A positive online reputation is more than a vanity metric. 5-star reviews and positive feedback can help retain existing customers and bring in new business as potential customers compare you against your competition. While negative reviews can be used to show your professionalism and value. Read on to discover how to manage your reputation online.
There’s a good chance you advertise to help grow your business, right?
But with 3 out of 4 consumers expressing distrust in ads, you can’t rely on your advertising to help you stay competitive.
When you list out all of your advertising and marketing strategies, does reputation management rank on that list?
Because it should.
What people think of you and your business matters hugely when it comes to your marketing.
Business reputation can be built up with hard work and excellent customer service but can be torn down by negative feedback and reviews. But there’s good news. You can use those reviews – whether they’re 5-star or 1-star – to get more work no matter what industry you operate in.
After all, you’re bound to have an occasional customer who ends up frustrated or loves to jump online to leave a scathing review. This is where reputation management software helps.
You can use reputation management tools to manage your brand online and encourage customers to leave feedback, as well as stay aware of the conversations happening around your business online.
Reputation management tools can be an affordable way to stop the harm caused by negative online content about your company., with 60% of buyers admitting they’ll stop considering a business if they see a negative review. By responding to these reviews as they arrive, you can help lessen the damage and turn a bad review into a chance to attract new customers (read on to find out how).
With plenty of options available, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best online reputation management software.
What is Reputation Management?
Before you skip ahead to find a damage control solution or rush out to beg customers to review you, let’s clarify exactly what reputation management is and how it works.
Every brand – no matter how big or how small – has an image. More importantly, though, you’re not in control of that image…your customers are.
You always want your services and expertise to shine through, but perception is reality. If you get buried by a few poorly timed customer complaints, it won’t’ matter how great your products and services are – people may change the way they view your business.
Reputation management is a broad term for how companies manage their marketing, press, and online presence and do their best to keep the positive prominent and the negative.
Think of the last company you hired to service something in your home: gutter cleaning, installing a ceiling fan, or even paving a driveway. What are the first few words that come to mind about that experience? That is your impression of the company and their reputation in your mind.
Now imagine you took that feedback and shared it on the internet instead of keeping it to yourself or complaining to a friend. Others looking for a similar service will see your opinions – good or bad – and use that information to decide whether they should trust that business.
In short, online reputation is all about how people perceive a business and what they share about it with others. And while you can’t stop anyone from sharing their thoughts, online reputation management software can help you follow the conversation and respond accordingly.
Benefits of Managing Your Reputation Online
If you’re a local business, you might not be too concerned about your online reputation. You don’t sell a service or product on the internet, you head out and meet people face-to-face, so does reputation matter?
Yeah, it does.
Every company has an online footprint in one shape or form. Maybe you don’t get the bulk of your work through your website or online, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about you online. Knowing how people perceive you online can benefit your business in many ways.
Read on to discover the significant benefits of managing your reputation.
People love to see what other people think about things: from movie and book reviews to gossip columns to experiences with their local plumber. 85% of people value online reviews from strangers as much as they trust recommendations from friends.
Managing your online reputation by encouraging happy customers to leave their feedback can have an unseen impact on potential future clients – and every review counts.
Improve your SEO
When people search for services online – for example, “landscaper near me” or “local electrician”, they’re more likely to click on the first page of results. The higher you are on the page, the better your chances they’ll see your brand.
Having your company mentioned across the web in a positive light can improve where you rank on Google. The more pages you are listed on, with backlinks to your website, the more likely Google is to place you prominently in front of customers.
Use negative feedback to get more work
Negative feedback is part and parcel of running a business in 2021, but you can use these poor reviews as a way to showcase your professionalism and customer service. When you find a negative review, respond in a way that tells your story but doesn’t shift blame. This shows customers how you handle yourself when there are issues, differences of opinion, or even disputes.
Free market research
What people say about your services is as important as their opinion about your brand. What parts did they like most about what you provided? Where did you shine through? What do other people comment on or have concerns about?
You can learn a lot about what is important to potential customers and how to tailor your offerings moving forward. Whether improving your communication skills, varying your service tiers, or targeting the competition, seeing what people think of you can help you change moving forward.
