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3 foundations of effective online review management—and the benefits for your brand

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Public Relations

When you’re making a decision to buy a product or use a business for a specific service, what influences your decision? For many people, online reviews can be a major factor in any decision. In fact, 76 percent of people read online reviews when looking for a local business. That means that what people think of your business, both positive and negative, may be on the internet for anyone to read.

With so many reviews out there, it is important that you make time to read those reviews and respond to them where possible. Online review management is a tactic every business should employ, and it’s one that can enhance your brand reputation while helping to show you care about your customers. Just what is online review management, though, and how can you start it if it is something new to you?

An overview of online review management

Online review management is a process whereby your teams actively monitor what people are saying about you on various review platforms online. These could be anything from popular review sites such as Google, specialist platforms like TripAdvisor, or any independent third-party review site. 

3 foundations of effective online review management—and the benefits for your brand

Image sourced from brightlocal.com

Your marketing team should be tracking what is being said, especially when it comes to negatives. Negative reviews can highlight particular issues that need to be dealt with, while positive reviews can validate what you’re already doing or highlight the quality of your products. Online review management can be very important, especially when your teams are involved in multi website management

You should also be responding to reviews as much as possible. A simple ‘thank you’ may suffice for a good review, but bad reviews should be dealt with more thoroughly. By doing so, you can hopefully solve any customer issue and prevent that person from choosing another brand in the future. And, of course, positive reviews can provide your team with great marketing content. 

To streamline your online review management process and effectively handle reviews across various platforms, consider using a review management platform. These tools provide a centralized dashboard where you can monitor and respond to reviews from multiple sites, saving time and ensuring no reviews slip through the cracks. With a review management platform, you can efficiently track and engage with customer feedback to enhance your brand’s reputation and drive positive customer experiences.

Additionally, leveraging data collection tools allows you to gather and analyze valuable insights from customer reviews, enabling you to identify trends and areas for improvement based on customer feedback. This data-driven approach empowers your marketing team to make informed decisions and implement targeted strategies for continuous improvement.

How to create an effective online review management strategy

Your marketing team has to wear many hats and understand multiple topics. From answering “What is a CDN?” to identifying how your most important metrics are performing, they have to be prepared to expand their roles beyond ‘simple’ marketing and adopt new tactics and strategies. So, how do you design an online review management strategy they can easily use?

3 foundations of effective online review management—and the benefits for your brand

Image sourced from gitnux.com

There are three foundations of good online review management:

Monitoring

The first step is to identify where people are leaving reviews. This will vary from business to business, and in some cases, you won’t be able to track reviews everywhere. You should identify and track the most popular sites and platforms, however. 

If you are listed on Google Business (and you should be), then this is likely the most popular site to track. Social media platforms, especially Facebook, are another “must-do” as customers will often leave a review on your business page there. Depending on your business type, you should also be monitoring specialists and independent third-party sites. 

Responding

Responding to reviews can boost your organization’s visibility and help boost your search rankings. Now, it may seem like an impossible task if you have hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews across various sites and platforms. You can automate some responses, but this should only be considered for basic positive reviews where you just want to say “thank you.” 

Responding has the most value when you are responding to negative reviews. Online review management allows you to address customer issues and hopefully resolve any problem. These negative reviews could be regarding shipping or customer service, or they may be regarding the quality of a product. Either way, taking the time to respond and start a dialogue when needed shows you care about your customers. 

Promoting

Whether you’re a business or an individual, everyone loves compliments and positive comments. With online review management, you have an opportunity to take these compliments and use them in future promotions. For example, you may have a raft of good reviews for an ecommerce website development service you offer. 

By highlighting the best reviews, usually the ones that go into detail, you have material you can use in the future to promote that service. You already know that people often trust reviews, so why not put those great reviews out there? One thing you should consider is linking to the original source to increase the trust in that review. 

3 foundations of effective online review management—and the benefits for your brand

Image sourced from reviewtrackers.com

Benefits of online review management

If you have an effective online review management strategy, then there are several benefits you should experience as a result.

1. Resolve customer problems

Customer issues can range from simple to complex. However, you should always be seeking to resolve any issue. This can not only help to satisfy that particular customer (and retain them), but it also demonstrates to other customers that you listen to what your customer base says. It is worth noting that people probably pay as much attention to your answers as to the review itself. 

For example, let’s say that you have provided a flipbook instead of a website. A customer finds it hard to use and leaves a negative review. You see it and respond with an apology and a guide as to how to use it. The result? A satisfied customer who has had their issue solved and many others who see a helpful response from you. 

Online reviews can also help identify common issues that you can then take steps to resolve. Some of those problems, such as customer service, may be in-house. Others may be due to external problems with third-party logistics suppliers. Either way, if there are several negative reviews that highlight an issue, you can solve them and let the customers know that you have.

2. Better search engine rankings

Every business wants better visibility and rankings. It means more people see your business details, and it increases the possibility of them becoming paying customers. There is also a time factor to online reviews; when all your reviews are ‘old,’ then you will likely drop down the rankings. But if you have plenty of recent positive reviews, then you will rise. 

It doesn’t matter what services and products you provide, from helping to deploy web applications to selling clothes. Everything comes down to trustworthiness. The algorithms that Google uses to measure your trustworthiness will then reflect that level in how high they rank you in organic searches. 

3 foundations of effective online review management—and the benefits for your brand

3. Covers all bases

As has been mentioned, there can be many sites and platforms, including your own, where a customer might leave a review. It doesn’t matter whether you are operating a .ae domain or a purely Facebook-based business; people are likely to leave a review at some point. Of course, there are times when monitoring all these sites and platforms can seem like an impossible task.

This is where a good online review management strategy can help. You can utilize review management software—similar to media monitoring software—to allow your staff to access all reviews via a single dashboard. If you don’t want to invest in this software, then you need to manage your online reviews manually and should consider prioritizing the sites where most reviews are left.

4. Boosts your marketing efforts

You likely already know the value of UGC (user-generated content), and you can view online reviews as a form of this. People have a tendency to trust what other customers say above your normal marketing content. So, if people are saying great things about your brand, products, and services, then why not use those statements as future promotional material? 

These positive statements could be wide-ranging. They could focus on the great customer service you provide, or they may praise a blog you wrote on how to get an online phone number. Whatever the reason for the positive review, it gives you content for marketing campaigns. 

3 foundations of effective online review management—and the benefits for your brand

Online review management: Key to opening a dialogue with your customers

Knowing what people are saying about you, your products, and your services can help validate how you are doing things now. When reviews are negative, it can help highlight issues you can address and fix. You can think of online reviews as a ‘thermometer’ that gauges how people view your brand. They identify issues as well as good aspects of your business. 

Online review management also gives you the opportunity to open a dialogue with a customer who has posted negative comments. This dialogue gives you a chance to solve any issues and hopefully change their status from dissatisfied to satisfied. Perhaps more importantly, other customers and potential customers see how you respond, and this can influence their own future purchasing decisions. 

Gregory Batchelor
Gregory Batchelor is the Vice President of Growth Marketing at Platform.sh, a unified, enterprise-grade platform for building, running and scaling websites and applications. With over 20 years of experience in the tech sector, including time at companies including Oracle, Cisco and NTT, he has developed a reputation as a marketing and business operations leader. In his spare time, Gregory enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and playing lots of golf.

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