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Your Online Reputation Management Beginner’s Guide

Updated: Jun 10

“I don’t give a damn ‘bout my reputation.”

Super cool when Joan Jett & The Blackhearts said (sang) it back in the 80s. It’s less cool of a mantra for a local business in 2024. Your online reviews and reputation can make or break a business. 

It’s a bit more anecdotal, but this writer strongly prefers a product with 4 stars with thousands of reviews than one with a perfect five-star score and 50 reviews. And I don’t think I’m alone here. 

But your online reputation is more than just the reviews on your Google My Business page. So let’s dive into what your business’s online reputation actually is, why it’s important, and the steps you can take to create a healthy, trustworthy online presence. 

What is your online reputation?

They say first impressions are everything. When it comes to the success of your business, your digital reputation is everything. Customers are savvy, they know how to do deep dives on the brands they plan on purchasing from. 

To stay on top of your online reputation, you’ll need to monitor four main channels:

Paid Media

As the name suggests, paid media includes any content featuring your brand that you have paid for. Paid media is great for two reasons: highly relevant audiences and messaging control. 

When you turn to platforms like Google ads, social media ads, PPC ads, or sponsored posts, you have the ability to target your audience with pinpoint accuracy. Plus, as the cherry on top, you have the ability to be in full control of the ad’s creative. 

When it comes to paid media like influencer promotions, you have less direct control over the final creative. That’s because the influencer will know best what resonates with their audience (and, in this case, your audience), but you’ll still be able to provide them with a creative brief with what you’re looking for.

Earned Media

Earned media is what makes your brand look the most trustworthy and authentic to your audience. And that’s because it comes from third-party platforms. Earned media comes in many forms:

  • Press Coverage

  • Outside Blog Mentions

  • Forum Discussions & Mentions

  • Reviews

Though the name suggests you had nothing to do with getting earned media (outside of the work you put into your branding and content), there are ways to cultivate it. For example, you can send review-reminder texts and emails to customers post-purchase. Or, you can send press releases to niche publications in your industry.

Shared Media

For your accounts or other accounts, posts shared on social media are shared media. It’s super important to monitor direct messages, comments, complaints, and reviews across social media platforms as users increasingly turn to the apps as their search engines.

Owned Media

Owned media is what’s yours. Your website. The blog. The weekly sale emails. The whitepages and case studies. Be sure to keep a defined visual identity and voice across everything you do, otherwise it’ll be near-impossible to generate any real brand recognition.

Is our online reputation really all that important?

It really is. There’s no other way to say it. But here are a few stats from ThriveMyWay that say it as well:

  • 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from friends and family. 

  • 73% of customers say they trust a brand more if there are positive reviews about the company online.

  • 60% of customers will not buy from brands with negative reviews online.

  • Customers will read an average of 7 reviews before making a purchasing decision.

  • 54% of customers think brands need to engage more with customers about their online reputations and reviews

Staying on top of your online reputation works wonders for your brand. A steady stream of relevant, useful content and responding to the good, the bad and the ugly boosts brand awareness and loyalty, it fosters engagement, and it can drive traffic to your website. Most importantly, it can generate leads.

  1. START WITH AN AUDIT: Take a peek at your media channels and see how customers are talking about you, your products and your services. That will give you a sense of what needs addressing first.

  2. ESTABLISH YOUR STRATEGY: Prioritize your tasks! What are your quick wins or bigger projects? Establish guidelines and stakeholders before diving into anything!

  3. MONITOR YOUR BRAND: Set up Google Alerts for your brand so you’re quick to respond to any and all feedback your brand earns online! 

  4. PREP FOR CRISIS (YES, EVEN YOU): It’s best to always be prepared in the event (albeit and unlikely one) that a PR crisis hits.

  5. ENCOURAGE REVIEWS: Follow up with customers post-purchase to have them leave honest reviews and feedback — then respond to them wherever they do!

  6. TACKLE NEGATIVE REVIEWS: The best way to neutralize a negative review is to reply with a thoughtful response, ensuring the customer’s complaint is addressed.

  7. KEEP BRANDING CONSISTENT: Ensuring that you’re working with consistent visuals and tone of voice helps build brand recognition and improve customer recall.

  8. BRANDED CONTENT: Control your story by constantly publishing helpful, useful and informative content targeting branded keywords.

Reputation management with 1744 Marketing

If it wasn’t clear already, there’s a whole lot that goes into managing your business’s online reputation. Dedicating time to every avenue can be a costly expense as an added duty to a member of your team. That’s why we proudly offer online reputation management as part of our suite of digital marketing services.

Take the time consuming task off of your hands and save on time and reputation management costs. We’ll roll your digital reputation into our monthly services and check in with your reviews, mentions, and comments on a daily basis.

Let us give a damn about your online reputation!

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