6 Steps to Managing the Online Reputation of Your Small Business

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As a small-business owner, you are probably running a marathon within your company every day, hopping from one task to the next with a million things to worry about. You probably feel like there is no time to eat and breathe, let alone “Google” your brand name. However, you have to understand that monitoring and improving your online reputation is not a superficial way to spend your precious time. It is critical and essential to growing your small business.

If you are running a small business, online reputation management should be a priority. It is true that every company experiences conflict with clients at some point. However, when a dissatisfied customer decides to voice his opinion on review sites like Yelp, it can be disastrous for your business. Unfortunately, it is tough to please every customer. However, even with all these annoyed customers posting negative reviews about your business, it is possible to maintain a positive online reputation. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Do not ignore a bad review: We all make mistakes, and sometimes a customer may get so upset that he or she might post a bad review online. This review, if ignored, can lead to a significant loss of business and reputation. If you were at fault, it is best to reach out to the customer and try to resolve the concerns as quickly as possible. Most often, such customers, after their concerns are resolved, not only return to you for future business but also recommend your business to others.
  2. Be professional, and not emotional: We all have a tendency to let our emotions speak for us sometimes. However, as a business owner, you must act in a mature and professional way. When you come across a negative review, try to look at it from the customer’s perspective, and take your time to think through the strategy of addressing and resolving the problem.
  3. Post useful content: Creating high-quality content is one of the best ways to give your business a position as a trusted voice in your industry. Remember to use a friendly and conversational tone instead of confusing jargon. Sharing stories about your products and other experiences can humanize your brand and allow you to better relate to customers.
  4. Stay active on social media: Being active on social media is a brilliant way to manage and improve your online reputation. Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter attract millions of users every day. Posting your articles and blogs on these social networks can help you reach out to wider audiences.
  5. Monitor online conversations: Even if you are not posting about your business, others are. It is important for you to know what people are saying about your brand and how they perceive it. For instance, customers could be posting nasty comments about your customer service on social media or third-party review sites. If you were unaware of this, you would never realize how serious the issue is and how much it is affecting your reputation.
  6. Promote positive reviews: You must encourage your happy customers to post positive reviews on websites like Yelp and Google. Getting these reviews posted on multiple sites will help to increase the positive content about your business. You can highlight positive comments about your business by integrating it into your web content. Regularly publishing positive customer reviews will not only improve your business’s reputation but will also help to improve your SEO.

When it comes to online reputation management, information is power. Even if your online reputation is not what you would want it to be, it is always better to be aware of where you are rather than ignore the facts. Staying on top of your online reputation can also help you identify and address any potential problems before they spin out of control.

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