What Small Businesses Need to Know about Managing Their Reputation Online

Your online reputation is one of the first impressions prospective customers get about your business. It would be wonderful if all comments on the internet from your customers were glowing, but there will always be some people who have negative things to say about you. Your customers can be your biggest advocates if you let them.

We have put together some items to help you understand online reputation management and some methods to help you manage it.

What is Reputation Management?

Before you can manage your business’s reputation, it is important for you to have an understanding of what reputation management is. Wikipedia defines reputation management as “influencing and controlling an individual’s or business’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the expansion of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made it primarily an issue of search results. Online Reputation Management, sometimes abbreviated as ORM, is primarily concerned with evaluating products and services and making recommendations and referrals.”

Handling Negative Reviews

Stats show that it can take twelve positive reviews to counterbalance one negative review. Here are some interesting statistics about user reviews from EZMarketing:

  • 4 out of 5 prospects will be influenced to change their mind on a purchase based on reviews—good or bad
  • 80% of consumers consider reviews to be on par with personal referrals in terms of trust
  • 90% of all review searches end on the first page

You can make the situation worse depending on how you handle the review. While it may be hard to do, don’t think of a negative review as a personal attack. Take a deep breath and think before you act. The first thing you need to do is reach out to them so that you can correct the situation. Simply listen to their complaint and let them know that you appreciate their feedback because you are always trying to make your customers happy. Next you need to insure them that measures have been put into place to prevent this problem from happening in the future and that you would love them to come back to experience it for themselves. It is never a good idea to ask them to remove their review, but you can ask them to write a new review once they have had a better experience at your business.

Be Proactive

It is much better to be on the offense then on the defense when it comes to reputation management for your business. Take control of your online reputation by claiming listings on directory and rating websites (start with Facebook, Google+, and Yelp). Once you have done this, it is important to then ask your customers to review your business via your website, social media, and email newsletters. It is even a great idea to give your customers the chance to leave a review immediately after receiving great service.

Highlight the Positive

Inactive social profiles and blogs can actually hurt your reputation. Regular maintenance of your online persona is important because it is something that you have direct control over. Customers can become your greatest spokespeople if they have the latest information about your business. This can be done by making sure that you share regular updates on your social media profiles and your website. Give regular updates on any new products or services you have. Shout the great things your business is doing from the rooftops.  

You Can’t Do It By Yourself!

Managing your online reputation is time consuming and can be difficult for small businesses. Running your business is your main focus, as it should be. Managing your online reputation can be a full time job in it of itself. This is why we recommend outsourcing your reputation management to a company that can help shape and manage your reputation. Robb Digital can help with your reputation management by writing blogs and managing your social media presence. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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