With the rise of apps like Yelp and other online review sites, consumers are being influenced in more ways than ever when making a purchase decision both individually and for their business.
Not only are they being influenced by the reviews already on Yelp or Google Reviews, but consumers also have the ability to influence others by posting about their own experiences as well.
It’s more important than ever for small businesses to be aware of how they are perceived online. It’s not just a bad online review that will scare customers away either. Outdated websites and a lack of social media presence also scare away potential customers. Luckily, maintaining a positive online brand isn’t that difficult.
Here are three ways to manage your online reputation:
Taking control of your online reviews is vital for small businesses. When a potential customer searches for a product, service, or specific business, Google serves them a result with associated reviews. If your business is poorly rated, you are going to lose out on potential customers. One way to combat a negative review is with a positive review.
Some review platforms will also allow you to respond to the review. Your response to a negative review is your opportunity to make things right with the unhappy customer and to show prospects that you care about providing great service. In some cases, you may also be able to persuade the unhappy reviewer to take their feedback down. In any case, this can also be a great space to set the record straight so long as you don’t come across as uncaring in your response.
You can also influence your online reputation by knowing when to ask for a review. Rather than asking all of your customers to review your product or service, just ask happy and loyal customers to review your company online when sending out your request.
Finding a dormant social profile for a business is a turnoff for many online users. In fact, it's one of the many reasons why B2B social media strategies fail. It’s not difficult to maintain an active social media presence even with a limited schedule and budget. One way to keep your social networks active is to schedule posts with a social media management tool. Scheduling a few posts a day, and using relevant hashtags, will give your customers a way to connect with you and drive traffic back to your website.
Content marketing is big right now for anyone looking to improve their inbound marketing performance. Blogs give small businesses a place to show their customers what they know as well as serve as a way to pull in search traffic. Once you identify your company's target keywords, it's pretty easy to write and share new blog posts using them. Investing in a company blog is a quick and easy way to improve your online reputation.
For small businesses that rely on local customers, search results can have a big influence on potential customers.