In a piece published in the Argus Leader, Alex Halbach discussed how online reputation management has become a concern for local businesses across industries. As Halback points out, most people can’t remember the last time they pulled out the Yellow Pages to find a roofer, or wrote out a letter of complaint longhand and sent it in the mail. Today, businesses interact with their customers online.
This is a good thing. After all, a positive review can be better than word of mouth since lots of people will potentially see it and you’ll get more prospects. On the other hand, a negative review will be around for a very long time, maybe forever.
Halbach suggests a three step process for small businesses: monitor, manage, and promote. “Monitor” means to check Google and the top SERP positions and set up a Google Alert for mentions of your company at a minimum. There are many other tools available for this as well. Also, establish your local listings on sites such as Yelp and Google Businesses, and keep an eye on those postings as well.
“Manage” refers to keeping a handle on your social media. If you aren’t managing your accounts yourself, make sure you entrust the task to a team member who has clear instructions and goals about your strategy. If you do get a negative review, don’t respond out of anger and frustration. Relax and take a break. Only answer when you’re calm, collected and for a strategic purpose. Arguing with a troll may feel good, but it’s unlikely to help matters.
Finally, “promote” means that you actively market your business and interact with your customers online. Content marketing is a huge aspect of this; it’s a good idea to consider setting up a blog or YouTube channel, or both.
Gone are the days when Online Reputation Reviews and management meant waiting for something bad to show up online. Today, it means getting in front of a bad situation and keeping up-to-date with your brand image online. It’s a tall order for small business owners, who are normally swamped with work, but in today’s world, it’s a priority.