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5 ways to build a better reputation online with reviews

Whether your business promises top notch cuisine, the perfect pair of jeans or unique tourist experiences, building a strong brand and a positive reputation online is more important than ever. Now that most customer experiences begin with a search engine like Google, your reputation as a business will almost always precede you. In fact, a whopping 76% of people trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations. While reviews and conversations surrounding your brand may feel out of your control, there are certain tactics that will help you build trust with customers, influence sentiment and stand out from the crowd.

Read on to learn more about how to build a better reputation online

1. First things first: show up and show out

When customers begin their search, discoverability is critical for your business’s credibility. Creating a free Google My Business (GMB) account is an easy way to increase visibility in local search results, gain reviews and provide more context for potential customers. According to Google, businesses with descriptive GMB listing are 2.7x more likely to be considered reputable. 

Another indication of a reputable business is a high ranking in search results. According to HubSpot, 75% of users don’t scroll past the first page of results so businesses that appear on that coveted first page have a competitive edge. Fortunately, with a detailed GMB listing, your business will appear more frequently and higher up in relevant search results. Plus, your full listing will appear on the right side of the results or at the very top on mobile devices.

Parlor West Loop Google My Business
While GMB will most likely be the first touch point for your customers, 70% of consumers look at multiple review sites when choosing a local business. Claim and customize your business pages on review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook and other niche, industry-specific review sites to cover all your bases.

2. There’s strength in numbers

Not only is Google where most customer journeys start, it’s also the fastest growing online review platform out there. In addition to 63% of consumers reading reviews on Google before visiting a business, nearly 58% of all online reviews are left through GMB listings.

Review Sites ShareThe link between search results ranking and Google reviews proves that there’s strength in numbers. The top three listings in Google’s local search results have an average of 472% more reviews than listings four through six. And those numbers matter to more than just Google’s SEO ranking algorithm. Other than recency and overall star rating, consumers pay attention to the quantity of reviews more than anything else when judging a local business on reviews alone.

Bright Local Reviews Factors3. Reach for the stars
Consumers want to feel confident about where and how they’re spending their money, so it should come as no surprise that positive reviews make them more likely to choose a business. Reviews are more than a star rating, but those stars are critical in determining what consumers consider “positive.” Only 53% of people say they would consider using a business with less than 4 stars. If your business is struggling to reach that ideal rating, it’s time to start reaching for the stars (literally).

The first step to getting more positive customer reviews is simple. Give customers a five-star experience that translates to a five-star review. If you know you’ve got that perfected but still aren’t seeing the reviews roll in, be proactive. Ask your customers for reviews. There’s no shame in that game. In fact, 77% of consumers are willing to leave an online review if asked.

Try to reach out after positive moments along the customer journey and ask open-ended questions with genuine interest. That way you can gauge how satisfied they are as a customer before you ask for a review. As an added benefit to this approach, you’ll receive real customer feedback you can use to improve your business—yielding more positive reviews in the future.

4. Engage with the good, the bad and the ugly

Consumers aren’t just reading reviews, 89% of them also read businesses’ responses to reviews. So make sure you join the conversation and engage with the good, the bad and the ugly. According to a Google study, consumers said that businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7x more trustworthy than businesses who don’t. Additionally, Google has confirmed that response rate is just one more factor that affects the all-important search ranking.

Bright Local GraphIn a perfect world, you’d only have glowing, rave reviews about how your business is the best of the best. In reality, you’re bound to come across at least one negative Nancy. Fear not! You can’t control what reviewers say, but you can control how and when you respond. Depending on the content, there may be opportunities to address inaccurate or misleading information and demonstrate your company’s values. If necessary, take accountability, make it right with your customer and help them make the best decision for themselves. Showing that you care in an authentic, personable way goes a long way. A recent study found that of customers who received a response to their negative review, 33 percent changed their review to be more positive, while another 34 percent deleted their negative review.

5. Unify social media and review management with Sprout Social

With Sprout’s Reviews tool, you can easily monitor, manage and respond to reviews for all your business locations across Facebook, Google My Business and Trip Advisor from one centralized stream. When you integrate social media and reviews in one platform, you can save valuable time, easily analyze what your business is doing well or where there’s room for improvement and build a more cohesive and efficient review management strategy.

Stay focused by organizing reviews by date, message status, rating and profile across networks and locations. Based on your business’s needs, you may also want to use specific filter sets to create custom views. For instance, if you’re working on surpassing four stars, consider creating a view of reviews with three stars or lower. This will help you narrow in on any pain points that come up and focus on customer care where it’s needed most.

3 stars or fewerIf you notice recurring keywords, sentiment or themes in your reviews, consider using Sprout’s Listening tool to continue monitoring those trends and gain insights that will help you make better marketing decisions.

