Your Reputation Is Everything
As the Internet – and life – become more intertwined with social media, what others are saying about you, your products, services and business, matters more than ever. Not just with people but also with Google, Yelp, Bing and others who control much of the traffic that helps people find your business. That’s you can no longer afford to ignore reputation management. In fact, we take it even further to offer reputation marketing, in other words going from reactive to proactive.
Consider how many different ways people on the Web can impact your reputation. To properly manage your reputation, you must have a strategy to address all of these aspects. Starting with the obvious: people will visit review sites such as Yelp. But even simple search brings them into contact with your reputation as they can’t help but notice the number of stars next your business listing and those of your competitors where comparisons are made instantly. Everyone wants a 5-star or at least a 4-star rating, but what you absolutely want to avoid is having a rating lower than your competition. If, say most of the competition have 2 stars or less, than a 3-star business can actually come out looking pretty good. That does happen on occasion, but it can also lead prospects to decide maybe they will drive a little farther to get the kind of services or products you offer, or maybe even consider buying a different brand that was not their first choice, just so they can buy from a business with a good reputation.
Then there are qualitative discussions of your business on social media. This includes not only the obvious sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also forums and chat rooms. These need to be monitored as well as mentions in press releases, articles and on video sites. Youtube is the most popular by far, but other video sites like Vimeo and Daily Motion get a fair amount of traffic as well. Someone researching your business or products or services can find this potentially damaging information instantly on any of these sites by just using a search engine like Google, so these sites also need to be monitored to do a truly thorough job of managing your business reputation.
Fortunately, there are tools that can do an amazing job of checking for mentions and alerting you in real time so you can take corrective action. That action can include:
- contacting the individual (when possible) to either clear up a misunderstanding or rectify a genuine complaint they have
- posting a response (again, when possible) to publicly apologize or dispute the claim (resort to this only if all else fails)
- requesting that the host site remove the criticism if you have a strong case that the critic is wrong or has malicious intent
- simply leave the criticism alone and ‘bury’ it with more positive reviews
This last strategy is one we usually advocate, and it usually surprises business owners how easy it is to do, without resorting to fake reviews or shady tactics like bribing people to leave positive reviews. Most people do not realize that the odds are 30-to-1 that a spontaneously posted review will be negative. In other words, people are far more motivated by anger or even revenge to leave a review on their own initiative, than they are motivated by satisfaction.
So the solution is to simply take proactive measures to prompt satisfied customers to leave reviews. We have a number of techniques and some clever tools that make this a snap. Check out one such tool here. This is a simple but powerful mobile app that allows the business to quickly and easily collect reviews from satisfied customers while they are standing in front of you. Just ask, “Would you leave us a review?” They will almost always say ‘yes’. Then all you have to do is enter their phone number and click the big green button. That instantly sends a text to their phone with a link which sends them to your Google page to leave a review. Fast and easy! Contact us to learn how you can try out this review grabbing mobile app.