5 Ways Reputation Management is Being Redefined for Small Businesses

Reputation management is a way of controlling the impact and visibility of negative reviews on your small business. When your business is small or just getting started, reviews are important. Negative reviews must be carefully managed so potential customers looking for your business only find the good reviews you want them seeing.
More than ever before, consumers are researching companies before they do business with them. What is the quality of their product or service? How is their customer service? Consumers are searching for information from past customers to learn more about you. According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey, 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 85% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
You Can’t Avoid Reputation Management
For most small businesses, trying to avoid reputation management leaves them in a bad position. The more your business grows, the more often consumers will be searching online for your business by name. Having poor reviews or even imposter social media accounts ranking on search engines can negatively impact your business’s bottom line and growth.
The goal of reputation management is to become and remain active on social media and produce up to date, high-quality blog content to push any negative reviews off the first page of search engine results and out of view for most consumers. Very few online searches go beyond the first page of search engine results. By controlling the first page of results, you increase the visibility of positive reviews and high-quality blog and social media content.
Below are five reputation management tips you can use to help control what consumers see when they search online for your business.
1. Monitor search engine results. Taking the time to sit down and search for yourself or your business may seem like a waste of time, but knowing what others see when they look for you online is the first step in making sure they only see the positive. Setting up a Google Alert when something is posted online with your business’s keywords or key phrases is a good way to help automate the process.
2. Monitor social media. Just because you only use Facebook or LinkedIn doesn’t mean those are the only social media platforms your potential clients are using. Make sure you are regularly checking the mentions of your business or brand on all major social sites. Utilizing a service such as Hootsuite helps you keep track of mentions and comments of your brand on most major social media platforms.
3. Monitor comments on blogs. Anytime you write an article on your website or contribute to a third-party blog website, you should be monitoring for feedback and comments so you can respond quickly and appropriately. Most major blog platforms allow authors to be automatically notified when a comment is made on that post. This makes it easy for you to stay involved and connect with a larger audience.
4. Monitor major review sites. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways of growing your business. Online reviews, when positive, are extremely effective in turning potential customers into paying customers. Monitoring major review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook and Angie’s List is critical in maintaining engagement, thanking customers for positive reviews and resolving negative reviews so they can be turned into a positive experience.
5. Create a policy for handling negative reviews. Having a policy in place allows you and your employees to respond in a positive way without becoming emotionally charged. You don’t want to delete the negative comment unless it uses vulgarity or is overly offensive. Respond quickly and empathize with the reviewer. Admit to the mistake and offer to solve their problem via email or over the phone. Finally, ask them to update their negative review with a description of the service they received and the resolution to their problem.
Online reputation management is important to the long-term success and growth of your business. Contact us today to see how we can help simplify the process so you can focus on what you do best.

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