Why Your Business’s Online Reputation Matters A Lot For Your Growth

People look for, review, ask for recommendations for and talk about businesses every day online. Because of this, your business’ online reputation matters a lot.

That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you talk to.

There’s a fair amount of things that can go wrong when it comes to the conversations consumers have online. You might find misinformation, bad-mouthing, or general negativity about your brand (but mostly politicians).

We’d like to think only good things happen on the internet but know that just isn’t so. Have you read the comments section of a news article on Facebook? It’s not good!

Your business’ online reputation happens with or without you. Most of it largely happens on the internet today. That can be both a good thing and bad thing for your business.

Why Your Business’ Online Reputation Matters

Everything happens online in the 21st century. 77% of Americans (Pew Research Center) have a mobile device in their hand… right now! I made up the “right now” part but just walking around in public you can noticeably see how attached people are to their phones.

Whether we like it or not, people are glued to their phones everywhere they go. Just hopefully not while driving.

Even more people use the internet. 88% according to the same Pew Research Center study cited above. It sure seems that a large part of the population is online. Surely some of that has to do with consumption of something like food, services, stuff, etc…

Pew Research Center Technology Evolution, Adoption, Usage

The time left over after playing games and watching YouTube videos on the internet is probably spent on some sort of consumer activity. That consumer activity is partially reviewing, making fun of, or just all around saying something about the thousands of brands of the world.

The internet is a darn mess of tangled spaghetti. Untangling it and finding the relevant parts to you is the hard part.

Please Spend Money

As a business owner, you want people to come visit you and spend money.

What better way is there to do that than to get into that little device that everyone’s face is glued to?

Of course, that means you want people to talk about you online. Guess what? It’s already happening.

There are millions of conversations happening every hour online and your brand is part of that conversation cloud (or spaghetti, whichever you prefer). Whether it’s good or bad is a mystery though.

Because so much of these conversations happen online, your business online reputation matters more than ever. If one negative thing gets out there and you don’t mitigate it somehow then it could spiral out of control.

The next thing you know your business is crushed by 20 negative reviews and you have no clue what happened. People just stop coming. Advertise, promote, wave signs, whatever you do doesn’t bring any customers in.

That’s why your business online reputation matters. It’s absolutely essential to stay on top of your digital reputation.

The conversations happen more than just on review websites. There are a number of places you have to monitor though admittedly review sites are the most important.

How It Used To Go Down

People always talked about businesses. The good and bad always existed. It was different though because it all happened in a silo.

How did we find businesses back in the day before the internet?

I don’t remember the days before the internet but I do remember a day before internet reviews. It was either the local restaurant we went to or what we found in the yellow pages.

I’m thankful that not every restaurant in town jumped on the AAA, AAAA, A+, etc… train. It seemed every auto repair shop had some sort of blend that started with A and had a + in it. Of course, that’s all to get to the top of your category in the yellow pages.

As it is today, it was important to have excellent customer service as opposed to mediocre service. If you had mediocre service then it could also be bad with a similar effect on your business.

How Service Levels Affected Business

Here’s how it used to go down:

  • Good service: people would recommend you (verbally of course) to their friends and family. This would multiply but very slowly. Personal relationships were formed and you knew the regulars who were telling others to visit you.
  • Mediocre service: people would find you, come visit you, not be overly impressed and then leave. None of these customers would come back or recommend you. It’s an expensive game always trying to get more customers only to have them never come back.
  • Bad service: people would visit you, not have a great experience and would never come back. They might tell a few people they didn’t like your business but the message didn’t spread too far.

Good service could make your business grow a lot in those days but bad service could never hurt you too badly. Bad service only hurt you in the sense that they wouldn’t come back which is about equal to mediocre service.

Today, good service can make you grow a lot but bad service can absolutely devastate a business. Back in the day mediocre and bad service was the same thing, neither hurt you too badly but they didn’t help either. Now they are 3 distinct categories and bad service cannot happen.