When Should You Invest in Reputation Management Tools?
The internet is like the universe – it’s always expanding.
There’s no way you can monitor the feedback across so many platforms, forums, and services…without a little help.
Reputation management software allows you to track your business everywhere it’s mentioned, without requiring you to set aside hours each weekend to manually search online. If you’ve been using your valuable time searching for and responding to reviews, here are a few simple ways to find out if an online reputation management software is right for you.
You’re new and have no online reputation yet
Do you have a clean slate and a new business?
You can use reputation management software to create a first impression with local customers and online communities. If you don’t have a reputation yet, you can still benefit from these tools to help you manage your reputation moving forward.
Customers have come to expect businesses to have an online presence and online reviews to give them a reason to trust a vendor. In fact, it can take up to 7 reviews for a customer to decide to trust or further explore a business.
Starting out with monitoring can help you be responsive as the reviews start to mount. Engaging in near-real-time, thanking customers, or mitigating damage can only help your business grow. And don’t forget the help that this can have for your new website appearing in search rankings.
You need to repair a damaged reputation.
Struggling with a PR crisis?
It’s time to get a handle on the situation and start to reverse the damage. Reputation management software can help you confirm the scope of the feedback and respond as timely as possible. You can also gauge whether issues are isolated or reflect more widely on your company.
If the impact is wider than expected, at least you now know the extent of the issue. Now you can respond by asking loyal customers to share their own experiences. You can also put out new marketing content that underscores the perks of working with your business.
You want to maintain an existing positive reputation.
No issue. No problem.
Reputation management tools can help you keep an eye on things and maintain the status quo. You can keep your focus on expanding your online reach – for example updating your online citation listings or curating reviews – to boost your rankings.
What to Consider When Choosing Reputation Management Software
Online reputation management tools come in all shapes, sizes, and prices.
While the features, functions, and prices may differ, there are some common characteristics to keep in mind as you consider your options.
Ease of use
The idea is to let the software do the heavy lifting for you. If it takes just as much time for you to navigate the software as it would to comb the internet yourself, find another option.
The right reputation management software for you will have the ability to track your business across multiple touchpoints. The wider the reach, the more value you can take from your tool. If your chosen tool is missing reviews or mentioned, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to control the narrative.
Ability to respond
Good or bad, you’ll want to respond to reviews whenever possible. You can show engagement, expertise, and customer service easily this way. The right reputation management tool will let you respond directly from the platform, cutting down on time and effort so you can get back to work.
15 Top Reputation Management Tools you should be using
To help you take more control over your business brand online, we’ve put together a list of the top options for online reputation management software. Be sure to explore any possible fit in detail before choosing your company.
Brand24 listens to the chatter around your company across social media platforms and alerts you when the conversation heats up.
- Customize alerts based on specific criteria to focus on what matters.
- Filter results to get down to the source or find trends.
- Identify standout commenters or influencers to engage more often.
- Respond to comments in real-time from a single platform.
- Positioned and priced for bigger brands with larger followings.
- Harder learning curve for new users.
Free 14-day trial and starter packages at $49 per month
#2 – Grade.US
Online reviews can pop up almost anywhere. Grade.US (formerly Reputology) monitors them all for you, helping you respond and adapt to the feedback of all kinds.
- Leverage 2/7 monitoring across search and social sites.
- Receive automated notifications when reviews are posted.
- Survey customers to collect focused, ongoing input.
- See how other team members respond to online posts.
- Priced high for small businesses and charges extra for integrations.
- Limited support hours make it harder to get assistance.
Free 14-day trial and small business subscriptions at $110 per month
#3 – Birdeye
Birdeye curates customer reviews to boost positive feedback and search rankings. Review management and marketing quickly turn into increased leads and exposure for your company online.
- Manage reviews across all listings from a single dashboard.
- Optimize your Google My Business listing with direct connection.
- Send customers to review sites to encourage positive feedback.
- Automate a referral program via email and messaging apps.
- Priced very high with base package missing key interaction options.
- Limited support hours make it harder to get assistance.
Free trial access available after speaking with a sales rep. The standard plan starts at $299 per month.
