Online reputation audit is a pretty big thing in today's business world. The Internet is more competitive than ever, so what people see while searching will most probably shape their final decision.
We already talked about online reputation management, therefore, it’s time to explain how to conduct an online reputation audit.
Why is it important? Where to start?
Let’s explain everything.
Why is it important to conduct an online reputation audit?
An online reputation can be perceived as a brand reputation. In other words, the goal is to understand how your target market perceives your business.
Since brand reputation will directly influence sales, it’s crucial to pay attention to it. However, many businesses do a poor job when it comes to monitoring their online presence.
Why? They usually aren’t aware of its importance, or simply don’t know where and how to start.
So, for starters, let’s explain what are the most important aspects of an online reputation audit:
Brand awareness - this is a no-brainer. If potential customers don’t even know that you exist, you practically have no online reputation.
Customer satisfaction - Businesses that listen to and implement customer feedback are more likely to have a better online reputation, hence, have more sales. A satisfied customer will come back, and more importantly, spread the word about your business.
Customer sentiment - Even though they have an overall positive experience, customers might point out some things they perceive as negative. This is very useful because it can shed some light on potential problems so you can make necessary improvements.
Testimonials and reviews - customer satisfaction and sentiment will be embodied in testimonials and reviews. Since this is a public demonstration of their impressions, it’s clear how it can affect your business - both positive and negative.
Business authority - People collaborate with whom they can trust. If customers perceive you as an authority within your industry, it means that they trust you. All the points above are accumulated into your business authority.
Now that we know what is brand reputation and why is it important, let’s see how to perform an online reputation audit.
What does an online reputation audit look like?
You understood that it’s important to monitor your brand mentions across the web. But, what does that precisely mean?
An online reputation audit might include:
- Analyzing the mentions - dynamics, seasonality, and peaks
- Analyzing the sentiment of mentions - are they positive or negative
- Analyzing customer discussions - which aspects they like and dislike (price, delivery, quality, color, etc.)
- Customer discussions can also help you with identifying customer groups that share similar sentiments
In addition, an online reputation audit can be taken as a guide for further actions. The results can be used as recommendations for content strategy, Google Ads strategy, or any other strategy that you might consider useful.
How to Monitor Your Business’ Reputation
Online reputation frameworks can differ from business to business, but some basic steps can be universal.
Analyze your website
This sounds logical, but many businesses skip this step when performing an online reputation audit. Before you start looking for outside reasons and ideas for improvement, you should analyze the first and foremost aspect - your website.
The speed, design, and content of your website have a huge effect on your SEO rankings. Remember, if you’re not present among the top first page results, customers will have trouble finding you.
After you did everything that needs to be done in that aspect, you should start with analyzing the comments on the website itself. It’s very unprofessional if people keep commenting or asking questions, and there’s no response from your side.
Perform a broad Google search
This step has 2 aspects. The first one can be directed to your business, while the second to your competition.
As you might know, there are many websites that are made as listings. That means that potential customers can find all the necessary information about different tools/products/services in one place. Another thing that makes such websites very relevant is the fact that customers are able to share their reviews of different products.
Therefore, a Google search can help you identify the overall customer sentiment across different websites. Moreover, Google search can help you with the competition.
Take some time to analyze your competitors’ approach and market presence. What is their content strategy? Are they using paid ads? How active are they on social media? Are they present on different listings and if they are, what do the customers say about them?
It might be time-consuming, but at the same time, very beneficial for your online reputation audit.
What about social media?
Regardless of the industry to which they belong, all businesses must be present on social media. When looking for a product, people first check the reviews and social networks.
What do the company's accounts look like? Do they interact regularly with customers? Most people will decide to ask for the necessary information through one of the social networks.
Of course, depending on your business, you can focus on different social channels. For example, B2B companies usually rely on Linkedin and Facebook, while B2C companies can benefit more from Instagram.
Make sure to regularly check what’s being said about your company on those platforms. Also, responding to online reviews is equally important, so don’t neglect it.
Why automated reputation analysis is the best choice
Now you’re probably thinking that even if you dedicate all your time to these tasks, it would still be impossible to track all the reviews. That’s true.
There can be thousands of reviews to monitor every day/week/month. Therefore, automating this process can be a game-changer.
One of the most obvious advantages of having an automated solution to perform your online reputation audit is speed. This process will become incomparable faster which will enable you to get information quickly.
By using an automated solution, you’ll be able to perform a consistent analysis. Moreover, this will allow you to apply the same criteria to all data, improving data consistency.
Start Auditing Your Business’ Reputation
The first steps are usually the hardest. But, while you hesitate, be sure that your competition is already a step ahead of you.
We know that an online reputation audit can be an overwhelming task, but with the right help, nothing is impossible. Many online review aggregators are meant to facilitate the process of review monitoring.
Remember that data-driven decisions are the ones that make your strategy profitable.
Are you already performing an online reputation audit? Have you maybe found some trick that you would like to share with our readers?
We would love to read more about it in the comments!