What is your brand’s reputation?
Understanding how your brand resonates among consumers, employees and stakeholders is essential to building a business that engenders trust, compels action and performs beyond expectations.
Here’s a closer look at what brand reputation is, why it’s so important and 6 ways you can score your brand reputation and put your best foot forward on the web.
What is brand reputation?
Brand reputation is the image your company generates in the hearts and minds of customers, employees, partners and stakeholders across the web. There are numerous factors that go into, reinforce and impact your brand reputation, including anything from online reviews and consumer complaint forums to news articles, your social presence, visibility in search results and more.
Putting together a clearer picture of your brand reputation means considering the role each factor plays in shaping and defining your online image—as well as how all come together to cultivate the impression you’re making throughout the public sphere. Knowing how you’re perceived and which actions you’re compelling among consumers is a crucial first step in brand reputation management and seizing control over your online narrative.
Why is brand reputation important?
Brand reputation and image may seem intangible, but their quality and reach have a very real impact on how consumers react to and interact with your business. Your brand’s reputation is what ultimately inspires and instills trust among your target audience, turns casual interactions into paying customers and provides the foundation on which to build customer loyalty and position yourself as a viable competitor in the future.
Business reputation is central to brand-customer interaction. And the stronger it is, the more effective it becomes at facilitating that engagement and nudging customers closer to the point of purchase.
Not only that, but a good online rep can be a powerful buffer against bad reviews, harmful press and other negative mentions, mitigating their impact and ensuring you can manage online crises more effectively.
So, exactly how important is your online brand reputation? Well…
Very important. How you look online matters, in large part because:
- Over 90% of consumers now go online to find your local business (33% each day!)
- Nearly 65% of online shoppers trust what they see in search results (almost 2 out of 3!)
- 93% of consumers consider your review presence before taking the next step
- 3 of 4 consumer purchasing decisions are influenced by info found on social media
Not only does your online brand reputation have a direct and immediate effect on your bottom line, it can also impact your ability to attract and retain the best talent, with a bad reputation increasing costs by 10% or more per hire over the long-term.
What’s more: the professional community is paying attention, with more than 97% of business owners now holding brand reputation management up as an important, if not essential, part of doing business in the modern era.
Boiled down, your efforts to earn consumer trust, cultivate brand loyalty and assemble an effective workforce hinge on the quality and extent of your brand reputation. And once you know how to quantify that image, you’re in a much better position to enable growth and your own success.
How do you measure brand reputation?
Gauging how your reputation fares among consumers, competitors and across your field typically requires a thorough analysis of what your brand stands for and how its engaging customers at each point in the buyer’s journey. Identifying stakeholder sentiment and levels of engagement across critical areas of the web can provide a solid starting point for a brand reputation management strategy that sharpens and strengthens your competitive edge.
6 ways to score your brand reputation online
Here are 6 ways to calculate your brand reputation score and start building a reputation that inspires interaction:
#1 Shop and compare on consumer review sites
When it comes to brand reputation, few things get as much hype and attention as consumer reviews. And for good reason: consumer review sites are everywhere, giving users no end of choices to research your brand and make a judgment about your company right on the spot.
Combine the number of review platforms out there with a voracious public appetite for consumer reviews (the average consumer now combs through 10 reviews before trusting your business)—as well as the high level of trust people put in them (91% believe them as much as personal recommendations)—and you have an invaluable tool for scoring customer sentiment and measuring the impression your brand is making across the web.
Taking stock of your consumer review presence means collecting and examining reviews on popular review and ratings platforms, those with the highest level of traffic and online visibility.
Here are some of the best places to start:
- Google My Business
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
- Yahoo! Local
- Trip Advisor
- Yellow Pages
- And more
Once you know where and how you’re getting the online review treatment—particularly on high-trafficked sites like Google My Business and Amazon—you can begin to quantify a core component of brand reputation, one with a direct and meaningful impact on what customers and prospects think about your company.
And with a more defined review score in proper perspective, you can develop a clearer review management strategy that drives ratings higher and delivers tangible bottom-line results to your business.
Customer reviews matter: A recent survey found 94% of consumers will avoid businesses with bad online reviews. Another survey discovered positive customer reviews to have a significant impact on consumer trust and brand credibility.
#2 Learn how employees are rating your business
Consumer review sites have a powerful influence on consumer decision-making and brand reputation. But what about employee review forums? What influence do worker reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed have on your company’s rep and, ultimately, your ability to build a successful business?
As it turns out, quite a lot.
A survey from Indeed found a whopping 83% of job seekers choose to apply to your firm based primarily on employee reviews, while more than half of job candidates read through employee reviews at some point in the hiring process. And of the more than 60 million who currently enjoy membership on Glassdoor, over 46% will weigh past reviews before returning your call or even speaking with a hiring professional.
With so many professionals using employee review sites to gauge your reputation, a thorough assessment of your business presence on Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably and Kununu is a crucial, if not indispensable piece, of the reputation scoring puzzle. Adding up and analyzing your employee review footprint provides invaluable insight not only into your staff and current work environment, but the impression you’re making on the talented professionals you need to compete and thrive in your industry.