Interested in building better connections with Google My Business? Click here. To get started with Reviews, connect your profiles for Facebook, GMB or TripAdvisor in Sprout today—or click here to begin your free trial.

Building a Better Reputation with Reviews

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Marketers are still asking, what is B2B influencer marketing? Here’s a definition I’ve been using over the past 5 years or so:

B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable business goals.

As the groundswell around influencer marketing rises and becomes a normal part of the B2B marketing mix, the volume of information and misinformation on the topic also increases.

One of the most popular questions people also ask about B2B influencer marketing focuses on what makes a good business influencer? By now we all know that popularity alone does not make someone influential. It’s certainly important, it's just not the only thing.

As B2B marketers mature in their understanding of the role influence plays and how the dynamic of brand content co-created with industry experts plays out with customers, they begin to realize that other factors matter. Topical relevance matters of course as well as resonance of the topic amongst an influencer’s community.

B2B Marketing Influencers

The intersection of individual expertise, how well that expertise resonates with followers and the size of network creates a baseline of characteristics when evaluating whether a certain influencer might be a match.

But there’s more than that. Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.

Some people reading this might think that influencer marketing isn’t the magic pill some are playing it up to be. There’s a reason for that, because it’s not magic. It’s more like alchemy.

The reality is, there’s no one formula for the perfect B2B influencer, but there are some common characteristics that B2B brands should look for in varying proportions according to what’s important to a program or activation. I call those characteristics:

The 5 Ps of B2B Influence

Proficiency - In B2B marketing, the vast majority of those considered influential possess deep expertise in the field they work in. This is a significant difference from many B2C influencers who are often self proclaimed as influential with clever media creation skills.

As B2C influencer content and engagement tactics evolve, some are crossing over into B2B with a trickle of opportunists successfully creating influence amongst B2B audiences not solely for their expertise, but for a combination of adept social media content creation skills and some expertise. B2B marketers who do their due diligence will be able to filter accordingly.

Popularity - While network size is not the only thing, nor is it the most important thing, it is definitely a metric to consider. Some marketers swing in the direction of ignoring audience size altogether because of lower engagement rates with popular influencers. This is simply foolish. All things being the same, I’ll take 2% engagement of an influencer with a million followers over 2% from someone that has 1,000 followers.

What matters is how network size factors in with the type of influencer you need. For example, popular influencers aka “brandividuals” are often best for top of funnel content. Niche domain expert influencers are better for middle and end of funnel content. Engaging a brandividual and expecting conversions is just naive.

Personality - If you’ve worked in B2C influencer marketing and been exposed to all the characters there, B2B is going to seem a bit dry. Now there are some colorful characters in the B2B influencer community, no doubt. But personality is often a trait that needs to be uncovered when you’re working with some types of business influencers.

The good news is that savvy influencer marketing practitioners know how to plant the seeds that can grow and blossom within an otherwise introverted influencer. You don’t need them to be a colorful character, ripe with personality per se, but you do want them to connect with the passion they have with their craft and how their expertise can help others be successful.

Publishing - Content is the media that conveys the ideas of influence and while B2B influencers are not expected to produce the same types and quantity of content as in B2C, it is ideal when there’s a platform where the influencer publishes. At a minimum, that would be social networks but to be a B2B influencer, it’s most likely that also includes articles contributed to publications if not research, books and presentations.

Promotion - The value a B2B influencer brings beyond adding expertise and credibility to brand content is the ability to share what they helped create with their network. Trust of brand content is at a low, especially with advertising. Customers yearn for authentic content and the right kind of influencer collaboration can give them that, delivered via the influencer’s own distribution channels. That means social networks for course but also potentially blogs, email newsletters, podcast, LinkedIn Live, contributed articles or columns in industry publications.

I know some people reading this are thinking there could be even more P’s like being Prolific, Persuasive or Passion. Yes, there could be so many more but we have to draw the line somewhere! It's important to be able to manage the data and insights necessary to factor these characteristics into selection, qualification and engagement.

Some of these traits will not fully reveal themselves until you work with an influencer on a few content activations. Others will fluctuate over time and that is normal. It's important to understand that influence is a temporal thing. It is not fixed or permanent. It’s important marketers realize that before they disengage an influencer in the short term due to lower performance. The same goes for high expectations after great performance.

Organic influencer engagement is a little dynamic and what you don’t spend on paid influencers like an ad buy you will (in part) need to invest in relationship management, education and even tips that will help the influencers be more effective.

B2B brands with high influencer churn or low performance often apply “ad buy” perspectives to a what is actually a relationship driven effort. Mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, so think about the 5Ps as you evaluate and nurture your influencer community. Consider where of each your ideal influencers need to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you have in mind.

When there’s 5P alignment, there's happiness: for customers, influencers and your B2B brand.

The post 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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