At one point or another, your business could experience a PR nightmare.
It has happened even to the biggest and most established names. Pepsi received flak with their ad featuring Kendall Jenner. Dove’s Facebook ad was labeled racist even when it was anything but.
Then, there’s the matter of consumers’ trust being heavily dependent on customer reviews. 75% of them would trust a company that has positive reviews, while 60% of them say they wouldn’t do business with a company that has negative reviews.
But consumer reviews are out of your hands. People will say something if they want to and the internet has provided them with plenty of platforms to use to voice out their sentiments, positive or otherwise.
This is where tracking of critical online reputation metrics come into play. It’s the one activity that will help you establish an online reputation that will not be easily shaken down with a few negative reviews or a PR scandal.
The Need to Manage Online Reputation
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” — Warren Buffett, Investor & Philanthropist
Just think about it:
You invested years of effort and hard work to build positive awareness about your brand. Then, it takes more time and effort to maintain that good reputation. One negative review and it could go down the drain.
You might rank high in SERPs. Your website is awesome. But if a prospect searches and finds your brand with reviews or comments like:
They would think twice.
What’s more, 90% of consumers say that user-generated content can influence their buying decisions.
So, what do you do?
Generate awesome new consumer reviews. Engage, respond, and share positive comments from happy customers. In short, strengthen your brand’s reputation and make it unimpeachable.
This is what online reputation management is all about. Today, we’re going to talk about the most crucial KPIs to track and measure the success of your online reputation management program.
Key Online Reputation Metrics You Should Track
1. Online Reviews Volume and Quality
Monitoring your online reputation management program starts with ensuring that you see an increase in the volume of consumer reviews along with a higher average rating.
Online reviews are social proof that prospects and potential buyers use to determine if your products or services will meet their needs. Most consumers are looking for high volumes of reviews since it makes an organization look credible and reliable.
If you’re seeing an improvement in the quality and quantity of your online reviews, then you’re on the right track.
Take note that while online reviews can greatly help attract new customers, they are also a positive indicator that can help retain the business of your existing customers. So, take special care to respond to both negative and positive reviews in order to encourage customer interaction. This is also a good way to better understand how to improve customer experience.
Other key metrics that can measure your online reputation include:
- Leads or referrals from review sites
- Overall customer sentiment
- Website traffic from social media platforms and organic search
2. Web Traffic
Web traffic is another essential KPI to measure the effectiveness of your online reputation management efforts. In particular, you should look into these metrics:
- Traffic sources
- Number of unique, new, or returning visitors
- Interaction per visits
- Bounce rate
- Value per visit
- Exit pages
You can conveniently and easily monitor these metrics with tools such as Google Analytics.
As to how you can drive traffic to your website, the key is to start a blog that resonates with your audience and provide value to them. If the information you provide solves their pain points, expect them to keep coming back for more, and share your content to extend your reach.
Blogs have also been know to influence a customer’s buying decisions. According to statistics, 47% of consumers go through three to five blog posts before deciding to buy a product or service. This is just another great reason to start a blog.
3. Conversion Metrics
Other than looking at online reviews, another goal of a good reputation management campaign should be to build a lifelong relationship with your consumers.
Growing your small business, regardless of which idea or niche it came from, is not just about obtaining new customers. It is about converting them and making them advocates for your brand.
If you’re focusing on customer experience and are currently meeting their expectations, then you should have strong support from your audience and community. However, if you’re struggling with your customer base, then you need to measure advocacy and loyalty.
In order to do this, you will need to measure the current impact of your brand advocates as well as identify highly satisfied customers who can help share positive information about your business.
Your KPIs for customer conversion and making them your advocates include:
- Positive comments in public or third-party review sites or directories
- Social listening metrics or the number of brand advocates
- Customer engagement metrics on your social channels and website
- The volume of customer reviews on social platforms.
4. Google PageRank
PageRank is Google’s link-analysis algorithm. It is used to assign a numerical measurement for the “relative importance” of your website or webpages.
