Managing Your Online Reputation
Customer feedback. It can be an excellent resource or the bane of your existence as a business owner. Love them or not, however, online customer reviews have the power to sway potential customers and clients and it’s in your best interest to pay attention and deal with them proactively. Managing your online reputation on sites like Yelp and Google My Business is today's reality and one that every business owner should take seriously.
Reputation management can be a great tool when it’s done consistently and proactively. When you take time to monitor and manage your online reviews, it gives you great control over how your business is perceived in the digital landscape. As you become more proficient with reputation management, you will find that it will help you attract even more business and customer confidence.
The New Word of Mouth
Before the internet, we relied on friends and family, i.e. word of mouth, to offer suggestions about businesses to frequent and products to use. But now we can get those recommendations and opinions from hundreds of online users. How important are these reviews?
Consider these eye-opening survey responses from Brightlocal.com:
- 93% of respondents said they used the internet to find a local business in the past year.
- 87% of respondents said they read online reviews for local businesses
- 76% of respondents said they trusted online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- Only 48% of respondents would consider using a business with less than a 4-star rating
- 72% of respondents had written a review for a local business
- 20% of respondents expected to get a response from their review within 24 hours
Bottom line: the importance of online reviews should never be underestimated. In most cases, these are local customers who are comparing you directly to your competition. No reviews or negative reviews that go unacknowledged, and your potential customers or clients may go elsewhere.
How to Handle Your Online Reputation
While there is little you can do to control what your customers write, you have full control of how you handle it. There are some simple, easy steps to begin managing your local reputation.
- Set up a profile on the most well-known sites such as Google, Yelp, or Facebook as well as sites for your particular industry. Make sure to monitor your reviews daily. There are multiple no-cost platforms that can offer you a streamlined way to do this.
- Respond to each review, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Customers and clients will be happy to be acknowledged for a good review, and a caring response to a negative one will show that you are willing to address the issue.
- Report fake reviews. One major issue with online reviews right now are fraudulent reviews. Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are very good at moderating fake reviews, but Google and Amazon need to up their game. Report them immediately and, if you have significant proof, they may be removed by the site.
- Use good reviews to your advantage. Take this time to highlight your best reviews by showcasing them on your website as testimonials. Your website should support your best face by including client testimonials and success stories, keeping them updated as time goes on.
- Use the information you get in negative reviews. A negative review can highlight a legitimate shortcoming in your business. This is useful information to have. If the negative reviewer has a legitimate gripe, fix the problem.
- Follow up with a client or customer after their service. This is an excellent way to ensure that their experience was a good one. If it was, you or a staff member can suggest that the client leave a good review.
Managing your online reputation is critical in today’s business world. It is an essential part of building your digital presence and creating a sense of expertise and trust with your customers or clients.
No-Stress Digital Marketing
With any business or service, your reputation is everything and your online reputation should be a key ingredient in any digital marketing strategy. But we understand you are busy running a business and have little time for this kind of thing.
We can help.
At Fuel Web Marketing, reputation marketing is just one of the tools in our comprehensive SEO toolbox. Call us at 888-375-3835 or contact us on our online form to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Client Development Consultants. Get your online reputation on track so you can attract more local customers and enhance your bottom line.