Your brand reputation is an essential tool for bringing in new customers and standing out from the competition. While your brand identity — the values, themes, and unique market you serve — needs to be strong and recognizable, it's your brand reputation — the integrity of your service, the quality of your products, and your adherence to your company values — that really helps a shopper decide if your company is right for them.
Repeat customers may stay loyal due to a history of positive interactions with you, but new leads and prospective customers have to do research into your brand's reputation. In fact, 81% of consumers today will look up your brand online before they head to a store or make an online purchase; that's a staggering increase from last year's 20% of customers doing that same research.
Since more and more shoppers are making that shift to research brands online (and doing that research over a period of 79 days for major purchases), you need to (i) know what information they're seeing, and (ii) do your best to ensure those first glimpses are positive. To get started, learn what digital reputation is and what it's made up of, how it affects your business, and what you can do to improve it.
What Is Digital Reputation?
Digital reputation is a reputation your brand develops through online media, reviews, social media posts, and other digitally presented opinions about your business. All of these posted opinions — positive and negative — create a general tone or perception of your business, which is the core of your digital reputation.
Shoppers use this to gauge the quality of your business and your trustworthiness. While digital reputation is formed by online opinions, it can quickly have ramifications outside of the digital world through word of mouth or changing the likelihood of shoppers visiting a physical store.
Today, especially in a post-COVID world, more of your business's reputation is going to be digital than ever before. Some of the sources and channels that can make up your digital reputation include:
- Social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, and more)
- The first page of search engine results, which will be filled with news stories and third-party opinions for prospective customers to see at a glance
- Third-party review sites, like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, or other local business directories
How Does My Digital Reputation Affect My Business?
Ultimately, your digital reputation colors the impression shoppers, prospective customers, and potential repeat customers have on your business. The general impression they receive about your brand through either casual discovery or purposeful research will alter how they interact with your brand, for better or worse. Some of the specific ways your digital reputation affects your business include:
Provide Transparency in Response to Negative Reviews or Bad Press
Bad reviews are bad for business, but your prospective customers know they don't tell the whole story. Instead, they'll look to see your responses to those negative reviews. Are you rude, or are you courteous? Do you dismiss the issue, or do you transparently discuss how you will resolve it?
Unanswered and poorly answered negative reviews can cement your poor digital reputation in place and make shoppers unwilling to do business with you. But responding in a positive manner shows new shoppers that you care about customer service and that you handle problems well. This creates a more positive digital representation that can bring more shoppers to your door.
Build Trust and Credibility for Your Business
A positive digital reputation sets your business up for success. If shoppers are convinced by others' positive reviews, good press about your business, and other hallmarks of a great digital reputation, they're more likely to visit your brick-and-mortar or online store to make a purchase for themselves.
Climb the SERPs
If you have a positive and robust digital reputation, search engines will know about it. Their bots and algorithms will send more traffic to reviews about you, your business blog (because it's a trustworthy resource), and other third-party or proprietary online resources.
As a result, your website and local business directory profile pages will rise higher and higher in the SERPs (search engine results page) until you have a solid place on the first page of search results. This sends more shoppers to your business and can result in far more sales.
How Can I Improve My Digital Reputation?
Now that you know some of the key ways a digital reputation can turn away prospective buyers or bring in more shoppers, you can more strategically dedicate resources to monitoring and managing it for optimal success. Your digital reputation is hard to fully manage: It's made up of too many moving parts contributed by too many free agents. But you can be constantly ready to respond to people's opinions, monitor for abrupt changes, and even keep an eye on your competitors' digital reputations to maintain your position on the playing field.
You Can't Fully Control It — But You Can Monitor It
Because you can't remove negative reviews from the Internet or stop bad press before it reaches the public, you always need to have an eye on your digital reputation. When you see positive and negative reviews as soon as they're published, you can respond and have one hand on the wheel for any potential fallout.
However, because so many different channels form your reputation, it's important to create a systematic approach rather than continuously, manually combing the Internet for mentions of your business.
Maintain Insight Through Data Analysis and Competitor Intelligence
Intelligence and data are key. Today, data analytics programs can gather raw data about reviews, mentions, news articles, and threads that focus on your business. They can determine whether the mentions contribute positively or negatively to your reputation, the total impact, and more.
These insights won't just alert you to sudden changes or upticks in mentions. They can also help you determine what's going well without further action on your part, what you need to improve, and what requires more attention.
Use Turbine Labs to Improve Digital Reputation
At Turbine Labs, we use competitive analysis, media monitoring tools, and up-to-date industry news briefs to give our users more comprehensive insight into their real-time and long-term digital reputation. Our tool lets you see what people have to say about your products and services, recurring pain points, and common themes in mentions.
From this data, you can see how to respond to negative feedback (and the results of your responses over time) and create fine-tuned strategies for optimizing your digital reputation.
Start Protecting Your Reputation This Quarter
Staying ahead of public opinion is hard work. You can't always steer your business clear of future PR threats or bad reviews. But you can have real-time insight and the tools that help you respond instantly and manage the situation.
Contact our team at Turbine Labs to learn more about how our competitive analysis solution can help you quantitatively measure and monitor your brand's online image.