With unbelievable advancements in technology and its growing ease of use, every random person and business today, can conjure up a seemingly reliable online presence. So, how does a consumer make up their mind? How do they know, for sure, who to trust? This is where things like reviews and other social proofs walk into the picture. In other words, you need a solid reputation online if you want to convert first-time buyers into lasting, loyal consumers.
That means, just like your other preferred tools of marketing, you need to embrace the trendiest options for your Online Reputation Management. And what could be trendier than sophisticated AI that makes things way easier, faster and effective?
Reputation is Everything, And Consumers Trust the Internet
It is no secret that consumers value transparency and ethical business practices all the time. These are especially important when they are trying to decide which brands to trust and how much to trust them. That is why reputation is estimated to be worth 25% of a company’s total market value.
Ratings and Reviews: The Key to Online Reputation Management
Did you know?
- Over 90% of online shoppers refuse to buy any product that has a rating below 3.
- 94% of consumers read online reviews before considering a purchase.
- Over 50% of consumers will only trust businesses that have a minimum of 4 stars on Google.
Basically, consumers are likely to form an opinion of you even before you have had a chance to provide them with great service. All thanks to the ease of publishing and having access to online reviews and ratings- two major components of your online reputation. It is because consumers trust the internet so much that you should be very particular about your ORM- Online Reputation Management. And the key areas of focus should be organic ratings and reviews. Why? Let’s take a look at some more data.
- 78% consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 68% of consumers are likely to visit a local business after reading a significant number of positive reviews.
- 90% of consumers make use of the internet to compare prices, brands and their reliability for every purchase they have in mind.
It is more interesting to note that 89% of consumers also look for replies when they are reading the reviews. After all, they need to know how well a particular negative review or problem was handled by the business after an issue was raised.
Reputation and SEO
Ratings can influence search results to a great extent, thereby affecting the rankings in search. For example, when looking for a store or service, about 69% of internet users turn to a search engine.
So, if good reputation can quickly distinguish you from your competitors and drive up sales, bad reviews can hamper your business to the SEO level. This happens mostly when too many bad reviews prevent your business from popping up in search results, technically rendering you invisible. Result? Drop in sales, loss of goodwill and ultimately, loss of major consumer traffic.
Online Reputation Management and AI
The buzz around artificial intelligence may sound new but the concept has been around longer than you would imagine. Discussed under different guises and contexts, the idea of machines being able to mimic human intelligence can be dated back to the 1950s. The major breakthrough in AI technology came about in 2008 with Google’s speech recognition feature. Since then, there have been computers beating humans at their own game, emergence of driverless cars, robots learning to dance and the whole virtual reality arena. The rate at which AI is progressing now is the most awe-inspiring in all time. That, precisely, is the reason why it needs to be incorporated into every Online Reputation Management strategy in 2020.
Major Challenges in Online Reputation Management
Having emphasized how crucial ORM is for a business, brings us to understanding why it is not as easy as it sounds. First of all, let’s admit for a fact that reputation management of kind is difficult. There could be a multitude of reasons behind it. While 50% of business cannot manage the right amount of time for their ORM, about 44% lack the software to get desired results. Also,
- 76% businesses struggle with getting authentic reviews. It can be a time-taking task to encourage real customers to give their feedback.
- 35% businesses struggle with deciding the most important sites and pages that they need to focus on.
- Getting an overview of reviews across multiple platforms is another challenge.
- 1 in 5 brands also struggle with replying to queries and negative reviews.
- Despite their best efforts, only 35% of consumers actually get the response that they expect.
Is AI the Magic Wand that wipes off all the Challenges?
In order to repair your online reputation, you need to focus on three key areas: Search engine results, online reviews and online customer service. Public responses to customers speak a lot about an organization or brand. And if you are not actively looking after your ORM, you might be gradually losing a major chunk of your consumer base. So, how does Artificial Intelligence play a crucial role here?
Better Reviews and Better Responses
AI Helps you in being “Found”
Better Information and Insights
You can use AI to automatically prompt users to write a feedback after they make a purchase. There is no need for manual follow-up processes as your AI software takes care of it in the form of emails and other messages. In addition to that, AI can actually help convert negative reviews into positive feedback. Studies have shown that after receiving a response to a bad brand or product review, 34% of the customers tend to replace their statement with a positive one. By using AI, the response-time can be shortened thereby also reducing the duration for which a bad review remains visible online.
It is predicted that by the year 2020, 25% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI. Facial and voice recognition technology will also witness further advancement. These seemingly simple changes in Artificial Intelligence can bring in immense benefit to companies who embrace these technologies sooner.
Recently, there have been fascinating advancements in chat bots and voice activated searches. Both of these are a form of Artificial Intelligence each. So, if your Online Reputation Management strategy in 2020 takes voice search optimization into account, you are already one step ahead of those competitors who are only focusing on traditional SEO optimization.
Basically, you need to know how to be “found” even when users are turning to voice search. The increase in voice search has far-reaching business impacts. First, users opting for voice search are seeking quick, on-the-go results unlike an overload of information that is common with text search results. Second, there are multiple voice search related areas where you can focus: voice activated devices, Google’s answer box, digital assistants etc. You can make use of all of these opportunities to optimize your location data, cultivate organic reviews and manage high level marketing. In short, voice search can make it easier to improve your online reputation management.
AI has the ability to scan all your digital presence on the web and come up with insights based on data trends and consumer sentiment relevant to your business. Social media, review sites and your own landing page are just a few areas where AI can begin working its magic. This data can then help streamline your ORM strategies in a more efficient manner.
The Bottom Line
It takes time and skills to manage your company’s online reputation. While it may be overwhelming, it is not something you can afford to ignore. You need to remember that it is impossible to escape reviews and other aspects that contribute to your online reputation. It is, therefore, wiser to ensure that all of those aspects can be turned in your favor most of the time. AI can be of immense help here with its immediate response quality, information indexing and automatic prompts that also help you get closer to your consumer base.