Maintaining your reputation as both an individual and a business has become essential today. “When looking for a local business, 97% of people read online reviews” (BIA Kelsey). The fact of the matter is that online and offline have almost merged together. And so, it is only logical that your online reputation can influence your real-time status and business. This is why you, as a developing moving business, need to pay close attention to any harmful or potentially negative reviews. And this is where the appeal of top-quality online reputation management (ORM) comes into play. So, here are some guidelines to help you along the way.
Why would you need online reputation management?
Most of you might be wondering why even bother with managing your online reputation. Especially when the focus today is on search engine rankings or any informative technology that will put you on the map. Well, contrary to popular belief, the problems that bad online publicity can cause don’t just fade out. Instead, they can cause long-term damage to your business and to your existing and potential customer base. After all, online reputation mismatches are not technology problems – they’re human problems. But, how can online reputation management actually influence your moving business?
Negative online content clean-up
Making a Google ranking comeback for a website infected with a stained online reputation will take time. You might even have to put compensation measures in place for your customers. Along with this method, there are others that growing businesses and established brands practice. Charities, donations, public events, sponsorships, videos, and social media messages – these are just some to name a few. But it still takes time, depending on the initial damage.
It is the driving force behind online businesses
Customers today directly rely on reviews before they make the decision to hire anyone. And if they come across a single bad review related to your company, it will already influence them with doubts. However, with good and preemptive online reputation management measures, you can prevent this from happening. This can ultimately mean the difference in the final choice between your company and the competition.
Bad online reputation management can lead you into an abyss
A pile of negative reviews is professional suicide for a small business or startup. On the one hand, bad comments can lead to a higher click-through rate, which Google values. But on the other hand, the last thing you want is a spot on the first page as that “company no one should do business with“. With each bad comment that you let slide, you’re digging a larger hole for your business to fall in.
It enables you to build and strengthen your online footprint
Proper and continuous online reputation management can help build you build a strong online presence. After all, you cannot hope to establish your brand unless you first have a solid foothold online. Think of reviews as referrals that rise online visitor awareness. Hence, you can expect higher click-through states, which results in higher conversion rates and more clients.
Is ORM the same as SEO?
There are certain similarities that you can find between online reputation management and search engine optimization for movers. However, they are essentially different in terms of focus and goals. SEO comes down to placing a website on the first pages of search results, whereas ORM focuses on controlling which websites appear in the search results. And these are two completely different tactics and measurements for success. Here are some basic examples:
- Multiple targets. While the focus in SEO is pointed towards that 1st place on search results, ORM goes in a different direction. The position of your website on that first page is not as important as controlling what gets on the page.
- Displacement versus promotion. SEO serves to promote all pages on the website toward the top of the results. Online reputation control looks to replace misleading information with quality and reliable content. Hence, ORM displaces certain pages.
- Lack of virality. Unlike in terms of SEO, a viral website is not always necessarily a good thing from an ORM perspective. Yes, virality leads to a high number of online visitors. However, those visitors also boost the popularity of the website. And this makes it harder to remove any potentially hurtful content or reviews.
- Keyword focus. The goal of SEO is to ensure that any search of relevant terms for your business leads people to your website and company. Online reputation management focuses on keywords that have a reputation impact. Hence, the goal is not to attract people so much as to ensure that the information they find is relevant.
The essentials of online reputation management for movers
There’s a lot to consider when running a business, and one of the most important things to always remember is that a very large part of it is a simple reputation. Businesses with a good reputation? They have a much easier time finding new customers and have a solid customer base. A bad reputation, however, can absolutely overshadow the quality of services. So, let’s take a closer look at online reputation management for movers – the essentials:
- Strong online presence
- Bad reviews management
- Streamlining customer services
- Website quality
Keep an eye on your online reputation
In order to properly pull off online reputation management for movers, you need to be on top of your game. Missing developments which are bad for your reputation means that the situation can quickly spiral out of control. If your business is still small, then you should learn how to monitor your online reputation yourself. Basically, though, it comes down to tracking posts on your social media pages and online listings, such as your Google My Business profile. In addition to that, Google really is your friend if you are trying to keep an eye on things.
By Googling your own business, you will naturally find out what the first impression of your customers is of you and whether it’s positive or negative. You can even learn what keywords are most often associated with you. A bigger business can likely afford a dedicated PR team and should hire one quickly.
Have a strong presence online
Part of online reputation management for movers is taking control of the narrative built around your business. How can you do this? Well, it comes down to building up a strong online presence which will help you counter attempts to smear you with a bad rep. The easiest way to do this, and benefit from some passive moving leads generation, is setting up social media accounts.
