Online Reputation Management: The Metrics That Matter

 

Online reputation management is a broad term that means you’re aware of the online conversation that surrounds your brand and are actively participating when relevant. Online reputation management (ORM) is a function of both marketing and customer service. ORM can take many forms, from asking your customers to leave reviews, to review monitoring, to social media conversations, and more. And while your multi-location business likely understands the importance of managing its online reputation, which metrics truly matter? Should you solely be focused on the number of reviews your business is receiving, or are negative reviews more essential to pay attention to? Similarly, which metrics should you be tracking to determine the success of your efforts? You’re about to find out! 

 

This blog breaks down the ORM metrics that matter and shares what it takes for your multi-location business to implement a winning reputation management strategy. With ratings and reviews being the #1 factor consumers consider before making a purchase decision, ORM is the key to success when leveraged correctly. 

 

Review Response Rate 

 

One of the main areas that can impact your bottom line with ORM is your business’s attentiveness to local reviews. In short, attention to your reviews can translate into the percentage of reviews your business responds to. After all, seven out of 10 consumers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review. Before we dive into review response rate, let’s clarify which platforms you should be looking for your brand’s online reputation. Our 2021 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report analyzes online reputation on Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, and Yelp, which will be the three local search platforms we focus on throughout this blog. 

 

Your business’s locations should aim to respond to 100 percent of local reviews received in a perfect world. While that’s not always possible, the 2021 LMBR found that leaders in localized marketing respond to an average of 31 percent of the reviews they receive on GMB, 26 percent on Facebook, and only 13 percent on Yelp. There’s quite a bit of room for improvement with these averages, and it’s your business’s job to ensure it responds to as many reviews as possible. 

 

Review Response Time and Personalization

 

While responding to reviews is essential, how quickly should you be responding to them? Ideally, your business should be responding to reviews as soon as possible. Forty percent of customers who leave negative reviews expect the company to respond within 24 hours. While that is not always feasible, the sooner your business responds to reviews, the better. Our 2021 LMBR found that leaders in localized marketing responded to reviews on Facebook in an average of 39 days, took 92 days on GMB, and 81 days on Yelp. These averages are so high because some businesses aren’t responding to reviews at all. Your local stores should aim to respond to reviews far faster than these averages, and let’s not forget about what you include in your review responses as well! 

 

Personalization is key. When responding to a negative review, local stores should address the issue mentioned in the review and offer to take the conversation offline. Eighty-seven percent of consumers have expressed a willingness to change a negative review depending on how the business responds, so acknowledging negative reviews in a personalized manner is a must! Although negative reviews should be the priority, you can also incorporate personalization into responses for positive reviews. A quick “Thank you [name]!” can go a long way. Consumers will notice if your business takes the time to respond to one of their reviews and remember it the next time they need to purchase. 

 

Average Star Rating 

 

While attentiveness to local reviews is essential, you must keep an eye on your local star ratings as well. Data has found that only 53 percent of people would consider using a business with less than four stars. Keeping your businesses’ local star ratings high is a must, but how high should you aim? Again, our 2021 LMBR guides the way. The report found that leaders in localized marketing have an average star rating of 4.2 stars on GMB and Facebook, with Yelp coming in lower at 3.2 stars. 

 

If your local stores are not already meeting these average star ratings, it’s time to adjust your ORM strategy. While improving your review response rate can help, it’s also crucial to look at the content of your negative reviews. Is there a certain topic that keeps coming up among customers? Are they unhappy with your long wait times, or is parking not clearly marked? Understanding why customers are leaving negative reviews and making changes based on the feedback received can help your business avoid low ratings in the future. 

 

 

The Volume of Local Reviews 

 

The volume of reviews your local businesses receive is vital to consider as well. If your company has a healthy amount of reviews, consumers will see you as trustworthy. Imagine yourself as the consumer – you’re deciding between two places to get your nails done, and one has zero reviews and one has a 4.2-star rating and 50 reviews; which one do you think you would choose? Eighty-two percent of consumers overall read online reviews, so if your multi-location business lacks that area, you could be missing out on new leads and ultimately sales. 

 

To increase your volume of reviews at the local level, consider the following: 

  • Add a CTA on your receipts asking customers to leave a review
  • Provide a computer or tablet at local events where attendees can leave a review
  • Leverage social listening to find customers talking positively about your brand on social media, and encourage them to leave a review 
  • Post on your local social media channels encouraging satisfied customers to leave a review

 

Local Rankings on Google 

 

Looking at your online presence on Google is also a reputation metric your multi-location business should be tracking. How visible is your business in relevant search results? Understanding where your local companies rank in relevant searches is a crucial metric to track. Because while the volume of reviews is essential to consumers, it’s also important to Google. Although Google doesn’t automatically rank a business with more reviews higher than one without, the volume of reviews does play a role in Google’s ranking factors.

 

And if you need further convincing for why this matters –  75 percent of searchers never scroll past the first page of search results. If your business isn’t showing up until the second or third page of search results, think of how many sales you’re missing out on. 

 

Once you understand how your local businesses rank on Google, you can work to improve it. We wrote an entire blog that guides you step by step on building trust and improving your business’s ranking on Google. To summarize, keeping your local listings updated and accurate, focusing on citations, and managing your customer reviews and testimonials are key! 

 

 

Managing your business’s online reputation across 100s or 1,000s of business locations is no easy feat, not to mention every other task you already have on your plate. That’s why SOCi is here to help. When it comes to ORM, we have you covered! For instance, SOCi Reviews is a next-level review solution that enables users to view every action taken on reviews and monitor every activity on social media. Now, your local, regional, and corporate teams will always know which reviews and social engagements are addressed and which ones still require attention to ensure the prompt responses consumers expect. There’s no longer an excuse for missing local reviews or not responding to them. 

 

While SOCi is great for reputation management efforts, we can help you dominate all aspects of your localized marketing strategy. SOCi is the central command for multi-location marketers and the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. Request a demo today for more insight into how SOCi can help you crush your marketing goals and beat the competition!

 

 

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