If your business, brand or name attracts negative attention online then you have a problem, a problem that could cause you serious reputational damage, loss of trust and a decrease in sales.
Whether in the form of negative comments on your social media channels; poor posts on review sites; or negative articles in the press, the potential to damage your business is very real … irrespective of whether the posts are from genuine customers, unethical competitors or ill-informed journalists.
Our highly experienced team of reputation management experts know exactly how to counter such damaging content.
As well as helping deal with the immediate issues such as responding effectively to negative posts, we’ll formulate a plan of action. This will begin with an online audit to investigate problem areas and opportunities for improvement. Then we’ll create positive news stories about you and your business which will eventually replace damaging content. If required, we’ll also claim, optimise and expand your social media presence to ensure your business is portrayed positively when someone searches for it online.
Buying habits have changed considerably over the years and now most consumers start their search online when they’re looking to buy a product or service. In fact, a BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses.
The online reviews that a search engine produces can play a huge part in a potential customer buying from you. Increasingly, potential customers will read reviews before committing to buy or use your services.
Online reviews have a huge impact on businesses of all sizes in every sector. They can be a fantastic way to build your reputation and ultimately, grow your customer base and boost your bottom line. According to Harvard Business School, Reviews, Reputation and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com, every 1-Star rating in a Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. If you’re still not convinced about how important they are, a BrightLocal Local Services Ads Click Study found that review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in local Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Review ratings have a huge impact on click-throughs from local searches, in fact as found by BrightLocal, they are the biggest conversion driver, so having negative reviews or low star ratings will immediately give a bad impression of your business and deter people from visiting your site – anything less than five stars could put you at risk of losing as much as 12% of your customers. That said, if you do receive a bad review, it is crucial not to respond as soon as you spot it.
It can be tempting to do this when you want any bad reflection on your business to be quashed, but often in these circumstances emotions are running high and kneejerk reactions like this generally lead to further problems. 97% of review readers take on board a businesses’ response to a customer review so it is important to be aware that your responses matter and that they are being read.
Equally important to consider is the fact that 45% of consumers are more inclined to visit your site if they can see that you are responding to bad reviews. This is where having a proper reputation management plan in place can really help protect your company brand reputation.
As well as monitoring genuine reviews, fake reviews are a real threat to businesses, with 58% of companies having received them. Of course, negative fake reviews can be devastating for a business, but positive fake reviews are just as dangerous – if a business was to endorse this or leave it up and it was discovered to be fake by a customer, you could be outed. However, they can be hard to identify. Uncovering and then removing them is the hardest reputation management task.
A BrightLocal, Online Reputation Management Survey found that marketers’ favourite local directories and review sites were:
Focusing your efforts on getting your products or services reviewed on these platforms is an excellent way to engage with your stakeholders and grow sales.
There are a number of tools that can help manage your reviews and ensure maximum impact. We can monitor, respond, analyse and support you in generating more reviews.
A BrightLocal survey found that consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business so having a process in place to make sure you manage your reviews effectively is essential.
An effective online review management system will help you get more reviews. We know that having a greater number of positive reviews will directly impact the likelihood of someone buying your product or service. According to Spiegel Research Centre, in their report on How Online Reviews Influence Sales, the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than a product with 0 reviews. Investing in effective management tools can reap rewards.
A recent Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal showed that 57% of consumers only used businesses with 4 or more review stars so it’s clear that getting more positive reviews can have a positive effect on your business. There are ways that you can encourage happy customers to share their experiences in a positive review on a credible platform. The difference between getting a 4-star and a 5-star review can be huge. A Harvard Business School study found that a one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating can result in as much as a 9 per cent increase in revenue. BrightLocal found that having a 5-star rating earns a business 39% more clicks from Google Local than having a 1-star rating.
Unfortunately, fake reviews can be difficult to spot and can have an influence on the buying decisions of consumers. There are measures being taken by the government and consumer groups to try and stop them being posted but they remain a problem for many businesses. The review could have been left by a disgruntled ex-employee, or competitor that wants to damage your brand. The key is not to ignore reviews like this. There are steps you can take if you are being targeted by fake reviews:
Bad reviews can persuade readers to avoid a business but if you do get the odd negative review, don’t panic. If the majority of the reviews people are leaving for you are positive then they are unlikely to have a detrimental effect. There are steps you can take to remove negative reviews if they contain content that is unfair or slanderous. There is no easy way to remove a review that is negative but factually correct, but there are tactics to limit the impact of such reviews.
We can manage your reviews on your behalf, responding to each in an appropriate manner and handling any negative or fake reviews you might encounter. We will put an effective process in place to encourage positive reviews on the platforms that will have the most impact on your brand. Online reviews are becoming increasingly important when making purchase decisions and their importance cannot be underestimated. It has never been more important to make every review count.
My business was facing a torrent of unfair criticism on Facebook. It stemmed from one negative post by an ex-employee and escalated like wild fire. Your level-headed, practical advice helped get the negative comments removed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
One of my co-directors was found guilty of drink driving. I was concerned that if it got out, we’d suffer from negative press and loss of business. As it happened, there was no backlash but being able to contact you and have some pre-prepared statements and letters ready was reassuring.
I thought the problem would go away if I ignored it. It didn’t. I was reluctant to use you but can honestly say, your support and advice helped pull me back from the brink. Your patience, clarity of thought and advice were just what I needed to get me through the emotional roller coaster.
Your calm and steady approach was everything I needed when my business was being unfairly criticised in the national press. You stopped me from responding in haste, which I realise now, was the worst thing I could have done! Thank you, thank you, thank you.