Now, you likely want to ‘focus’ on one and produce new content and posts for it in particular. Do it in a way you can more or less easily copy those posts and content. Then post them on your other ‘satellite’ social media accounts. It’s fine to dedicate some resources to them and occasionally post unique stuff on each of the accounts. However, doing so constantly takes a lot of work and waters down the quality (and profitability) of your accounts.
Actively encourage reviews by satisfied customers
Bad reviews are obviously undesirable, and eliminating their effects can take lots of time and effort. While you can’t stop them entirely, however, what you can do to offset their effects is to try and encourage customers you know are happy with your services to post their own reviews. This is, of course, not the simplest thing to gauge. After all, customer satisfaction can only be strived for rather than guaranteed. Still, make it known to your team leaders, especially on-the-field moving team leaders, that they should try and encourage reviews if they think the customer was satisfied once the job was done. All they need to do is tell them that reviews help a ton and politely ask them to leave one. It won’t add much work and responsibility to your day and it is likely to produce some rather good results!
How to manage bad reviews
Now, we’ve already admitted that the hardest part of online reputation management for movers, or any business, really, is tackling the consequences of bad reviews. Still, this doesn’t mean you should just give up on the job! Instead, you can mitigate their effects by making them obvious and knowing that you are trying to improve. Such reviews are split into two categories: genuine reviews that list out real problems, and bad reviews left by customers just to do it.
The latter typically only has denigrating comments or even just a low score without explanation. This type of comment should be addressed anyway, by asking them to clarify the problem. The ‘good’ bad reviews should be handled through polite assurance you are working on it. If you’ve taken steps to fix problems that had been pointed out, like staff rudeness or item mishandling, let people know about it in a comment.
Streamline your customer service
In most cases, a bad reputation for movers stems from bad customer service. This means that you really do need to work as much as you possibly do on this aspect.
For example, if people are complaining about how it takes forever to get an estimate and how they always need to be put on hold for it, including an instant moving quote calculator on your website is the way to go. If they complain about how rude your moving teams are, then that’s definitely something that requires a staff meeting and maybe even a change in team leaders. And, if the complaint is about the quality of your moving staff’s performance, then you need to invest in some serious training. Part of these issues is only likely to appear when a moving business is just getting set up. Still, this just means you need more experienced employees to lead by example.
Work on the quality of your website
The final way to work on online reputation management for movers is to improve your site’s quality. Lots of bad rep stems from a clunky or frustrating site. If a customer cannot easily access all the info they need, then they are likely to be upset. The same thing applies if they can only open your site consistently through a single browser or device. You will more than double your traffic if you ensure your site is properly optimized. However, your site also lets you freely work on building a good reputation. If you run a blog, you can both catch the long-term interest of your customers and get new ones through interesting advice and content. If you can become known for quality moving-related content and advice, it will do absolutely wonders for your online reputation.
The values of reputation management today
Online reputation handling can be a relatively simple, straightforward process, or it can be complex and multifaceted. Regardless, most ORM campaigns follow a few general rules:
- Search results are algorithmically generated. So, in the end – it comes down to calculated data and educated guesses from search engines and social media platforms.
- Popularity over accuracy. There is still no algorithm that can tell whether or not certain information is accurate. This is why online reputation is often defined by B-rated popular news and articles.
- Don’t click. Avoid making multiple visits to the same page and sharing it with friends via social media or other websites. This can reflect the page as relevant, even though it isn’t in most cases.
- Don’t engage with trolls. So, if someone attacks you online, you should never add fuel to the fire. This only attracts more attention, which makes the information appear relevant in the eyes of search engine algorithms. It’s better to fight their taunts with radio silence.
- Get your story out there. You always need a solid base of positive, accurate content to improve your online reputation. And this is something you should rely on SEO expert help for – blogs, videos, citations, etc.
- Use social media. With social media, you control the content they display, so they can make a big difference to your online image. Plus, they also add value to search results.
- Online reputation management through the protection of privacy. Make sure to monitor the information that people post about your business online. Avoid hijacking your reputation by avoiding subscriptions that share your personal information.
- Assume everything lasts forever. And for the most part, it actually does. So, the last thing you want is a permanent mark on your online record. Because no matter how old or outdated certain information is, it can still pop up as relevant on search engines.
Food for further thought on the topic
Once you comprehend the influence of online publicity management, it will be easier to achieve success with your business. And one of the many ways to boost your profit and business is by clearing any negative comments about it. As a result, you can also prevent Google from giving relevance to false news and reports, hence saving your brand. Finally, in order to reach your long-term goals and improve your online presence, you need optimal web visibility. And online reputation management is one of the movers’ marketing tools that can help you do just that.