Protect Your Online Reputation
Online Reputation nowadays is crucial to many companies worldwide. In the advent of fast-paced information gathering brought by advances in technology, people are now actively checking facts about businesses.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misleading information and untruths on the Internet. When these falsehoods involve your small business, your reputation can suffer. Moreover, websites like Rip-Off Report do not spend time vetting the information fed by people. This fact makes it easy for competitors and rivals to leave misleading information that can ruin your company’s online reputation.
What is worse than a ruined online reputation? Well, many of these websites will charge you money to defend yourself. That is right! It is free to leave a negative review, and yet sites will charge you to reply. This fact makes it very simple for frustrated former employees or crooked business competitors to ruin your company in mere minutes.
What Does Research Show?
Research conducted by Bright Local indicates that up to 79% of customers state that they trust online reviews. The results suggest that having no reviews or having only negative reviews, means your potential customers might choose your competitors. To ensure that your brand sustains a favorable standing online, here are four simple steps to protect it.
4 Helpful Steps to Maintain and Protect Your Online Reputation
To build a lasting, positive online reputation, as well as to protect the reputation that you built, just do the following four-step.
Set Up Profiles on Social Media
Be sure to create profiles on all of the major social media platforms. Make sure to be active and maintain all your profiles. Facebook, Google +, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter are some of the best social media platforms. After taking the time to create a profile, make sure to update your social media profiles frequently. Having an idle online activity on these social media sites can be as detrimental as having no presence at all.
Update your social media pages and profiles at least once every week. Reply to comments, feedback, inquiries, and questions that you receive regarding your business daily. If you get negative remarks, do not delete or disregard them. Instead, use these criticisms as an opportunity to provide extraordinary customer service.
Build and Setup Links
Do guest postings on different reputable pages and sites. Include a link to one or more of your social media pages and profiles. Building and setting up links is a brand marketing tactic that virtually costs nothing but a small amount of time. This fact makes link building the ideal solution for small businesses and startup entrepreneurs without much extra money to invest. Assigning the task of writing guest posts to one of your employees is also a viable option too. Writing guest posts not only helps attract digital foot traffic towards your business but also limits negative reviews.
Monitor Online Reviews
Research and studies have shown that customers are prone to provide negative feedback when they encounter a bad experience. Only a small number of customers and patrons leave a positive review for any good experience they had. Give customers some form of incentive or motivation to give positive feedback. Moreover, make giving positive feedback easy and user-friendly for customers too.
Studies also show that by voluntarily asking for feedback from customers, business owners receive it. Offering discounts as an incentive is also a great option to entice customers to leave positive reviews.
Avoid letting the public see only negative feedback when they try searching for your brand or business online. Be vigilant in combating negative feedback. As pro-activity and vigilance are the only way that to ensure a brand or company retain a positive online reputation.
Utilize The “Google My Business” Feature
Google My Business allows a business owner total control of their business listing over all of Google’s features from a single platform. This platform effectively simplifies the means of managing your brand and your online reputation. One of the best uses a business owner has of Google My Business is posting images, videos, and virtual tours. Let potential patrons see what the brand has to offer, even without setting foot within the physical store.
Google My Business also enables small business owners to connect and engage their target audience. Business owners can both manage business listings and respond to reviews that their patrons and potential customers leave online. However, before sitting down to answer any negative criticism or feedback, first determine how you will do so.
Any acknowledgment that you make in response to any criticism or feedback should be nothing less than positive. Please bear in mind, no one can satisfy all of the people, all of the time, every time. It is a real cliché, but it is proven a fact. Expect to receive negative reviews. How one handles those negative reviews will speak volumes about a brand or business to others.
Bonus: A Few Facts About Online Reviews
On average, a typical consumer consults around 11 online reviews in advance prior to making a final purchasing decision.
Believe it or not, having negative reviews can help your business. About 68% of consumers are more trusting of companies with a mixture of both negative and positive reviews. Factual negative reviews provide learning opportunities for both the business owner and their employees.
Acknowledging and responding to customer reviews shows potential patrons that you care about outstanding customer service.
Doing It Right – Handling Negative Reviews and Protecting Your Reputation
As a small business owner, your online reputation means everything. One must first understand that you need to manage online reviews properly. However, how does one do so? Here are four easy-to-follow pointers to successfully handle negative reviews. These simple tips will leave one’s brand and online reputation shining in the minds of your potential customers.
1. Always Be Professional! Show both loyal patrons and potential customers that you care. Ensure customers that you are prepared to solve any of their concerns.
2. Actions ALWAYS Speak Louder Than Words! Show your customer that you are ready and willing to solve their issue and concerns. A certified letter, emails, phone calls, or ultimately personal meeting up in person in response to the review speaks volumes.
3. Personally Handle Things Yourself! Make sure not to delegate the task of handling and managing negative reviews to an employee. Such tasks must be carefully managed to ensure connecting to customers and resolving any issues or concerns are appropriately done.
4. Document Everything! When responding to negative feedback or reviews, avoid just explaining your side of the story in a professional way. Moreover, make sure to detail the steps taken while trying to resolve the issue. Provide them some insight, customers appreciate transparency.
A small business owner’s goal online should be building a reliable and well-established online reputation. Following the advice outlined above, entrepreneurs will not only build up their online reputation, but they will also learn how to securely protect it. After all, online reputation is the lifeblood of many of today’s small businesses.