In today’s web-focused world, reputation management has become a crucial area of focus for businesses. More digital channels and greater user access have caused online reputation to become a more dynamic entity: able to be built and developed over time yet subject to change at any moment. We’re only scratching the surface as to why online reputation monitoring is important. Here are 10 more detailed reasons to start monitoring your online reputation today.
10 Reasons Why Online Reputation Monitoring is Important
1. Your Online Presence is Pervasive
The internet offers a diverse set of channels by which people can engage with, talk about, or learn about your business. These include your blog, comments on your blog, others’ blogs, review sites, posts and comments on social media feeds (yours and others’), and much more.
This means that there are more opportunities than ever for people to engage with or talk about your business. This doesn’t mean you should stop growing your online presence, which is crucial to business growth. It means you’ll need to ramp up your online reputation monitoring.
2. Responding is Crucial
It is a digital marketing best practice to respond to all comments about your business. Responding to positive mentions will help to build further engagement and strengthen your relationships. Responding to negative reviews is crucial for mitigating their damage. With all of the places that your business can be mentioned, it’s important to be on top of them as much as possible.
3. Unknown Listings
For many online directories, any users can create a listing for any business. This means that your business could be listed and collecting reviews on some sites without your knowing. It is important to respond to all reviews—positive and negative—but you can’t respond if you don’t know they are happening! Online reputation monitoring isn’t just about responding to reviews, it’s about identifying where you are being reviewed in the first place.
4. Claiming Takes Time
It may seem a bit scary that anyone can list your business online. The good news is, you can eventually control the listing by claiming it. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an instant process as it typically requires mail verification, and in the meantime, you have no control over what gets said about your business. Online reputation monitoring is important because in cases where you do get listed without knowing, it can reduce the amount of time that elapses between the listing being created and your business claiming it.
5. Word of Mouth is Trusted
Given the power of online reviews, it’s clear that people trust what others have to say on the internet—even if they are complete strangers and even if that information is not true. The pace of internet activity today is too fast for people to be concerned with fact checking, so one negative review can do some damage. On the flip side, potential customers are eager for reassurance that your business is the right decision, and will be highly encouraged to convert upon seeing positive reviews. The influence of what others have to say about your business makes online reputation monitoring extremely important.
6. Word of Mouth Travels Fast
Word of mouth has always traveled fast, but with the real time and sharing capabilities of social media and other online platforms, it now travels at lightning speed. It is imperative to stay on top of the word of mouth regarding your business so your reputation can remain as stable as possible.
7. Automation is Unreliable
Many business directories and review sites pull data from already existing directories to automatically generate listings. This means that your business is most likely listed in more places than you know. In addition, since it’s a computer doing the automatic listing generation, the information doesn’t always transfer over completely. This can lead to inconsistent or incorrect information about your business across the web, which can negatively impact your growth.
8. Miscommunications Happen
As mentioned above, people trust what others have to say about your business, even if it’s not true. There is no way of knowing how true a negative review or comment may be. Furthermore, customer experiences are all subjective. How you say something will not always be how someone hears it. People perceive things in different ways, and sometimes you just won’t win.
Negative customer experiences are going to happen, no matter how great your company is. Online reputation monitoring allows you to identify, keep track of, and resolve these types of miscommunications before they cause significant damage.
The last reason why reputation monitoring is important is because it allows you to gain insight into your business and target audience. Knowing what people are saying about your business can help you to identify what’s working and what’s not, so that you can better serve your target audience and customers.
10. Identify New Channels
One last reason to monitor your online reputation is because you never know—you may find your business on a channel that you weren’t aware of that actually helps your business. It might be a review site that drives traffic to your website, or a directory that attracts a lot of callers.
Your online reputation is a dynamic part of your business, subject to change at any time. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The change can be that of growth, improvement, and development. As long as you are monitoring your online reputation, you can use the power of the web to your business’ benefit.