Reputation – it’s a word that carries a lot of weight in regards to how others perceive you and the relationship they choose to have with you. Although maintaining a favorable reputation is crucial in all aspects of life, when it comes to your business it’s especially important. This is because your customers need to know they can trust you – with their time, with their money and with their lifestyle. It’s best, therefore, to be proactive – and not reactive – when it comes to earning and managing your online reputation.
If you’re sitting there worrying about whether or not you’ve built a solid reputation for your business, don’t panic. The following steps will guide you and help get you started.
1. Google your business.
First things first – research. See where you show up in Google search results. Are you on the first page? Amazing! Have you lost track of the number of pages you’ve scanned and still can’t find your business on Google? Not so amazing.
There are several things you can do to manage your online reputation, but the first item is to simply understand what your current ‘standing’ is. You need to know whether or not potential customers can easily find your page and then look into what is being said or written about your business. This
blog post suggests Googling your business’ name along with some negative keywords associated with it, as Google tends to favor negative content over positive. Being aware of harmful or destructive things being said about your business will let you know areas that you need to fix or work on. It will also aid you in identifying which unhappy customers you should reach out to.
Set up alert notifications to notify you of any information or interaction with your business. Google provides a free service called Google Alerts
– start there.
2.Claim your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business
(GMB) is a free listing that Google gives businesses to manage their information on Google Search and Google Maps. Before claiming your GMB listing, however, it’s crucial to ensure all information regarding your business is accurate. This will not only help customers find your business, but it will also hand Google the right information to show individuals who either are looking for your business, or a business like yours.
Claiming this listing is pertinent as it increases your chance to appear higher up in Google’s search results. BrightLocal
points out that according to Google, 97% of consumers will search for products or services local to them, but only 37% of businesses have actually claimed a local GMB listing on a search engine.
Use this gap to your advantage and get ahead of your competition.
3. Review, respond and ask.
Review what customers are saying about your business online, consistently respond to customer reviews and continue to ask for reviews in an effort to stay relevant and attract new business.
We live in a digital age. Consumers have unlimited access to company and product or service reviews right at their fingertips now more than ever before. If you don’t think what’s being said about your business online affects its reputation and the perception consumers have about it, you’re wrong. In fact, consumers read an average of seven reviews before deciding to trust a business (BrightLocal) and when they see positive reviews, they’re 90% more likely to trust and buy from you (Forbes).
Not only is it important to know what reviews – both negative and positive – exist, but it’s also important to respond to these reviews. Being proactive and responding to customer reviews in a professional and personal manner shows them you value their voice. You’d be surprised by how much a simple and quick response thanking a customer for taking time to give you feedback or addressing a complaint speaks volumes about your business. It shows that you care enough to give your time back to them.
Finally, continue to ask for more feedback from your customers. It will not only make them feel valued, but it will also help you understand which aspects of your business or customer service you need to reevaluate and manage.
4. Be active in your online presence.
From social media to blog content to press releases, create your own presence. Hearing your business’ voice through more creative and personal outlets allows consumers to feel more connected to you and strengthen their trust in you. When you create your own presence, you establish your own reputation and give consumers another avenue to explore when deciding whether or not to give you their time or business.
Work on updating your social media channels regularly with content that stems outside of just products and services, and includes behind-the-scenes work or ‘meet the team.’ There are a variety of features on each platform you can use to your advantage – so use them. Also work to create blog content that not only emphasizes why consumers should value your business, but also content that tells your business’ story, distinguishing you from competition. Finally, make sure you have a great team working behind you that effectively communicates and stays ahead of the curve.
Managing a favorable reputation has its challenges, but no business is perfect. What matters most is not necessarily what is being said about your business, but how your business responds to criticism or crises. If you recognize that, you’re already well on your way to developing and maintaining a great online reputation.
Download “Simple Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business”
for more information on the importance of your online reputation.