We know now how important a role the internet plays in our business online reputation. But where is all the talk happening?

Where Gossip Happens Online

The internet is a big place with a lot happening. Take the real world and multiply it by 1,000.

Why?

Probably automation and the ability to rapidly spin up content. Of course, most of that content is garbage and will never be seen.

For every blog post I write, each post is often reposted by up to 5 times. For bigger websites that’s probably more like 20 times.

That also means there’s a lot of places where the conversation about your brand can happen.

The good, the bad, and the ugly happens on every website you can imagine and it’s hard to keep track of it all. Business online reputation is a challenge today because it’s so easy for everybody to create content for good or bad.

So where does all this conversation happen?

Many, many websites online. It can happen on review sites, social media, blog/news, and of course forums and comments.

I’ll go over some of these and how they can be used to talk about a brand.

Review Websites

This is the most common place businesses focus on when managing a business online reputation. That makes sense given it’s usually the first place a consumer will see when they’re looking for a business.

These are websites such as Google My Business, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook business pages, and more. There are specialty review sites too for every industry you can imagine.

Lawyers, contractors, travel, marketing, and more all have their own special review websites. There’s more than can be tracked manually.

These reviews are extremely important because they can drive a lot of business. If you have 2 reviews averaging 4.7 stars and your competitor has 10 reviews at 4.6 then you have some catching up to do even with the slightly higher average.

The first place consumers often look is the big review sites. That doesn’t mean specialty sites aren’t just as important though. Some specialty sites rank higher than the big review sites for important local keywords.

The importance of a business online reputation goes beyond just review websites though.

Social Media

Not many reviews happen on social media except for some on Facebook business pages. But reviews aren’t all that matter for a business online reputation.

Conversations happen between friends, family, and strangers on social media. People talk and social media is where a lot of that talk happens.

You might be surprised how much your brand is mentioned on social media. No matter what is said, good or bad, on social media it’s good to keep a finger on that pulse.

Just because you don’t know what’s being said about your business on social media doesn’t mean people aren’t talking.

Blogs and News Websites

There are a lot of different ways your business could end up on blogs or news websites. It’s not always about being featured in the news either.

There are many local bloggers in your backyard that you may not know about. Your brand could be mentioned on their blog which could be a good thing or a bad thing. You should know about it though.

You could be featured in the news without even knowing that you were going to be. That’s a great thing unless your brand is tied to a negative story. If so, you at least can brace for the fallout and mitigate the negative as much as possible.

If you are featured in a positive news story then great! You still want to know about it so you can piggyback off that positivity.

Everyday information is published all over the internet. If your brand is mentioned then that becomes part of your business online reputation.

Forums and Comments

This one can be a doozy. You have social media and then there are forums. Forums are a whole different beast entirely. And yes, a lot of people still use forums!

There are probably local forums in your area that are still frequented. There are often mentions of brands in those forums too.

Comments are a bit less likely but it can still happen. People don’t forget about your business once they visit you and leave. You’re in their memory and something they read can remind them of your business.

It’s quite possible a consumer might comment on a news story or blog post about a general topic (top 10 places to eat in San Antonio) with a mention about your business.

You’d want to know about that right?

How to Manage It

All that information is a lot to keep tabs on every day. Managing your business online reputation is no easy task.

There are some things you can do to manage your reputation though. With a media intelligence platform, you can input keywords, brands, or your industry into a dashboard to monitor the topics and keywords that matter to you.

But how about the rest of your online reputation?

Review Websites

If you set all your profiles up then these sites probably have your email address (make sure it’s accurate). When someone leaves a review you should get an email.

Reviews = Trust = More Business

Want to get more reviews? We make it easy to get more reviews. Start by scanning your current reviews.

Social Media

It’s a bit harder to monitor social media reputation manually. That’s why you should use a comprehensive media monitoring platform. Depending on the social network you want to monitor, there are a number of options.

