Your online reputation as a business can either drive or decrease sales, customers, and longevity. Online reviews have become the internet’s word of mouth. Before someone makes a purchase or visits a new restaurant, they will often rely on what other consumers like them have to say about their experience. This is why it is so important that businesses continue to prioritize customer service – in real life and online. Unfortunately, negative comments about experiences with a business, product or service can impact whether people will become patrons. But there’s no need to fear – businesses don’t need to launch full-scale campaigns to combat negative reviews. You simply need strategies to manage your online reputation because truth be told, a better online reputation will equal PROFIT.
Studies show that even two negative reviews or search results put businesses at risk of losing 44% of their customers. There are three major factors that impact online reputation management and those are: social media, search engines, and local listings. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp allow consumers to post feedback about the business using reviews. While search engines and listings assist in navigating consumers to relevant businesses based on the highest star ratings and positive feedback.
This is how these platforms and search functions can impact your business:
- Provides business information such as an address, phone number, website, and services/products.
- Search engines like Google, Bing Places, YP, & Yelp are able to rank you for correct search keywords and categories in local areas as far as 25-mile radius.
- Allows users to give feedback on experiences and grows your online reputation locally online.
Reviews, ratings, and comments can have a huge impact on attracting new consumers as well as retaining existing ones. Here’s how:
- Reviews have the power to influence consumers and strengthen trust.
- 72% are more likely to try a new business or product based on previous customer responses and reviews.
- Reviews provide an opportunity for businesses and customers to build a relationship with one another.
Now that you know this, you might be wondering how you can start implementing this practice into your business. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to help you manage your online reputation
- Actively ask clients/customers for reviews
- Respond to positive and negative reviews with professionalism
- Make sure all business information is consistent and updated (Hours of operation, Contact phone number, website, etc.)
- Create relevant content for search engines to recognize your business’ services or products to properly categorize your business in search queries (Blogs, DIY, Youtube)
- Ignore negative reviews. Respond to them professionally.
- Attack or be combative with a reviewer even if their review is negative
- Create fake positive reviews using fake profiles
- Create multiple profiles, listings, website urls, etc.
Managing your online reputation doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience, simply start by taking inventory of where your reputation is currently at. From there start taking the steps to strengthen your strategies and make sure to carve out time every few weeks to check and reply to reviews. Address those negative reviews by offering to make things better – whether through a discount or redo of the service. As a business owner, you have control over your online reputation, all you need to do is get started.