Don't let your online reviews turn into a nightmare

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Reputation: noun – the belief or opinions that are generally held by someone or something.

Reputation Management - star ratingsIn the business sense, reputation is the collective representation of multiple customers’ image of a company built up over time. 68% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. Considering these numbers, which are on the rise every day, managing your business’s online reputation should be an important part of your marketing mix.

Online reputation management is the practice of understanding and influencing a business’s reputation using online tools such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google. In today’s world, everyone turns to the Internet to find out information about businesses. It is no longer just word of mouth and effective advertising. Reviews and recommendations are held in such high regard because they’re left by every day customers. So, it’s extremely important for a business to manage their social media reviews.  In fact, according to Vendasta, 92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and say that their star rating is the number one factor used to judge a business. With more users turning to cell phones and mobile devices, it’s no wonder why these stats have become what they are. 

Reputation management is essential. Not monitoring and responding to both good and bad reviews of your business online can have a negative effect on your business. Managing your social media reputation will enhance how your business looks and help you improve due to the feedback you’re receiving. Reading reviews and seeing how the business reacts to them gives customers an insight to how they will be treated if they use this business. In addition to making your business look good, search engines like Google are starting to factor in a business’s online ratings and whether or not they respond to reviews when calculating search results.

The most effective, and sometimes hardest, way to help with your online reputation management is to open up to criticism and feedback.  Engage with people who leave good comments, thank them for their patronage and their review.  This shows the customer that you are really putting a concentrated effort toward the customer experience and that you genuinely do care.

Negative feedback is bound to happen at some point or another, but how should you handle it?

Act quickly. Time is of the essence.  Don’t wait a few days before responding back to the review.  Publicly acknowledge the review and make a response, even a simple “We’re sorry, please give us a call so we can help fix this problem” is better than ignoring a poor review. Responding to negative comments can even help improve your image because customers can see that you care and want to acknowledge and fix your mistakes.

Be respectful. Even if there is a negative review about your business, customers can see how you respond and then make their own opinion about your business. Insulting the reviewer makes the situation worse and can draw more negative attention to your business. In today’s fast-paced world of social media, things can spiral out of control rather quickly.

Be pro-active. There’s no reason you should ignore the review and let it sit for everyone to see. Comment back; get in touch with the reviewer. Reviews are there for you to better your business.

Consider using a marketing team: Many marketing teams have experience in reputation management and are skilled in dealing with unsatisfied customers in a way that makes your business look good.

Robert Sharp and Associates specializes in social media and reputation management. Contact us at 605-341-5226 to discuss a reputation management strategy that allows you to connect with your customers across multiple platforms to increase your business.

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