I don’t have to tell you it’s important to manage your online reputation. I also don’t have to tell you it gets more and more challenging by the day. Before you just had to worry about newspapers writing about your business. Now you have to worry about what is being said on review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, social networks like Facebook and Instagram, forums like reddit, websites and blogs. The good news is that you can take more control over what is being said about you online. Today, we’ll give you your own Online Reputation Management Checklist so that you can keep tabs on your brand’s (or business’) reputation and we’ll show you what you can do when something negative comes your way.
Online Reputation Management Checklist
A Harvard Business School study suggests that if a restaurant’s Yelp score goes up one star, its revenues will go up anywhere from 5 to 9 percent. Can you imagine what it would do to other local businesses like doctors and dentists???
On a darker note, a drop in Yelp stars can affect your local business right where it hurts. All local businesses have issues with clients. Nobody is perfect, but, if you are on top of your reviews and social mentions you can do something about them.
If you’re hiding your head in the sand like an ostrich, chances are your local business will not survive. You are at the mercy of the many people out there who are reviewing you and your business. If you let them control the conversation, you are going to pay for it in revenue and possibly your business. It’s not so hard to manage your online reputation, just follow the steps below and you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
1. Claim Your Name On All Web Properties & Social Media Sites
The last thing you want is for a competitor, angry employee or troll to own your domain or social media handles. Start off by purchasing various versions of your URL and a few misspellings. Then, have your webmaster redirect them to your official site. Then, get started on Social Media. Even if you don’t plan to keep them active, you should own your handles. The bare minimum is Twitter and Facebook. If you really want to be on top of things, claim your listing on review sites like Yelp and Foursquare, and open accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Below is a list of social media sites you need to claim:
2. Check Your Listing & Profile Info
Take the time to go through each site and make sure your most important information is right: name, address, phone, website link. If they are not, contact the site and ask them to update it, it is to their benefit to have accurate information, so most sites will be happy and willing. Make sure that when you update them you include keywords to help with SEO. For example, if you are a dentist in Columbia, MD, make sure that phrases such as Columbia Dentist & Dentist in Columbia are used in your profiles and listings.
3. Stay Active on Social
It’s not enough to just have opened a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account. Why Social Media? Say you are a restaurant and someone searches for you on Google. If you have a properly SEO’d your website, you may come up in the number one position (below and ad as in the example above) and then be followed by multiple of those sites and social networks you claimed above. If your site is not properly SEO’d, there is a chance that they will come up before you. In either case, you want to control the message and stay active on social so that if that searcher clicks on your Facebook listing, they can get fresh information about your business and so you have a chance to capture them in order to market to them at a later date.
4. Sign Up For Reputation Monitoring
You don’t have time to log onto Google every day and google your business. Instead, sign up for a reputation monitoring service (can be Google Alerts). Schedule good press and mentions to social media. Then, engage those who have mentioned your business. You’ll also be made aware of any negative mentions so you can address them and quench those fires before they get out of control.
5. Respond to Reviews
You also want to respond to reviews. It’s the same as if you heard someone talking about your business at the check out line at the supermarket. You’d probably say something whether it was bad or good. First, it shows those who come across the review that you care about your customers and your business. You also give yourself a chance to correct situations or apologize when needed (businesses are run by humans, it is ok to make mistakes, and if you know how to respond to negative reviews, you will be able to turn around those situations).
Chances are if you’re hearing the same thing over and over again in reviews you should pay attention. If you keep seeing scallops in your negative reviews, you may want to consider taking them off the menu. If people keep raving about that amazing receptionist, you may want to promote her or have her train the rest of your service staff. These small changes can make or break your local business (check out our tag cloud for an easy way to listen to the important aspects of your reviews)
7. Learn When To Say “I’m Sorry”
Everyone messes up. Yup. Everyone. This is usually more of a risk the bigger your team is. Good thing is that people are sometimes forgiving. If you get a negative review, it is sometimes best to be honest, admit your mistake, and offer your apologies to the client. VERY IMPORTANT – Also let them know how you plan to rectify the situation so it does not happen to another customer. This will depict you as someone who truly cares about their customers, and maybe…if you do this right…change that angry customer into a brand advocate.
8. Monitor Principals & Related People
You’ll want to keep track of what is being said about (and being said by) important people in your local business. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you may want to keep tabs on what is being said about your Chef. This is great information to push out on social media. Help your staff to become active in social media and come up with simple rules to follow to make sure that everyone is on brand.
If you’re not writing about it, Google has no way to find you. You need to create content to allow this search giant to have more ways to reach you. It also helps you to communicate better about your business to potential clients. You don’t know what to write about? Here are some ideas by industry:
- Restaurant: A piece on your neighborhood and how it inspires your dishes.
- Hair Salon: A piece on the latest Brazilian straightener.
- Dentist: A piece on the advantages and disadvantages of different teeth whitening techniques.
10. Make The Investment
Make the time investment to spend the time to engage your customers, write relevant content, and stay abreast of what is being said about you. Just one hour a day invested in this can significantly increase your return on investment.
If you are looking for the best reputation management software, check out Socialdraft. We monitor 700 billion websites in real time for mentions of your brand or business. When something new comes up, it is brought into the dashboard where you can preview the information, click thru to engage, and share to your social media account with a few clicks. This is not the only feature Socialdraft has to offer, you can schedule social media posts, pull reports, identify the most important influencers and more. If you’re curious, take Socialdraft for a risk-free trial.