Online reputation is a key factor in the success of any business. Your business can appear in a variety of places including social media sites, news, profile pages, photos, videos, and more. Similar to improving your business practices, if you want to enhance your online reputation, then you have to take responsibility for its success.
Do Your Research
Knowing how and where your business appears on the web are imperative when managing and enhancing your online reputation. The old saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” does not apply to your online reputation. Whether or not you are tuned in to how your business appears on the web, people are talking and you should be listening. Check out various websites to see how your business is listed, ranked, and portrayed. Some sites to check on could include Yelp, Yahoo Local, or Angie’s List. TIP: Set up Google alerts to track the online footprint of your business.
Tell Your Story
Rather than letting others define your online reputation, put the content out there that best tells your story. In addition to building a website for your business, take advantage of popular social media channels, such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Yelp to maximize your social media presence. Make a point to post on an ongoing basis. Posting consistent and frequent messages across various channels will help slowly, but surely, build your brand. TIP: Have fun and be creative with your posts to set your business apart. Some topics could include the following: (1) feature a client success story, (2) review a new product related to your industry, (3) introduce your team, or (4) comment on recent news about your industry, giving your take on it.
Use Your Manners
Good business owners will respond quickly and professionally to the reviews they receive from clients. Whether you receive a positive or negative review, thank your client for their feedback. When dealing with negative feedback, it’s important to stay calm and offer a corrective solution. Clients that post reviews want to be heard. Show the client you value their voice. Replying publicly to reviews shows that you care about your client’s experience and improving your business practices. Actively listening and commenting on reviews creates positive interaction between your business and your clientele. Opening up these lines of communication is a key factor in enhancing your online reputation. TIP: Review responses can’t always be edited, so be sure to look over your message before you post. Make sure it lines up with the consistent image you are trying to create for your business. For more information on responding to reviews, see our blog post: 3 Ways to Handle Negative Reviews.
Live and Learn
Recognize that online reviews are a company asset. Enhancing your online reputation is not a matter of covering your tracks through deleting negative content. It’s about presenting yourself in the best possible light, and treating feedback as an opportunity for growth. Share the feedback with your team, and attempt to identify if there are business practices that can be adjusted or reinforced. If you see room for improvement, make any necessary changes so that your online reputation can be a true reflection of the pride you take in your business. TIP: Take one piece of positive feedback and one piece of negative feedback to your staff, and have a round table discussion to create a collective goal for improvement.
If you want to enhance your business’ online reputation, you have to start from the bottom and work your way to the top. Much like any personal goal you set for yourself, you have to take small strides toward achieving that overarching goal. Make a routine, keep yourself accountable, and track your success.