#4 – SproutSocial
Grow your business by engaging with customers across social media. SproutSocial monitors social activity highlights activity spikes and consolidates messages so you can reach out and respond.
- See social media messages from every network in one place.
- Manage support issues and respond to complaints quickly.
- Learn what topics create a conversation with your customers.
- Discover keywords that you can use in other marketing content.
- Limited analytics and no support for custom reports.
- Expensive if you have more than 5 social networks to manage.
Free 30-day trial and Standard plans start at $99 per user, per month
#5 – Swell
Looking to carry the conversation? Swell helps you grow reviews and reputation with easy engagement options. Interact with users from anywhere, from Google to Facebook. Swell balances outbound customer interaction with monitoring and response.
- Request reviews via text and grow Google and Facebook feedback
- Create surveys to learn more about customer needs and opinions.
- Use one-to-one or bulk messaging to manage your responses
- Pay a flat fee for access to every feature without tiered plans.
- Overwhelming to users who don’t need all included features.
- No mobile app for on-the-go monitoring.
$199 for an annual plan that includes a 30-day opt-out period
#6 – Chekkit
Chekkit puts the emphasis on text messaging for monitoring and engagement for local businesses. Request and respond to reviews, interact directly with customers, and manage live chat from a single platform. Their mobile app makes chatting from anywhere easy and quick.
- Manage messages from Facebook, Google, the web, and texting in one place.
- Request reviews with workflows and autoresponders.
- Respond to reviews on mainstream and industry-specific sites.
- Create alerts for new reviews and track responses.
- No automatic personalization options based on customer or topic.
- Essentials plan limits users to 2000 outbound messages each month.
$99 per month for an Essentials plan includes initial free access to explore features
#7 – GatherUp
Balancing requests for reviews and reactions to feedback, GatherUp is focused on capturing customer experience. Monitoring over 50 sites, from Google to TripAdvisor, this is a strong review reputation management software.
- Receive notifications when new reviews are posted online.
- Create reports to track ratings and feedback trends.
- Request reviews via email and SMS with automated reminders.
- Personalize and brand all feedback communications.
- Customization options can be overwhelming to new users.
- Support relies heavily on web articles and email ticketing.
Free 14-day trial and subscriptions starting at $99 per month, per business location
#8 – Moz Local
Managing online listings can be a challenge with different logins and content. Moz Local makes it easy by keeping your listings in-sync across the internet from one dashboard. Tapping directly into review sites, Moz Local lets you respond to reviews from the same dashboard to boost ranking and visibility.
- Improve SEO ranking with consistent, current business listing content.
- Track feedback and common topics over time to understand client opinions
- Respond to reviews in real-time to address critics and engage fans.
- Enhance listings with photos, offers, and rich content.
- Key features require more mid-range pricing plans.
- Focus remains on on-site listings with fewer options for email engagement.
No free trial available but subscriptions start at $129 for a yearly plan.
#9 – Vendasta
Vendasta offers reputation management as a part of a larger suite of marketing and business solutions. Instant notifications ensure you never miss a review. You can manage your Vendasta account yourself or provide access to your marketing agency to manage content for you.
- Increase listing accuracy by managing content from one platform.
- Track conversations across review sites and social media accounts.
- Create benchmarks when comparing yourself to competitors.
- Manage and respond to reviews from a single dashboard.
- Lends itself to companies selling digital products more than local services.
- No mobile app access or support included.
Free accounts offer initial review access. Subscriptions starting at $42 per month (billed annually)
#10 – Podium
If you’re looking to build your online review presence, consider Podium. Their platform helps users automate review invites and uses texting tools to ask customers to engage with your online listings.
- Use templates that personalize outreach for review requests.
- Get instant alerts when customers respond with an online review.
- Capture extra feedback with integrated customer surveys.
- See and respond to all of your reviews in a single inbox format.
- Ties into review and listing sites but not social media platforms.
- No mobile app access included.
Free trial access and custom quotes are available upon request.
#11 – Reputation Studio
From web solutions experts 1440, Reputation Studio offers a unique approach to review management. Connect to over 30 partners and review sites including Google My Business and Yelp to monitor and respond to reviews across platforms.