Neglecting employee ratings when designing your brand reputation monitoring strategy is done at your own peril.
Reputation and recruiting: Over a third of professionals will turn down a job offer after finding bad reviews of your company.
#3 Have a look at local search pages
Are you connecting with a local audience? Examining how you rank for local search queries can be instructional for understanding your brand’s reach throughout the local community, as well as how your image stacks up against others in your area—those vying for recognition in crucial but often overcrowded digital real estate.
Let’s say you specialize in auto maintenance. Conducting searches like “transmission repair near me” and “local oil changes” can provide an informative snapshot into how you look when local consumers search your services, a stark but effective way to evaluate your online visibility across relevant local SERPs (search engine results pages).
Not only that, but scoring your brand reputation and awareness for local search terms can help isolate and address any negatives—bad consumer reviews, ratings, articles—hurting your image and scaring prospects away from your business at a critical point in the buyer’s journey.
Local search is a bigger part of Google search volume than ever (nearly 1 out of every 2 searches is for a local business), with “near me” and other local queries growing in popularity every year. Knowing how your brand rates on local SERPs is essential to building a brand reputation management strategy that optimizes your online presence.
Get local: 92% of users choose local businesses that show up on the first-page search results. Of those who search local companies on mobile, nearly 9 of 10 will interact with a local brand within 24 hours.
#4 Search your brand
When it comes to brand reputation, few things match the influence or impact of Google’s first page. In fact, more than 75% of searchers never go beyond those initial 10 results, giving extra weight to whatever items pop up first when consumers look up your business.
And while that may not be giving consumers an accurate or fair reflection of your company, it can provide you a powerful way to zero in on brand perception—and gauge that ever-important first impression that so often makes or breaks a business online.
Searching your brand name offers an in-depth look at what is essentially your company’s online resume: the links, mentions, reviews and articles prospects find first and refer to most when determining your brand’s worth. Noting the quality of these results (# of positive vs. # of negative) and where each mention ranks in relation to one another (search position) can provide a better sense of what’s shaping first impressions and what’s likely driving interactions (good or bad) with your firm.
And because Google’s algorithm accounts for elements like user interaction, keyword placement, content quality, domain authority and relevance when ranking items in search, you can perform a more in-depth, result-by-result analysis to better understand what’s buoying each item’s position on the first page—and build a content marketing strategy that gets your own assets traction across branded search results.
Think bigger: Longer content tends to perform better in on branded search pages, with the average first-page result containing 1,890 words.
#5 Add up results for long-tail search terms
Now that you’ve measured performance for local and branded search, it’s time to see how your brand reputation scores for long-tail search phrases, those online consumers use to find specific answers—and which are key to outranking and outperforming the competition.
While it’s true that long-tail keywords (generally 3-5 words) get less search traffic than more commonly searched phrases, they also tend to have a much higher value in terms of brand impact and conversion. In other words, long-tail searches are far likelier to result in transactions than broader industry phrases.
Knowing how you rank and look across long-tail search pages is essential not only to designing a more potent brand reputation management campaign, but also to building a brand that delivers specific, valuable information to a highly motivated audience—people at a critical stage in the sales funnel.
For instance, if you were running an auto repair shop, it might be wise to score how your brand not for terms like “transmission repair” or “oil changes,” but for long-tails like “best transmission repair 2020” or “how long do oil changes take,”—focused terms prospects may be using to find your service or take that crucial next step.
And once you’ve evaluated your presence for specific, relatively uncompetitive search queries, you can begin to adapt your content strategy and improve your position in places that can really benefit your brand and bottom line.
Scoring your rep in long-tail search: Keyword research tools like Google Search Console, Moz, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and others can help narrow your search for long-tails affecting your brand reputation the most—as well as ideas for building content and directing more high-quality traffic to your website.
#6 Assess your social
It’s hard to deny social media’s significant, even oversized influence on brand reputation. And if you’re at all serious about estimating your brand reputation score, a hard look at your company’s social presence is a must.
Consider the following:
- 5 billion people across the world now use social every day.
- More than half of social browsers use social sites to research products
- Consumers are 71% more likely to buy from brands referred on social media
- 8 of 10 consumers engage with brands on social regularly
The evidence is clear: customers are using social platforms more than ever to engage, research and discuss your brand. And by carefully evaluating brand awareness and recognition on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, you’re not only taking steps to dissect and understand that interaction (or to simply collect the likes, shares and mentions surrounding your brand), but also gathering the social intelligence needed to optimize brand engagement, capitalize on positive trends and position your brand as an authority in your fie
With a thorough, data-driven analysis of your brand’s social presence—and a comprehensive, customized social media monitoring solution tracking your progress—you can better understand the quantity and quality of sentiment you’re generating across major social platforms, putting your brand’s reach and reputation score into sharper focus.
Be more social: A strong social presence can have numerous advantages for your brand, affording multiple opportunities to collect feedback, enhance brand visibility, market new products and direct more traffic to your site.