Everything Small Businesses Need to Know About Online Reputation Management
Managing a small business is no easy feat. It is even possible that you’re doing a number of tasks while reading this and you’re probably worrying about a million things, too. It is difficult and it takes hard work. Believe you me, we know.
You probably wake up very early in the morning and go to be late at night because of your small business. As any successful small business owners would tell you, all you need is patience and dedication. We’d like to add to that. In today’s interconnected, alwasy online world, we firmly believe that you need a great online reputation management to make your business grow.
Your Online Reputation Matters
If you are not one to delve in social media, you should start now because right at this moment, your online reputation is being built by strangers. They can be customers from long ago who had a great experience at your shop or restaurant or they can be disgruntled customers who are so dissatisfied with the service that they want to tell the whole world about it. Your ex-employees or ex spouse could be writing bad reviews about your business. Reviews need to be checked daily.
In a world that is interconnected by the World Wide Web, not responding to positive reviews gives potential customers the feeling that you just don’t care about customer reviews in general and that you don’t care about them and what they have to say. This rings true even on the popular sites like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor as well any niche sites you may be getting reviews.
Online reputation comprises of a number of elements – social media, traditional media, consumer generated media, and search. All of these elements are important that’s why you should make it a point to manage the ones that you can have a bit of control over.
Find Out More About your Online Reputation
If you google your business name, you will likely find it in a number of review sites and if you’re lucky, you probably already have a few positive reviews. The first order of business is to claim these pages so that you can manage your reviews and thank the customers who took the time to leave a positive comment about you and your products or services. If you received negative reviews, managing your profiles on sites like Yelp will give you the opportunity to address and solve them. We have clients that have been succesful at getting bad reviews removed, changed and updated once the owner or manager took proactive steps with their clients.
Monitoring your Online Reputation is Good for Business
Checking your business name on Google is not a frivolous activity, it is critical to do so to ensure that your business can grow and improve further. For businesses that just started, doing a Google search of your business name may prove to be disappointing because it is highly likely that no one is talking about you yet.
Businesses grow though and as your business grows, you will start getting reviews and people will start talking about you. There will also come a time that potential customers will be searching for what your current customers are saying about you. These are some of the reasons why you need to manage and at least have a bit of control on what potential customers will find.
Will they find that you respond to every complaint and thank everyone who has left a review? Will they find that you don’t respond to reviews at all? Will they find a nasty review that has gone viral? A great defense is a good offense so be sure to actively manage your reputation online so that potential customers will see a general picture of what your business is all about and not a one-sided attack that can bring you down. Find out more about bad reviews and how they can affect your reputation. (LINK)
Here are more reasons why you should actively monitor reviews about you:
- Because of What it Says About you
Most of today’s consumers do their research first before visiting a business. They usually read reviews and look for more information about your services or the products you offer before their first transaction.
If your business is a new retailer, for example, it is likely that potential customers will look for price comparisons. Those researching about a new restaurant in town, on the other hand, will try to find out if the food served there is good and worth the money. This means that information potential customers will find will define your business whether that information is true or not.
- Because of What it Says to the Media
Negative reviews done by the media can tear your business apart. What is worse is the effects of bad press itself. It doesn’t just last for a day or two, it will be read over and over for years to come.
- Because of What Reviews Say to Potential Investors
Are you looking to expand? People who are planning on investing on your business will do an in depth research about you. Apart from taking a look at pertinent documents, they will also look for online reviews. In fact, the reviews might be the first thing that they will see. That can be quite scary because the set of reviews your business currently has can make or break you.
- Because of What Prospective Employees Will Think of You
Getting the best of the best to work for your business is always a good thing but the best talents likely won’t work for a company with a bad rep. This is especially difficult if former employees posted scathing reviews about how you run your business. If reviews like that exist, it is possible that top talents won’t send their resumes to you at all.
Where Do You Start?
Monitoring your reputation online can start with searching your business on major search engines like Google. You can also get notifications from Google Alert every time your brand is mentioned online. You should also take a look at major reviews sites to see if your listing is there. If you find many reviews across a range of platforms or want to be prepared for the time when you start getting lots of reviews, please do not hesitate to contact us. Review Fire is all about making sure that you get to manage your reputation online logging in from one platform to the next. Review Fire does more than that though because our software can get feedback from customers to help you improve your business.
The Decency of a Response Means the World to Customers
Whenever a review is posted, you can be sure that the person who posted the review wants a response from you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a positive review or a nasty, angry, negative one – you need to respond. It would mean the world to your customers because they want to be acknowledged and they also want their concerns to be addressed asap. For positive reviews, start by thanking them for taking the time to write about their experience in your place of business. Do the same for those who left a negative review but don’t forget to apologize for their bad experience. You should also ensure that you offer to resolve their concerns. To find out more about responding to irate customers, please read our article on how to respond to bad reviews. (LINK)
Never Feed the Trolls
While online, you will, at one point, come across a number of trolls. People trying to get a rise out of you about Trolls are people who usually hide behind a fake persona and they love spreading negativity online. Sometimes, you’d see trolls who use their real identities to troll. Whichever the case, do not be afraid to defend your brand but be sure to do this in a polite manner even if the person you are talking to isn’t. However, it is always a good idea to not respond to trolls at all.
It must be noted that legitimate complaints are not defined as trolling but we know you know this and we know that you would address them accordingly