What is Reputation Management and How We Can Use it to Help Your Business
Here in Portland, where our offices are located, there are 1000’s businesses just in our historic Downtown area alone vying for our dollars. If you are one of those 1000″s businesses, you know how difficult it is to maintain a steady stream of customers who are happy to visit your establishment and spend their own hard-earned money with you.
They aren’t thinking about your hard-earned money that you spend keeping your doors open. They don’t care about that. They are thinking of their money and their experience.
When is the last time you looked at any reviews people have posted online about your business – whether at Foursquare, Google Plus, Merchant Circle, Yelp, or Facebook?
Is there a review, video, Tweet or Facebook post circulating about your business that isn’t showing you in the best light possible?
Look, it’s obvious that you cannot make 100% of your customers happy 100% of the time. Everyone is aware of this, and one person out of 200 complaining that a cashier didn’t smile at him isn’t going to close anyone’s doors. That’s not the point.
The point is, with the nearly countless websites and platforms available to people today who are more than willing to spend a few minutes of their time ranting or venting about their experiences with a business, bad news can, and will travel and spread faster than you can say “cute puppy viral video.”
Now, I’m willing to bet that at this moment, you are ready to head over to your favorite search engine to type in either your own business name (which we suggest) and/or a colleague’s business name to see what reviews come up.
In fact, we believe you should do this. Type in your own or someone else’s business name in the Portland or surrounding area, along with the work “review” and see what turns up, and then come on back here.
Go ahead, we’ll wait. (Dear reader, you can insert sound effect here: clock ticking in background)
Okay – now that you’re back, we’re sure you must have noticed that some folks have left negative reviews about something.
Gone are the days when people thought before they acted, especially since most people now have Smart- phones and other handheld devices allowing them to voice their frustrations instantly.
Gone are the days of “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.” It’s just the way things are, and the sooner businesses recognize and admit this, the better they can arm themselves with a strategy that will not only help them gain and maintain a good online reputation but also grow their business.
Think about this for just a minute. Have you ever seen a Facebook rant about someone who was unhappy with something? It could have been the meal they didn’t like at a particular restaurant, or the poor service they received. Maybe they took a photo of the proverbial hair or a fly in their soup.
There is something else we need to address here, however, besides the reviews.
Did you notice that most of these reviews do not have a response from management?
You see, as we said, it’s not that an occasional bad review is going to break a business. It’s the fact that most business owners ignore them. Oh, they may see the review, and say, “Well, we’ll do better next time.” But, how does the prospective customer know this for sure? Your potential customers are not mind readers. They are review readers. They watch videos. They keep up with Tweets and Facebook posts.
This is something that you should be very aware of. Remember this: What affects your online reputation will translate to your offline existence as well. If you have a brick & mortar business, don’t think for a moment that the online wolf “huffing and puffing” at you cannot hurt you offline.
Responding to customers’ comments is critical. However, this is oftentimes where you, as a business owner may feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, because it can take hours out of the day and week to keep up with this. And those are hours that should be used running your day to day business – not just to make it better and more profitable, but to merely keep up with your regular responsibilities of management, inventory, payroll, etc.
This is where we at Portland SEO can, and will help you.
The question you may have at this point is: How do we do this?
Remember that reputation management is more than a mere strategy to respond to your reviews – which we will certainly do – responding to both good and bad reviews. When you bring us on to manage your online reputation, we do all the heavy lifting of researching, finding, and responding to customer reviews.
However, this is just a small part of what we do. There is far more to it than simply responding to reviews. That’s just putting a bandage on an already bleeding wound.
We want to help you avoid any additional wounds by helping you avoid getting hurt to begin with.
We will create and manage the strategies that will help steer your customers in the right direction long before they decide to leave a review. We will help create avenues that encourage customers to interact in a positive manner before they have even stepped foot through your doors.
We will create an additional positive online presence beyond your company’s website that will be visible to potential customers.
We will also help to create a positive (and lasting) impression of your business on Social Media (which we talk about in depth elsewhere on this site). There is far more to Social Media than having a Facebook page or Twitter account (although these certainly are important components to any business wanting to thrive in today’s marketplace).
We can hear your next question: But, my business seems to be fine, and I haven’t seen any negative reviews about it. How can you help me?
Our answer is this: Can you use MORE business? What if there was a community waiting to interact with your business that doesn’t even know you exist (yet)? If you already have all the business you can possibly handle as it is, you probably don’t need us. Congratulations! You’re doing things right!
