Have you ever looked at the comments section of a Facebook ad or the comments under a news piece about the brand behind an ad? It can get quite ugly, as you probably know.
What’s interesting in many cases though, whether it’s reviews about a local business or a slick, well-produced ad about a new soda flavor….is that the brand or business is nowhere to be found. This is a huge mistake!
Long gone are the days when your business has no voice, as you now have multiple channels to talk to your audience and be part of the conversation. Because of these channels though… it’s dangerous to not be a part of the conversation anymore, as it can signal aloofness and distance yourself from your customer base.
So let us tell you how to build and maintain your online business reputation through the following tips…
How To Gauge Your Current Reputation
The very first thing you’ll do, if you haven’t already, is to search for your business online and see what comes up. You can search for yourself using keywords like (your business) (your city or town), best (type of business you operate) in (your location), (your business) reviews, and so on.
Google search is only the first place to do this, as there should be mentions of your business on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, or even Tik Tok. Search for your business through each channel, and make notes or create a spreadsheet of what you find.
After this, you should have a good idea of the positive mentions and negative mentions you have currently. If you have none at all, or mostly negative mentions, then don’t worry. There are steps you can take to improve your online reputation.
Daily & Weekly Steps To Take To Manage Your Reputation
Depending on how long you’ve been in business and interacted online, the idea of conversing with your customers in a public way can be scary or tedious.
What if they say something unfair back? What if this takes up a lot of your time? What if your attempts to improve your reputation don’t work?
These are just a few concerns you may have, but we promise that every task completed to improve your reputation is a wise investment. Now here’s a short list of tasks that you or your staff can start to perform:
- Respond to reviews as they come in, or catch back up on the ones you haven’t responded to yet. The next section will cover this in more detail
- Post testimonials from happy customers to your social media, or update your social media properties with your latest news. This is important to not only build upon the image of your business online, but also to make your business appear busy and active.
- Create press releases to send out to local publications or relevant authoritative websites. Getting on these sites increases the chances that a prospect will see these articles instead of any negative reviews
- Reach out to influencers in your community or your niche, and ask them to provide positive feedback on your service or product if they’ve used it
Some of these tasks can be quite challenging, but if you can dedicate an hour or two a week to this task then we bet that your business will increase.
How To Respond To Reviews
There are a few basic guidelines when it comes to responding to reviews, positive or negative. First, let’s approach negative reviews:
- Don’t get combative or argumentative. Many businesses go viral in the worst ways because they let a customer get under their skin.
- Accentuate the positive and only give the facts of the interaction, if an interaction escalates. Tell them how you will improve your services next time, take their feedback about the product or service to heart, and/or ask them to give them another chance in the near future.
- If a review does give misleading information or attacks the character of you or your customers, try to flag it for review and respond in a sober, rational manner. Remember to stick to the facts.
For positive reviews, it’s much easier. The trick to appearing sincere online when thanking a customer is to 1) don’t use a canned response since customers can see when every message is the exact same, and 2) make every response personable and unique.
What you may find challenging about doing this work leads us into the next section….
How To Be A Part Of The Online Conversation
As we said earlier, long gone are the days of one-way conversations where you talk to your customers and they don’t talk back. The dangers of doing this have already been revealed, and you must understand a big point of reputation management and being an online business:
That you’re a person who is interacting with other people online.
No one wants to talk to a nameless, faceless corporate brand anymore. They want to feel like there’s another person who’s going to care about their business and solve any problems that arise when doing business.
So, other than responding to reviews, keep this in mind and find places to talk to your customers. A few of these include:
- Prominent Facebook pages in your niche or community
- Twitter conversations about relevant topics to your business (just search and find something)
- Discord channels, Facebook groups, or Reddit feeds
- YouTube live broadcasts
There are more than likely lots of influencers or other prominent businesses already using these channels. There are definitely several places where the people in your niche congregate and talk together.
Introduce yourself, say hi, and let your personality come through your interactions (just like you do offline).
Popular Reputation Management Tools
Podium, Birdeye, Reputation, and Yext are a few of the most popular tools available that’ll help you request reviews, notify you of any chat about your business, and easily respond to any mentions of your business.
Although these tools can help, it’s wiser to do the work yourself starting out. Or to have a skilled marketing team handle this work along with paid ad management, SEO, social media posting, or any other marketing tasks a team like ours would perform.