A Guide to Online Reputation Management for Small Businesses

In an increasingly technologically driven world, digital marketing is gaining traction. Almost everyone has access to the Internet, and a large chunk of the human population has a social networking account that allows them to stay in the loop of what is happening online. Hence, businesses have also taken the initiative to build up their online persona to make them more visible as players in a particular field. Businesses have benefited from the boost of accessibility that the Internet has provided. But take note that competition amongst players has also increased. These businesses not only have to have an online presence, but they have to have the best online presence.

Businesses have been working toward improving their online reputation management to gain the best visibility and reach amongst all the other companies present online. To simplify, online reputation management refers to the actions taken by a business to improve the perception of their business to potential customers who see them online. In a way, ORM activities can be divided into two. First, identify the online resources that your potential customers could utilize to help them know more about your business. Second, ensure that these resources are utilized so that your business is portrayed in a positive light.

With that in mind, it is time that, as a business owner, you take down some notes and consider these five tips that you should look out for and ought to do when you want to improve your online reputation management. You’d be surprised at how easy and affordable these five steps are, and you don’t even have to pay a lot to get started at making your online reputation better.

Make sure your business listings are up to date

Information such as location and business hours are two things that remain essential to the customer. Potential clients will search up these things on Google My Business or Yelp, and they will likely go to those businesses with clearly defined locations (i.e., landmarks and pictures of the area) and business hours. Thus, they won’t get lost or waste their time if the business is closed on that day.

However, be sure to stick to what you write on your business listing! If you don’t, you might have to watch out for the second thing on this list keenly if you disappoint your customer’s expectations.

Muster up the courage to read and respond to your online reviews

As much as business owners dread having to encounter negative reviews of their business, you have to look through the online reviews that customers leave. In doing so, you can grasp how your reputation is likely spreading across the town. You can even find out if somebody might be trying to sabotage your reputation!

If you suspect a negative review is fake, always take it seriously. Consider hiring defamation solicitors if you notice a consistent nameless internet saboteur destroying your businesses’ image. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to quiet these people with the right amount of legal support from internet law specialists.

On the other hand, if the reviews left are genuine, whether positive or negative, always think about these reviews as the first impression of your online customer market. A simple “thank you” to positive reviews left, and an apologetic message for those negative ones will build up the relationship you have with your customers. It is a golden opportunity to connect with your people, which is essential to every successful business.

online presence

Manage your social media content well

Almost everyone has a social networking site. Even if your business does not have a social media account, people will likely be talking about their experiences with your business on social media. Hence, it is better to have one to manage your social media presence better.
With social media, branding is vital. From creatives down to the customer service experience that they get from you. It is essential to set a cohesive experience to make it seem like your business knows what it is doing.

Be hands-on with your online press

Apart from online reviews, the mentions of your business in the professional media sphere are critical. A simple blog post that mentions you in their list of “restaurants to look out for” or a scathing review from a food critic is likely to have a drastic effect on the public’s perception of your business.
Hence, you have to know what’s out there to contact the press if you need to mitigate the negative and thank them for writing something positive about your business. Apart from your customers, you also need to be a relationship with credible people and institutions in your field.

Try ORM software

You can look at this list to see which apps have served the field of ORM best. For starters, here are basics that you can look forward to when you get ORM software:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Customizing how reviews are seen
  • Creating customer surveys
  • Having data analytics to analyze trends in your business and its field

Once you get the hang of these technicalities, your online reputation will be better in no time.

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