Ever been researching a restaurant you wanted to go to, only to find a bad review or two which made you reconsider? Chances are, you’re not the only one to have seen those bad reviews, and made the same decision.
According to recent research, approximately 85% of all potential consumers read online reviews for businesses, products, and services. And most of those find the reviews they read as trustworthy as a friend’s recommendation. And especially for startups or small companies, finding negative reviews (on Yelp or elsewhere) can have a massive negative impact which can undermine all the work they’ve done to build up a brand. So if you’re interested in good, stable, long-term success for your business, the effort to maintain a great positive online reputation should be a constant one.
So we’ve put together some great tips and tricks to help you protect your firm’s online reputation.
Help Customers Find You Online
If you don’t have a website, Google page, or Yelp page, it’s very hard for customers to give you any good feedback! So first thing’s first, ensure that customers can find you pretty easily online, and make certain that information is consistent across all these profiles. Even better, you can provide discounts or incentives for check-ins on Facebook or Yelp; and while it’s not asking for reviews, giving incentives to check-in can often yield more reviews.
Kill ‘Em With Kindness
It’s inevitable that any business will get a negative review. And customers are unfortunately more likely to leave bad reviews than good ones. But instead of letting bad reviews linger and turn potential customers away: kill ’em with kindness. Respond to every bad review apologizing for the poor experience, and giving helpful and considerate responses. Research shows that responding to bad reviews positively can make them work for you! Every bad review is an opportunity for good PR.
Build SEO to Good Press
When you Google your business name, what shows up on the first page? A good way to influence and protect your reputation is to build SEO to good press about your business, and to pages which make your page stand out positively, like a Better Business Bureau profile. When you protect search results like this, you ensure that any bad press is likely to pop on where no one’s likely to see it: on the second or third page.
Exercise Discretion Online
Another common problem is for employees or business owners. They might post something incriminating or unacceptable online, which carries over negatively to the business. So, exercise discretion online, and request that all staff do the same. Ensure that all social media accounts are locked down, and not visible to anyone but friends and connections. Avoid posting inflammatory content, and exercise care!
Set Up Alerts
Forewarned is forearmed, and one of the best things you can do is set up Google alerts for your business name. This means you’ll get notified whenever something relating to your business appears in Google search results, and, if it’s negative, you can begin to address it before it damages your business. Have an action-plan ready for the best and worst case scenarios!
The Bottom Line
With so many people using online information to influence their buying decisions, it’s important to remember that your firm’s online reputation matters! And if you mean to protect that reputation, the first steps should be to set up alerts for any new Google search results for your business name, and to ensure customers can find you easily online. Promote good reviews by soliciting check-ins, and give a boost to good press with SEO to protect search results for your business name. Exercise discretion online to avoid getting a bad rap attached to your business for personal behavior out of the workplace, and if you do happen to get negative reviews, always respond to them politely.