- Respond to real-time alerts based on the filter criteria you set.
- Create cases based on review topics and severity.
- Use topical templates to streamline and speed up responses.
- Measure customer sentiments and how they feel about your company.
- Built on Salesforce and requires CRM access to manage reviews.
- Pricing likely to be high incorporating the cost of CRM usage.
Free trial access and custom quotes are available after speaking with a sales rep.
#12 – Yext
Yext is dedicated to helping companies understand and control how their company is represented online. You can monitor and correct your online business listings to make sure your information is accurate and engaging while cultivating reviews.
- Build citations quickly and easily from one interface.
- Customize content based on different business locations.
- Suppresses duplicates and streamlines listing management.
- Upload photos, content, and review responses easily.
- Recognized as a leader in the space but pricing can be prohibitive.
- Less than stellar customer service reported by customers online.
Free trial access available. Custom pricing available upon request.
#13 – Cloutly
Cloutly helps you turn reviews into the marketing content. Use their website widgets to add customer feedback to your site. You can also send review request emails pointing customers to the review platform of their – or your – choice with 24 options to choose from.
- Review and address negative reviews before they go public.
- Include live customer reviews on your site to instill trust.
- Respond to reviews directly from the browser dashboard.
- Automate review requests based on sales triggers like new purchases.
- Support is web-based with no live end-user interaction.
- No mobile app access included.
Free 14-day trial and subscriptions starting at $22 per month
#14 – Rallio
Multi-location listing management Rallio is ideal for multi-location businesses and franchises. You can monitor feedback across your brand or permit franchisees to respond to reviews at a local level. Rallio offers per-location engagement opportunities by breaking down feedback across social media and more.
- Manage multiple location listings and channels centrally.
- Monitor manager responses to reviews for consistency.
- Maintain a brand image no matter the social media platform.
- Use branded templates that local franchises can personalize.
- Mobile users note connection issues when posting responses.
- Designed for larger companies or those with business divisions.
Free trial access available. Custom pricing available upon request.
#15 – Broadly
Local service businesses rely on reviews to stand out from the competition. Broadly supports this with home service-specific tools to help drive new business through online listing sites. Encourage and respond to reviews with all customer interactions in a single inbox.
- Request reviews with single-click access to your listings.
- Interact via Google My Business and Facebook via web and mobile.
- Contact dedicated customer support for technical and strategic help.
- Connect to other service apps including Jobber and ServiceTitan.
- Pricing is not transparent, requiring a demo to access a custom quote.
- Some customers report delays between review postings and notifications.
No free trial offered. Custom pricing available upon request.
It’s time to unlock reputation, referrals, and repeat business
Once you set up online reputation software, what should you expect to happen?
The process will be slow at first and depends on where you are in your reputation lifecycle, which covers:
- no feedback
- neutral existence
- crisis response
You may find yourself engaging more with the software as more reviews and feedback rolls in.
It’s important not to let all of the alerts and notifications control your life as you have a business to run. So consider options that let you filter alerts. This allows you to either respond to those that meet certain criteria, such as two-star reviews, or including certain keywords.
Keep professionalism in mind. People are likely to be more brazen on the internet with their feedback than they would be to your face. Remember this is a great chance to show potential customers how you handle conflict. Be kind, concise, and as factual as possible.
Before you start firing off automated email requests for referrals, make sure you have your system worked out. Ask happy customers for input while you are top of mind, not months after the job is done. Ask once, ask twice, but gauge when enough is enough. There are other ways you can engage people less eager to post on your Facebook account. Ask them to recommend you to a friend or neighbor. You can personalize a note and offer them a discount on a future service as an incentive.
Repeat customers can also be good referral sources. Just because they left one review doesn’t mean they can’t leave another. Keep these clients in your campaigns; potential customers who see repeat users may weigh that more heavily in their decision-making process.
In the end, incorporating reputation management can help you control your brand and the conversation rate happening around your company online.
Think about who your customers are, where they may be likely to leave feedback, and look to engage them where they are comfortable.
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MANAGE YOUR REVIEWS WITH TRADIE FLOW.