respond to reviews with online notifications, daily monitoring for new reviews on Facebook, Foursquare, Yellowpages and more, custom reports, multiple levels of services and more.
  • 8. Proudly Display Your Proof

    For 2015, numbers reflect that 9 out of 10 customers rely on reviews when making a purchasing decision.

    • Use the best quotes from positive reviews and sprinkle them throughout your online marketing copy.
    • Include them on your blog, on your webpage copy and throughout social media posts.
    • A time-saving and savvy method to ensure these reviews are being seen from your website is by incorporating widgets that deliver real-time review feeds.

    Feeling Lost? We can Help!

    At Crocodile Digital, we use only the most effective and current methods to manage your online reputation. We understand the importance of maintaining a full-proof online reputation. We also understand the demands on companies and how difficult it can be to wear many hats, which can result in haphazard management.

    Reach out to us to learn more about Houston reputation management services. If you enjoyed the article, please feel free to share it with a friend.