This is why it is one of the important metrics for SEO experts. However, if you are keen on managing your online reputation, then you also need to utilize this data.
PageRank offers an indication of how many inbound links from your site originated from authority sites. So, basically, the more popular, respected, authoritative, and trustworthy your brand or business is, the higher the PageRank.
Although you shouldn’t rely solely on PageRank for measuring your online reputation, it is an important tool to find out where exactly you are on the PageRank scale. It will also provide you with ideas and ways to improve.
5. Subscriptions + Bookmarks
Just like PageRank, bookmarks are also an indicator of how many people trust your business or brand. Internet users, after all, tend to bookmark a website or page if they find it helpful or useful. The same is true if they think it has something worthwhile to revisit once in a while.
Now, when a user gets to your website by using the bookmark, web analytic tools will see that as direct web traffic. As a proxy, if the direct traffic numbers of your site are increasing, then it generally means that more people are visiting your brand.
The same goes for a subscription. Only a few people, if any, will subscribe to a brand or business with a bad reputation. So, if you’re seeing an increase in your subscribers, then it means that people want to be closer to your brand and are looking forward to whatever new offers you have.
6. Social Reach
Social media is an excellent platform for monitoring and measuring your online reputation. Social reach refers to the number of people who might have seen or come across your brand and all its relevant content on social platforms.
Social reach as a brand reputation metric shows how popular your business is in the sense of how many individuals and other businesses it reaches.
If you have a high reach, then it indicates that there are some social media profiles with a large following talking about your business such as industry media or influencers.
For instance, the number of people who follow or like your Facebook page can show how many users are ready and willing to know your brand or business more. The same can be said about your following on Instagram and Twitter.
7. Sentiment Analysis
This KPI deals with the computational treatment of sentiment, opinion, and subjectivity in text. To be fair, though, it will take time before sentiment analysis can be used widely.
This is because most of the technologies for sentiment analysis are having difficulty in dealing with irony, sarcasm, contrastive conjunction, and slang terms.
Although it may have its weakness, sentiment analysis can still provide tremendous value for your online reputation management. You only need to forgive and forget, manually filtering out the irrelevant pieces of text.
For one, sentiment analysis can help point out the weaknesses of your brand, be it service or product-wise. Similarly, it can emphasize the strengths of your brand and show you what customers value the most.
8. Share of Voice
This is one of the most popular PR & online reputation management metrics, particularly for an in-depth analysis of your social reputation. Share of voice refers to the number of conversations about your business, divided by the number of conversations about the industry you’re in.
It is also an indicator of popularity. Share of voice illustrates just how much of a conversation within your niche, service, product, or industry revolves around your brands. In short, it expresses percentages. It depicts the awareness and popularity of a brand in the minds of consumers.
9. “Offline” KPIs
Although measuring your impact online should be your priority, there are also plenty of “offline” KPIs that you should track to measure the true value and ROI of your reputation management campaign.
For instance, increasing customer retention or reducing customer churn, is far more crucial to your brand than how many online reviews you publish on your social media accounts.
Also, as a marketer or a customer experience manager, you want to ensure that your efforts have a downstream impact that you want and that you are not just measuring the vanity metrics.
So, when evaluating the value and impact of your efforts, make sure to look at these online reputation metrics in order to identify and determine if you’re really getting results.
- Net promoter score
- Estimated market share
- CLV or Customer lifetime value
- Word-of-mouth customer referrals
- Customer satisfaction surveys, both the number and quality of responses
With improvements in your offline KPIs, you can expect business growth from your online reputation management campaign.
There is nothing more important than measuring online reputation and constantly offering value to your customers to keep it positive. Using the KPIs mentioned above will help you turn it into a sustainable venture. You can easily determine areas where you need to improve to strengthen your customers’ experience while also attracting new customers to your business. By focusing on the right online management KPIs, you can better engage with customers and expect higher ROI.
Cover photo by Jud Mackrill