Like it or not, your customers, prospects and competitors are talking about your company online. Whether it’s on social media or third-party business review sites such as Google, TripAdvisor and Yelp, chances are good that folks are commenting about their experience with your business, and those comments can make or break your online reputation.
Online reputation management is critical to the success of your enterprise, no matter the size of your company, your location or your industry. Disgruntled consumers are quick to post their grievances online, and how you react can either boost or tank your online reputation.
Do Online Reviews Really Matter?
The short answer – YES!
While it can be tempting to simply dismiss the value of online reviews, the fact is that 93% of consumers aged 35-54 report “always” reading online reviews when searching for a local business or service, and 97% of those consumers take the time to read the businesses’ response to positive and negative feedback.
And all those reviews aren’t just online noise — one in two consumers won’t even consider patronizing a business with an online rating of 3 or fewer stars, and the average consumer will read 10 reviews before they’ll commit to using a particular company or service.
Can’t We Just Ignore Negative Comments, Criticism and Bad Reviews?
You can, but ignoring your critics can quickly escalate the situation.
Consider the now-infamous “United Express Flight 3411 incident.”
Back in 2018, a viral video of a United Airlines passenger, Dr. David Dao, being forcibly removed from a plane to make room for maintenance staff quickly spiraled into a costly PR nightmare for the company. Not only did the video trigger thousands of cringe-worthy comments from the general public, but things got worse when United’s CEO Oscar Munoz issued a statement supporting the removal of Dao. A leaked internal memo from Munoz further praised the actions of United employees while labeling Dr. Dao as “belligerent.”
United Airlines stock suffered a dramatic drop within hours of the incident as consumers called for a mass boycott of the airline. The company took a huge financial hit, and Dr. Dao was awarded an undisclosed settlement.
While there’s no doubt that Dr. Dao would have filed a lawsuit, experts agree that United’s failure to deal with the online fallout effectively led to massive financial consequences for the company. Simply put, United underestimated the importance of online reputation management, and the results were nothing short of catastrophic.
Control Your Company Image With Online Reputation Management
Keeping tabs on your online reputation is critical to the success of your enterprise. After all, trust is tough to earn and easy to lose, particularly since brand loyalty is all but dead among today’s consumers.
Online reputation management is a blanket term used to describe a host of services and strategies designed to increase transparency, boost trust and improve the overall image of your business. It can include continuous monitoring of social media channels to identify comments related to your company, and applying proven methods to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative.
Engaging the services of an experienced online reputation management company can not only prevent your company from “going viral” for all the wrong reasons (we’re looking at you, United Airlines), but it can also help boost your conversion rates, increase sales and generate trust in your brand.
To find out how the social media and online marketing experts at Haven Media and Marketing can help you design and execute an effective online management strategy, drop us a line or call us at 856-323-8433.