For example, for Twitter or Instagram, you can use their in-platform search functionality to gauge engagement and mentions. Other social media networks you have to use the search box to search for your brand name. It’s manual and difficult but it gets the job done and doesn’t cost anything.

But tracking your engagement via the social media network means you won’t be able to keep an eye on your search terms on a dashboard to benchmark your progress over time or against competitors.

Blogs, News, Forums, and Comments

You can knock monitoring your brand on all of these out with one effective media intelligence platform. Once you set it up with your brand, keywords, and topics (as well as your competitor’s) you’ll be able to set up notifications and other alerts, so you can see how your online reputation is doing without going from platform to platform to look at your data.

The Easiest Way to Manage It All

There is, of course, one really easy way to manage your business online reputation. That, of course, would be to sit back and do nothing except when something goes good or bad.

OK, you definitely won’t get to sit back and do nothing. Your business won’t run itself, will it?

The easiest way to manage your online reputation is to use all-encompassing media and social listening platform. When something good happens you get to run in and be the hero. If something bad happens you’ll know about it immediately so you can take the necessary steps to mitigate the negative.

If you’re interested in seeing how media intelligence can impact your workflow while you’re protecting your online reputation, download our on-demand webinar, Communication Planning: Setting Yourself Up For Success with Media Intelligence.

Online reputation

 

This article originally appeared in Exprance, it was written by Nick Leffler from Business2Community, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Get Inspired by These Winning Environmental Social Media Campaigns

Social media isn’t just a place for animal videos, funny memes, and clever campaigns.

Today, social media is the perfect global platform for brands and businesses to raise awareness (and money) for causes that affect millions of people around the world.

One of the most important causes? Our environment.

With a growing interest surrounding brands that take their earthly responsibility seriously, we thought it would be the optimal time to break down the 5 best environmental campaigns on social media in recent history.

Let’s do this!

5 Best Environmental Campaigns on Social Media

1. J.J. Watt: Hurricane Harvey Fundraiser

Hurricane Harvey was one of the costliest environmental disasters to ever hit the United States. In total, damages were estimated at nearly $200 billion dollars.

Volunteers and organizations from around the world rallied behind the victims of this tragic event. One of those volunteers was NFL superstar J.J. Watt and he contributed in a huge way.

Watt launched a fund on YouCaring.com to start raising money across social media on August 26th, 2017 with an initial goal of $200,000. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that he might have underestimated people’s willingness to help those in need.

In total, Watt raised an astonishing $37,068,102, which is more than 185X his initial goal. Not surprisingly, J.J. Watt was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in early 2018 for his humanitarian efforts.

2. Patagonia: Black Friday Donation

The outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has been at the forefront of environmental activism since the company’s 1973 founding.

In 2016, Patagonia announced that it would donate 100% of its Black Friday sales to organizations that benefit the environment. Social media caught word and it spread like wildfire – this tweet receiving nearly 1,000% greater engagement rate than others on their profile:

After projecting that it would hit $2 million in sales, the company was shocked to discover that it sold more than $10 million worth of merchandise. Social media was a big force in getting the word out about their Black Friday campaign.

Patagonia explained that the campaign allowed them to help “hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations” which is a win by many different measures.

3. Apple: “Earth – Shot on iPhone” Video

It’s hard for brands to stay completely removed from politics when the environment is involved.

In the wake of the U.S. administration’s decision to back out of the Paris environmental agreement, Apple decided it would write a “love letter” to the Earth.

Earth – Shot on iPhone captures how beautiful our planet is through the lens of everyday users. Written and narrated by Carl Sagan, the YouTube video serves as a powerful reminder of just how much we have to lose.

The fact we only have one planet “underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another,” Sagan says, “and to preserve, and cherish, the only home we’ve ever known.”

