Your business should cultivate a strong, healthy online reputation. Here are some tips to help.
Online Reputation Management
In recent years, the internet has become a far more interactive place where customers and clients expect to engage with the businesses they frequent. Many people are looking for places to express their opinions-good, bad, and indifferent.
The truth is people are probably already talking about your business. They’re posting on Facebook, commenting on blogs, sharing your product promotions, and telling their friends about their customer experience. This makes reputation management more critical than ever!
What is reputation management?
Reputation management is the process your business uses to learn what other people are saying about your business and working to make sure it aligns with your goals. Consumers flock to sites like Google Reviews, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and social media platforms to share their customer experiences or read reviews before making a purchase.
The harsh truth is that your online reputation has a powerful impact on your overall business. For small businesses, cultivating a positive reputation can give you an edge over competitors, especially when that reputation includes providing high-quality, personalized care that "big box" stores can’t always offer.
Benefits of A Good Online Reputation
Online reputation management is critical for small businesses, especially those that serve specific geographic areas. Many consumers won’t trust a business that has mediocre or poor reviews. But cultivating an excellent online reputation can bring some great benefits:
Improve your Google rankings: According to some studies, 65% of customers trust search engine results more than other information. That means good online reviews carry a lot of weight in the Google algorithm and can bring in more qualified traffic and leads.
Online reviews can also impact whether your Google listing shows up on the Google Maps Pack since that’s based on a combination of reviews and the information you provide about your business (consistent name, address, phone number, etc.). When your business appears in the Google Maps Pack, that boosts your visibility and credibility, especially in local searches.
Cultivate a reputation as a credible, authoritative business: More qualified reviews position your business as a trusted expert in your field. Really, a steady supply of good customer reviews helps you become a strong, recognizable brand.
Additionally, online reviews can positively impact your lead generation campaigns and help increase your sales!
Positive online reputation helps mitigate negative reviews: Let’s be honest, there’s always one customer that just can’t be satisfied. Cultivating a robust online reputation actually helps mitigate those poor reviews. It can even disarm them if you have a chance to reply to their review in a public manner so prospective customers can see that you really do care and want to provide excellent products and services. With these situations, even those "bad" reviews can become beneficial when handled correctly and with the right reputation management strategy.
Online Reputation Management Tools Can Be A Powerful Investment
Small business owners have so much on their plates and adding one more thing really can feel overwhelming. Still, you should not ignore your online reputation.
There are several online reputation management tools to help you automate the process. Some will send alerts when your business is mentioned, enabling you to see and respond to comments quickly. Others allow you to solicit positive reviews from your current customers and flag negative reviews so you can intervene and try to right the situation.
No matter what system or strategy you choose, it’s critical for small businesses in every industry to cultivate a strong, healthy online reputation. In the digital age, some businesses just might live or die by online reviews.