Why is your online reputation important?
Posted on by experian
Estimated read time: 4 mins
Reputation before the internet
Firstly, we’re going to rewind back to the days before the internet. The reputation of your business was based mostly, if not solely, on word-of-mouth. Comments and feedback from your customers, clients and suppliers would eventually work their way back to you, where you’d take them on board and try to work with them, and that’s pretty much how you managed your reputation.
Reputation with the internet
Nowadays things are different. Using the likes of social media, review sites and more, people tend to spread their opinions online, for all to see. Of course, word-of-mouth isn’t redundant. The possible reach of online commentary, however, far exceeds that of word-of-mouth, and therefore it’s clear to see how important it is to not only understand your online reputation, but to manage it as well.
Your reputation may be online, even if your business isn’t
Even if you don’t necessarily have an established online presence yourself, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have an online reputation. When you’re in an unfamiliar area for example and you’re looking for a place to eat, you’d probably get your phone out and take a look at the local places on a map, then you’d maybe try to find reviews and such and see what others had to say about their experiences. You’d maybe opt to steer away from those with bad reviews or even no reviews at all as you want a decent meal, at a decent price, with the service you’d expect.
Your reputation sells
People will likely look at online reputation before making purchasing decisions for a vast array of goods and services. Whether using a search engine to find ‘reviews on x’, or locating the social media accounts belonging to a business, prior research is strikingly common. People probably aren’t going to want to buy from anywhere with overwhelmingly negative reviews, or to spin this around, they’re going to want to buy from the places with the best reviews. If a company has no reviews at all, then that isn’t necessarily a bad business of course, but typically, if a prospective customer is concerned enough about reputation to be conducting a search in the first instance, it’d potentially be reasonable to assume that having some reviews online could potentially influence their purchasing decisions.
So, there we have it. Your online reputation is clearly of importance, and it’s potentially online, even if you aren’t. People can try to seek out your reputation before buying from you or entering into contracts with you, so it matters. If there’s no information online about your business, then whilst this may not necessarily be damaging in itself, it means that your brand may not be getting the same coverage as your competitors.
Your reputation can be scored
The reputation score of your business is a measure of your business’s online reputation, which is calculated through a combination of your online customer reviews, as well as your overall online presence. For example, how well do you appear in search engine results and is your business listed accurately in all online directories?