If you own a business your online reputation is essential now more than ever before. With the changes in consumer buying managing your online reputation is an important component to growing your customer base.

Reviews on Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook and other websites will shape consumer decisions on where they will spend their time and money. Taking ownership of your Google My Business page is extremely important and also helps with your search engine optimization.

A variety of components determine an online reputation for a business, these include (but are not limited to):

  • Blog posts
  • Forum content
  • Social media content and responses to customers
  • Reviews & replies to these reviews
  • Press releases

As you can see, reputation management is not just focused on one thing. No, your reputation as a business is determined by many things.  It’s important to keep a close watch on these components to ensure they are accurately depicting your brand.

Reputation is key to business, regardless of your niche

Whether you own a hotel, cafe, sneaker store, or clothing outlet, customers can leave reviews online. Whether for an individual product or the overall experience, these reviews can be seen by everyone, revealed by a quick Google search.

The majority of the time these reviews will be good (so long as your business is good…). You want to push these to the front of Google searches, perhaps highlighting these on a separate page on your website, or sharing the reviews on social media.

However, occasionally you may receive negative reviews. This is where reputation management comes in. Experts recommend responding to all negative reviews in a positive manner, let the customer know you’re sorry about their experience, you may even suggest some sort of compensation if necessary.

As a business owner the goal is to have all 5-star reviews but no business is perfect and on occasion a less than perfect review will be posted. Whether it’s a 5-star or a 1-star review you do want to respond. Leaving a 1-star review with no response will cause customers to question if they should patron your business. Letting consumers shape your business’ online presence could be very dangerous. Responding to all reviews will keep the “playing field” level and allow you to manage how people are talking about your business. If an experience fell short, it’s best to apologize and “own up to it.” For example, inviting the consumer to call and explain more about their experience. Take the conversation off-line in instances where a bad review has been written. Apologize and take ownership is key to answering less than stellar reviews.

Producing content that resonates with your brand and/or product

To further improve your online presence, it’s best to produce content that is relevant. Relevant content will resonate with your brand and audience. If the content is relatable your target audience will be more likely to be interested in your brand. Which could lead to becoming a repeat buyer. Brand loyalty is a huge benefit of reputation management.

One way you can do this is through regular social media posts. Social Media creates a forum which allows you to engage with your audience. Posting regular articles and blogs to your website is another option. Not only will this help resonate with customers, but this will build up your online presence and reputation – i.e. allowing more people to find your business.

Producing regular content also helps build up your search engine optimization (SEO). Providing DIY tips, top 10 lists, “how to” content, industry changes, new products and services can all help to boost your SEO. It will also help with your reputation in the search engine’s eyes. Writing unique content that is targeted to how your customer searches is a definite “win-win”.