If, however, you can handle more customers, more clients, and more business in general, why not see if you might benefit from our services?
Every business is unique, and takes a highly personalized approach to managing its presence online, which of course results in a better business offline. This is what we do.
We want to help your business grow and thrive.
Call us today for a free consultation, and let us show you how we can help you create and maintain your business reputation both online and off!
Are You Seeking Information About Reputation Management? Then Check Out These Great Tips!
Many people think that running a business is a breeze, but they are often unaware that one small problem can be a huge blow to your reputation. If your reputation goes down the tubes, it is hard to retrieve. If you need some pointers on reputation management, this article should prove ideal.
If your website does not rank on the first few pages of an Internet search, it may be time to invest in a company that specializes search engine optimization. This company will take each of the pages in your website and incorporate keywords throughout it using the latest in SEO practices.
If you use social media sites, you need to be able to track the success of each post. There are several programs available online to help you track mentions of your business. These programs will also informs you of when a user shares your post with his friends and family members.
Make sure all customers are satisfied. Try to turn a bad experience into a positive one by showing that you care. If you have the ability to do it online, that’s the best option. You will get more visibility that way.
Be thankful. If someone leaves a good review about your company, send them a personal message and thank them for their feedback. If possible, send your customer a coupon for a certain percent off on their next purchase as a thank you. If this is not possible, sincerely thank them for their feedback.
If you are going to use anyone’s ideas, you should always make sure to give them credit for that. Everyone out there can learn a little from others, so giving due credit will show people that you don’t think you are above that. This is a great way to earn their respect.
Watch what you say. This applies to both online and offline interactions. Avoid having any discussions about illegal activity or making derogatory comments. You also want to avoid having yourself and your business tied to images that are explicit or inappropriate. Also, try to avoid doing or saying anything negative that will be on a news station. Potential investors and customers may see these things as red flags.
Be professional when posting on social media sites. Avoid using Internet jargon and slang such as LOL, YW or TY. Be professional at all times. Respond to comments just like you would to your clients in a face to face meeting. Use proper English and proofread all responses before posting them.
Remember that your offline presence also affects your online reputation. This is generally the start of your reputation. People will trust you more if you provide good customer service, offer good products and services, and maintain good relationships with your customer base. Happy customers generally will not post bad reviews, so do what you can to keep them all happy.
Bring people that are looking for your site directly to your website. You can do this by using your business name and other identifying words as frequently on your website as possible without being annoying. This will bring searchers to you instead of websites with negative and possible untruthful reviews.
Remain informed as to what is happening on the online social networks. Many people talk about businesses on social media. As you monitor these platforms regularly, you get to find negative comments quickly so you can do fast damage control and complaint resolution. By doing this, you’ll protect your reputation and keep your business in a positive note.
Social media can be a friend or enemy of your business. You need to learn how to use it to your advantage. Create your own pages on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Address the concerns of customers calmly and do what you can to make them happy. This will benefit your business immensely.
You will interact more often with clients as your company expands. Complaints will show up here and there, so you must address them. In addition, you should address them properly so others will approve of how you handled them.
Social media can sometimes seem like it gets out of hand if you’re not looking. It can blow up in a good way, but the wrong people can gain access to the wrong things or put something out there that makes you look bad. So, you don’t want the liberties of social media showing your business up.
If a customer leaves you a bad review, do not leave a negative rebuttal. This will only make you come across as being arrogant and hard to get along with. While you should address any parts of the review that were untrue, you should do it in a non-combative manner.
In order to keep track of your business reputation, you have to keep an eye on what people are saying and where they are saying it. Check all of the comments that are posted each day. Post positive content on your site, and respond to negativity in a positive way.
When a customer complains a product or service that you company offered, it is easy for you to jump into defensive mode. However, control yourself, and get more information about the complaint before you do that. You can smooth out the situation better this way, and you will gain a better reputation for your company.
Many of your competitors may be paying for false positive reviews. Resist when you feel tempted to join up with these people. Many states have laws against this type of activity.
When managing your online reputation, always take the high road. The Internet is rife with people who want to vent their frustrations. Don’t let them suck you in. Always keep your cool and be the adult in the room. Do your best to resolve any problems. If you are unable to, take the necessary steps to remove the negativity.
Maintaining a good reputation is important to every business. Making constant mistakes will make it hard to improve your company’s reputation. Even if you have only made one mistake, it may be bad enough to cause lots of damage. Stay on top of your reputation! Remember what you’ve just learned, and put it into practice.
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