According to marketing consultant Invesp, 98% of customers make a purchase after checking out a company review on Yelp. They also spend up to 31% more on businesses with excellent online reputations. And we’ve all heard the Peloton cautionary tale—a social firestorm about a botched holiday ad cost the company approximately $1.5 billion in value.

Suffice it to say, it’s more important than ever to use online reputation management services.

Sharing Reviews & Purchases

Social media’s growing role means customer reviews aren’t limited to your website anymore. Online reviews live everywhere from places like Google, Yelp, Citysearch and Craigslist to social media sites such as LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.

Along with sharing reviews and purchases, customers are buying what they see on social media. Seventy-one percent of livestream watchers have bought something off social media, according to social media platform SproutSocial. And 98% of consumers plan to buy at least one thing off social media or an influencer’s social presence in 2022.

Protect Your Reputation

Your business’s online reputation is an asset just like your business’s equipment. It should be protected the same way you’d protect merchandise. But it’s tough given the seemingly infinite online places that need daily—and sometimes hourly—monitoring.

That’s where online reputation management services come in.

Good online reputation management services or tools make it easy to not only monitor what people say about your business, but where they say it. They let you be everywhere at once, making sure you don’t miss reviews or opportunities to engage with your customers.

These affordable tools help you compete against the big guys and their larger media budgets.

How Online Reputation Management Works

Online reputation management services scan the internet for mentions of your business, and report them back to you. They help you check reviews for accuracy, share the good stuff and respond if needed.

Good reputation management tools send weekly activity email alerts and provide dashboards to keep you informed 24/7. They’ll tell you who is saying what about you, monitor social buzz and keep an eye on the competition.

Perfect for Small Businesses

Many small businesses think online reputation management is just for the big guys. It’s actually quite the opposite. Big businesses have larger budgets that help them fill the airwaves and internet with image-building messages.

But customer referrals don’t require any budget. So if you consider an online reputation management tool as your primary marketing expense, it becomes downright economical.

Worst-case Scenario

Say someone is looking for a foreign car repair specialist. They search “foreign car repair” and two good options come up. Repair Shop A figures prominently near the top of the page with three reviews. Repair Shop B appears much lower on the search results and doesn’t have any reviews.

Search engines reward businesses with reviews—good or bad—with higher positions in search results.

If those three reviews are all bad, the customer is likely to choose Repair Shop B. If the authors of those bad reviews then share their experiences on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, blogs or elsewhere, it won’t be long before Repair Shop A’s business starts to suffer. Repair Shop A could’ve turned three negatives into three positives, and actually increased their business, if they’d been managing their online reputation.

Don’t Ignore Bad Reviews

Remember the cliche of “an unhappy customer tells ten people.” With the power and reach of today’s social media, that number could be more like ten million. What’s worse—damaging online information can exist for days, months and even years.

No matter the size of your business, it’s very likely customers are talking about you somewhere.

Ignorance is no longer bliss. What you don’t know about your reputation can hurt you. It takes a lot of time and money to build a good business reputation. But it only takes one inaccurate or damaging comment to bring it down.

Start managing your online reputation and see what customers are saying about your business today. You could learn a lot about improving your company’s products or services. And win lifetime customers you might otherwise have lost.