Ninety-seven percent of consumers go online to search for local business information (BIA/Kelsey). What they learn determines whether or not they’ll become customers.

It’s essential for businesses to have way to monitor their online reputation and a plan to keep it in good shape if they want to survive in today’s social driven business environment.

Businesses have always had to manage their reputation.  What’s changed is the medium, the speed that information is created and the number of people that have instant access to that information.

A business’s reputation used to be what a business said about itself – especially in their advertising messages coupled with the limited reach of word-of-mouth.

Now, customers literally define businesses by providing real time feedback on review sites, social media, online forums and other digital channels.

Managing a beneficial online reputation can be a very time-consuming project.  You can use people, software or services to reduce the time it takes, but however you do it, maintaining a positive online presence is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make.

Of course, one of the most mital aspects of managing any online reputation is acquiring, monitoring, responding to and amplifying online reviews.

Reputation management solutions allow businesses to take control of their online reputation by allowing them to correct their listings and location data, monitor and manage online reviews, and observe how competitors are doing in local search (among other capabilities).

Here are the nuts and bolts of what reputation management solutions provide:

  • Review monitoring – trigger alerts when reviews are submitted on popular review sites, such
    as Facebook and Google, as well as sites that are relevant to specific industries (e.g., TripAdvisor,
    RateMD, etc.).
  • Review generation – gather new reviews from delighted customers and ensure that negative
    reviews stay private.
  • Advanced listening – find mentions from news sites, blogs and social networks to get the full
    picture of what people are saying about a business.
  • Competitor insights – monitor what the competition is saying and how they’re performing in
    local search, then build strategies to outrank them.
  • Web presence monitoring – view the accuracy of business listing data across the web on all major
    directories and citations. Listings are crucial to making sure people can find businesses on search engines.

Here are 50 stats that show how important online reputation management is to a business’s online presence:

1. 58% of executives believe that online reputation management should be addressed, but only 15% actually do anything about it

2. 84% of marketers believe that building trust will be the primary focus for marketing efforts in the future

3. More and more large companies are hiring full-time online reputation managers

4. Four out of five people state that they have received advice via social media regarding what product or service to purchase

5. 31% of employed internet users have searched online for information about co-workers, professionals, colleagues or business competitors

6. 12% of employed adults say that they need to market themselves online as part of their job

7. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertising

8. According to a study by the world Economic Forum, on average, more than 25% of a company’s market value is directly attributable to its reputation

9. 76% of companies believe their reputation is better than average—a stat that just might illustrate many companies are overly optimistic about the state of affairs regarding their online presence

10. 87% of executives rate managing reputation risk as more important than other strategic risks

11. Customers are the most important stakeholders when it comes to managing reputation management

12. 41% of companies that experienced a negative reputation event reported loss of brand value and revenue

13. 74% of people consult Yelp when looking for a home service provider

14. 86% of people would pay more for services from a company with higher ratings and reviews

15. 70% of employers didn’t hire an applicant because of online content

16. 85% of customers use the Internet to research before making a purchase

17. 80% of college admission offices are using Facebook to assess and recruit applicants

18. A one-star rating hike on Yelp can mean a 5% to 9% rise in restaurant revenue

19. 83% of buyers no longer trust advertising, but most trust recommendations from users online

20. Among U.S. recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 85% say that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions at least to some extent. Nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent

21. 45% said they have found something in an online search that made them decide not to do business with someone

22. 56% have found something that solidified their decision to do business with the person

23. 88% of adults agree or strongly agree that it would be very difficult to remove inaccurate information about them online

24. 62% of adults have used a search engine to look up their own name or see what information about them is online

25. 47% say they generally assume that people they meet will search for information about them on the internet, while 50% do not

26. Only 6% of adults have set up some sort of automatic alert to notify them when their name is mentioned in a news story, blog or elsewhere online

27. 24% of employed adults say that their employer has rules or guidelines about how they are allowed to present themselves online

28. 11% say that their job requires them to promote themselves through social media or other online tools

29. Every month there are more than 10.3 billion Google searches, with 78% of U.S. internet users researching products and services online

30. 50% of potential sales are lost because consumers can’t find information they are looking for

31. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, on average a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience, while around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people

32. In the 25-34-year-old age group, 84% have left a website they previously liked because of bad user experience or advertising they found irrelevant

33. 89% of shoppers have stopped buying from online stores after they have experienced poor customer service

34. 17% of consumers would recommend a brand that provides a slow but effective solution. On the other hand, 33% of consumers would recommend a brand that provides a quick but ineffective response

35. 70% of complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favour

36. Consumers aged 18 to 29 use a brand’s social media site more for customer service interactions (43%) than for marketing (23%)

37. 74% of consumers depend on social media to guide their purchases

38. 39% of Facebook users like brand pages so they can research different products

39. 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a transaction if the shopping experience is not optimized for mobile

40. 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience

41. 70% of customers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than advertisements

42. 84% of all marketers agree that building consumer trust will become marketing’s primary objective in the near future

43. More than 80% of reputation damage come from a mismatch between the buzz and the reality

44. A difference of one star in the average rating in a typical online business profile can lead to a 5–9% difference in revenues

45. 56% adults surveyed don’t actively think about the consequences of their online activities

46. 94% of people only look at the first page of Google results, and only 2% of people own their entire first page of Google

47. More than one billion names are searched on Google everyday

48. Eight of 10 Internet users in the US say that the negative information read online made them change their mind about a purchasing decision

49. The searches done with the intent to find a company providing a specific product or service is 17%

50. Small businesses say online directories are the most used marketing option today

Stats are sourced from: Life experience solutions, Deloitte, Expertise, crocodiledigital, Job Hunt org, denverpost, pewinternet, webbiquity, Online Marketing Institute, yokellocal, Receiptful, business2community, digital-and-online-reputation-management, pcmag, BrandYourself, YahooMarketingDashboard

A company’s reputation should be managed like a priceless asset and protected as if it’s a matter of life and death, because from a business and career perspective, that’s exactly what it is (Deloitte).

Whether it be people we know or businesses with negative reviews and ratings by angry customers, your reputation on the Internet today is very discoverable. Therefore, online reputation management is crucial to the success of every person and every business.