4. NASA: #AdoptThePlanet

Earth Day, the day set aside each year to celebrate our planet and bring attention to the natural world, is the perfect opportunity to launch an environmental campaign on social media.

In 2017, NASA invited people to “adopt” a portion of Earth’s surface with their #AdoptThePlanet campaign.

When all was said and done, not only did NASA go through all 64,000 locations more than once, they also helped to educate millions of people around the world with their integrated website and social media campaign approach.

5. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): #EndangeredEmoji

WWF is on a mission to build a future in which people live in harmony with the earth and with nature. As one of the world’s leading independent conservation body, WWF runs several global campaigns focused on making a big impact.

One of my favorite WWF social media campaigns was called #EndangeredEmoji. Their genius use of emoji on social media helped to raise awareness for endangered animals around the world.

You probably use animal emoji every day in your texts with friends and posts on social media. WWF made it so that you could use emojis to support a good cause.

Every time a user tweeted an animal emoji seen above, WWF tracked its usage and added a small monetary amount for an optional donation at the end of each month.

During the two-month campaign period, WWF received 59,618 signups while gaining global press coverage and influencer attention. A massive win for their brand.

Changing the World One Post at a Time

It’s not enough to simply post content on social media anymore.

Customers and social media users have much more control over your brand’s success than ever before.

In order to thrive in a global market, your brand story must personally impact customers. It must resonate emotionally while constantly striving to physically make the world a better place.

That’s why studying these environmental social media campaigns can teach us so many great lessons about turning ideas into movements.

Moving from silo measurement to 360° measurement

Do you use one metric to measure your PR performance, social volume, engagement and web traffic? Today, using a variety of techniques from a variety of sources can leave you with lots of data, but with no real value, meaning or insights to build an effective PR strategy.

Moving to 360° measurement ensures you don’t miss a thing – giving you access to everything in the one place at the one time.

With a cohesive measurement framework, you can quantify the efforts of your campaign across multiple platforms – making it easier to track activity, measure success and ultimately report return on investment.

What is silo measurement?

Silo measurement looks at the different elements of PR in isolation. This means campaign reach, media coverage, share-of-voice and social media marketing are all measured individually rather than as a group within a unified framework.

As a result, silo measurement often results in numerous collections of meaningless data – failing to provide us with a holistic view of our audience, competitors, social activity and overall campaign achievements. Also, when results are siloed from each other, it can make report writing difficult, time-consuming and confusing.

What is 360° measurement?

In stark contrast, 360° measurement collects all of your data in the one place – providing you with real-time information and insights about your campaign and audience engagement.

Whether it’s media coverage, social volume, share-of-voice, web traffic or sponsored material, a cohesive measurement framework will give you a 360° view of your brand’s presence on and offline – ensuring you never miss an opportunity for exposure, or cause a crisis that could damage your reputation.

It’s also easier on your PR team, who will be able to track their own activity as well as others at the same time. This will ensure they never approach the same journalist with the same story more than once, or double-up on delivering social media content to consumers.

Making the move

Making the move to 360° measurement is simple with monitoring software services like Meltwater. With an easy-to-use interface, a clear representation of your data in real-time, and all your campaign results in the one place – gathering insights to inform strategy and prove ROI has never been easier. With Meltwater, you can also stay on top of billions of real-time editorial, blog and social media conversations and drive positive brand perceptions for your enterprise.

With a 360° view, you’ll be able to prove the value of your work to the C-suite with ease, and fast-track those time-consuming, mundane monitoring and reporting tasks – leaving you with more time to create meaningful content, drive sales, build valuable relationships with clients and consumers, and make a profit for your enterprise.

About the author:

Mimrah Mahmood is the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, where he helps numerous organisations break down media data (social, print and other), to create meaningful insights; build progressive and scientific frameworks to track efforts in PR and marketing; build road-maps to improve communications plans; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is a proud advocate of better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications. You can connect with Mimrah on LinkedIn

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