Not all that long ago, reputation management was largely a concern of major corporations and A-list celebrities. But times change and now, online reputation management is critical for every single business, regardless of size—especially since almost 46% of all Google searches are centered on local information and businesses. With a few clicks, Internet users can instantly look up a business’ reviews—including negative reviews that could jeopardize future sales. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to minimize the impact of negative reviews and maximize the influence of positive ones.
1. Conduct a Brand Audit
Before you can develop an effective online reputation management strategy, it’s essential to conduct a brand audit. Open an incognito browser window and search for your brand. Pay close attention to the first page of results, as this is what potential customers will see. In particular, note whether any Google My Business features or company social media profiles help or hurt your brand.
You can also take a look at third-party websites. If they post misleading or inaccurate information about your company, you can contact them to request corrections.
2. Respond Appropriately to Negative Reviews
For optimal online reputation management, it’s best to respond to negative reviews as soon as possible. The longer they are left unaddressed, the greater impact they will have.
Always begin your response with a courteous statement. Thank the reviewer for taking the time to provide feedback. If your company was truly at fault for the problem, apologize and explain how you’re remedying the situation. For example, if you run a hotel and the reviewer complained that there was no hairdryer in the room, you could explain that you’ve instructed the staff to ensure all complimentary items are present before the next guest checks into the room.
3. Encourage Positive Reviews
Positive reviews can outweigh negative reviews, especially if they are posted after the negative ones. This is because the newer reviews are shown to search engine users first. Instruct your team to ask happy customers to leave reviews for your company. Remember to thank each reviewer for taking the time to leave their feedback. You can also create positive content by partnering with influential bloggers or paying for sponsored content on high-authority sites.
Online reputation management is an ongoing process that requires a skilled touch. Talk to Smargasy Inc. about our digital marketing services, including comprehensive reputation management. You can reach us at (239) 214-8592, and be sure to request your local reputation score report.