Your local business largely runs on the online reputation. Just having an online presence and investing in search engine optimization is not sufficient. You as a local business owner should keep an eye on what people are saying about your business, and try to maintain a good online reputation. A good online reputation can be maintained by following some best practices. Therefore, in the blog post, we are going to present ten online reputation management tips and best practices for your local business.
ORM Tip 1: Leverage word of mouth
what others say about you is more trusted than what you say about yourself. And that is exactly way word of mouth is powerful. It can make or break local business. In today’s world, it is easy for the customers to share their experience on various platforms like review sites, Facebook, Twitter, Google My Business and Google+. Therefore, focus on providing good experience to the customers. In addition to that, try to match the expectations that you have created. The biggest source of negative reviews is the mismatch between the expectation created and reality. In other words, living up to the expectations can flood positive reviews.
ORM Tip 2: Be active and interactive
Having an online presence on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Quora, is not sufficient. You need to invest some time for hearing your customers on social media platforms and responding them out. Unanswered complaints on online platforms can significantly damage your online reputation and lead to decrease in sales. So, make sure you are present when your customers need you. The other advantage of being active in social media is that it reflects professionalism and improves brand awareness, brand visibility and brand loyalty.
ORM Tip 3: Monitor what people are talking about you
You can repair your reputation only when you know what is being said about your local business. Hence, it is necessary to monitor the online conversations that involve your small business. This can be done by using many paid and free online reputation management tools. Some of the popular tools for monitoring online reputation are Google alerts, Social Mention, Trackur, SentiOne and Reputology. Once you know what image your business has in the online world, you can plan to repair, reestablish or improve it. You may also consider seeking professional help from online reputation management companies.
ORM Tip 4: Have a great site
Your potential customers judge your local business based on several things such as staff, reviews, rating, professionalism and website. Yes, a website is a face of your business and people frame an opinion about your business just by looking at your website. A poor website will create a poor online reputation. Hence, you need to take all the necessary steps to engage website visitors. Make sure your website is search engine optimized, consumer friendly, mobile ready and secure. The good news is that having these qualities improves your search engine ranking. That’s how online reputation management and search engine optimization compliment each other.
ORM Tip 5: Offer superior product and customer service
Your local customers leave online reviews based on mainly three things. Those are quality, performance and customer services. Honestly, a good online reputation management strategy cannot save your reputation, if you fail in these three fundamental aspects. If you provide these three things to your customers, then they will have no valid reason to post a negative online review. In this way, you can easily avoid negative reviews to a larger extend and establish a strong online reputation.
ORM Tip 6: Convert negative reviews into positive
You might already know that it is very difficult to get rid of negative Google reviews. However, it is still possible. The only person who can convert a negative review into positive is the person who posted it. Never give up when you get a negative review. Instead, work on it. Most of the local customers tend to change their mind when their issues are resolved. Furthermore, whenever you get a negative review, try to find the cause and fix it. By fixing the cause you are less likely to get future negative reviews.
ORM Tip 7: Collect feedback and promote positive reviews
Taking feedback is the best method to improve your business and make it customer oriented. Hence, encourage your customers to leave a feedback. Spare some time from your busy schedule to read the consumer feedbacks. If you find any scope of improvement or fault on your side, apologize and fix it, then and there. Furthermore, promote positive reviews. Let your potential customers know what your former customers have to say about you. Doing so will help you to convert your visitors and potential customers into customers.
ORM Tip 8: Manage personal reputation
You alone don’t represent your local business. Along with you, your staff and people who work for you also represent your business. Therefore, we can say that the personal reputation of your employees is tied to your business. Any derogatory comment or an unfaltering picture post may go viral on social media and harm your online reputation to a great extent. The best thing to do to prevent these mishaps is by having a written and signed social media and online policy for all your staff. In this way, you will have better control over what your employees post online.
ORM Tip 9: Plan for future mishaps
As said earlier, providing quality, performance and great customer service can prevent negative reviews to a considerable extent. However, one cannot lock the number of bad reviews at zero. Negative reviews are inevitable, irrespective of how excellent you are at your job. Therefore, it is good to plan for future mishaps. Doing so will help you to handle the situation professionally and minimize the ongoing damage to your online reputation.
ORM Tip 10: Dilute negative reviews
Negative reviews are unpleasant. We are always in search of methods that can delete negative Google reviews. But did you know? Several positive reviews can dilute the impact of negative reviews on your business. Fifteen to twenty positive reviews can nullify the impact of two or three bad reviews. Therefore, encourage your satisfied and happy customers to review your business. In addition to that promote the positive reviews gained.