The goal of online reputation management is to monitor the business brand on the Internet. This involves encouraging positive (love!) feedback, addressing negative (hate!) or potentially harmful content and in general being aware of what is being presented and said about your company online.
There are many online sources where you could find information about your business. Some of them are easier to control than others to ensure that your brand is presented how you want it to be. Your website is one location where you should have control of what message is presented. Most other online information sources limit your control to some extent.
Online reputation sources to monitor:
- Social Media
- Online Directories
- News Sources
Reviews can be seen on your website if you allow them to appear. While you do have control of these reviews they should always be legitimate reviews provided by actual customers. Social media platforms such as Facebook allow visitors to share a review and the prominence is increasing. Facebook recently moved reviews to the top right side of business pages. Read Jackie’s recent post, What to Know about the Recent Facebook Page Changes, to learn about other Facebook changes.
Reviews can be left on many online directories or websites such as Google, Yelp, Bing, Better Business Bureau and more. It is in your best interest to monitor the online environment and be aware of what people are saying about you. It is your reputation. Most businesses want to satisfy the needs of their customers and aim to make them happy. By focusing your business goals on satisfied customers, most often you’ll end up with positive reviews that everyone loves to see.
There are times when something happens and a customer is not completely satisfied. That can lead to a negative review. I hate those as much as you, but you can’t change the past. It is in your best interest to respond appropriately to the review. You may not always be able to fix the problem and make the customer 100% satisfied, but at a minimum it is best to acknowledge the review and learn from the situation. Things happen! Some online sources may make a negative review less prominent once you actively respond. I’m guessing you’d much rather have a potential customer see a positive review of your business before a negative review.
Something to remember is that as undesirable as a negative review is, one in a mix of positive reviews make them all seem more authentic and realistic. No business is going to be able to make 100% of customers happy, 100% of the time in all circumstances.
First impressions matter!
Another area to watch is news sources. Maybe you’ve been involved in an event or introduced a new service or product that is being featured in a news source such as a newspaper or magazine. Again if this is positive great, but sometimes the news about your company may not be something you want to publicize. If that is the case it can be helpful to acknowledge the topic which can add support to your reputation. Maybe there is another side to the story or a fact that was left out that could be shared to complete the story and add a positive side.
Would you like to see more mentions of your business online?
Ask for it.
You can ask customers to provide a testimonial or review to add to your website. You can also encourage customers to leave you reviews on online directories or social media. Be careful when doing this if you go from zero reviews to tons of reviews it may flag online directories of suspicious activity. Some people or businesses have funneled fake reviews into online directories, so even if your reviews are legitimate it is best to start out slow and spread them out. Do you have something exciting happening? Write up a news release and send it to your local news sources. Maybe they’ll write an article or share your story.
Online reviews are helpful for people to provide an indicator of how your business is to work with. It is also important to search engines. Reviews help prove that your business is legitimate and search engines give extra credit to your search results if you have reviews. One more reason to pay attention to your online reputation.
There are services available to help monitor and encourage reviews. Let us know if you’d like details. We strive to help you find those positive stories that everyone loves!