10 Online Reputation Management Tips for Small businesses
Online marketing professional spend many hours giving advice on managing online reviews and ratings for small businesses. However, your online reputation has a broader impact than your reviews on Google and Trustpilot. There’s hardly a business out there today that doesn’t get the occasional complaint from a customer. Ideally, you should resolve such issues before it gets to a point where the customer believes that the only recourse they have is to share their complaints through a public forum or go online to warn people about your products or services.
The internet has greatly reduced the barriers between one customer and another – thus, word-of-mouth now travels faster than ever before. Having the best local reviews in your city may not help your business if your online reputation has been tarnished.
Online Reputation Management
For many small businesses, the total lack of proactive online reputation management leaves them in a precarious position. With nothing more than just a simple website to represent your business on the web, you’re in a dangerous position if anyone creates malicious posts on social media or creates a new website to target your business, as these items could easily rank on search results. Having negative reviews and comments rank in organic search results can directly affect your bottom line.
With this in mind, here are 10 online reputation management tips for small businesses:
1. Create A Presence On Any And All Relevant Social Media Platforms
Your business should ideally have Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts at minimum. If you are in a highly-competitive industry, you may need to be on some additional social media platforms, some of which may be specific to your niche.
For B2B and/or expert-service types of businesses, having employees and managers on LinkedIn may be essential. Most businesses will also benefit from having accounts on video sharing sites like Vimeo and YouTube.
2. Don’t Neglect Your Social Media Accounts
It’s not enough to just create social media accounts for your business and leave them floating on the internet. You need to customize your social media profiles and grow your audience on each platform. With the help of social media marketing, you can use your social media accounts to engage with your customers and to boost your influence and online reputation.
3. Consider Your Products and Brand
You may need to think about social profiles and online content for more than just your business name. If you have product and brand names beyond your business name, you should develop content to rank for those names as well. You may need to create websites, social media profiles and online content for each and every product or brand under your business.
4. Protect People That Are Linked to Your Company
You should have strong media presence if you are the owner, founder, or chief executive of a business. Your social media profiles should be unique and easy to find. As already mentioned, keeping a low online profile in the name of maintaining privacy online exposes your enterprise to online defamers and slanderers.
In many cases, the business’s identify is closely linked with their owners, and a comprehensive online reputation management strategy is crucial for these. Consumers often search for lawyers, dentists, and doctors by name, so protecting the people that are associated with your business is important.
5. Implement Authorship Where Possible
Declaring authorship is a vital marketing tool in 2022, and can offer many benefits when implemented correctly. This is mainly for companies where the proprietor/founder is closely linked with the company’s identity. Google requires authors to be individuals; thus, tags must be associated with individual Google profiles and not business pages.
Using author tags means that you’ll be posting articles and blog posts on different platforms, or else it’s not worth it – which takes us to the next tip.
If you do not have a blog for your business in 2022, you are definitely doing something wrong with your online marketing campaign. Blogging is a powerful tool for local SEO because it helps a website rank higher for local searches (if done correctly) and offers content for your social media accounts.
When it comes to your online reputation, your blog will not only rank for your business name, it will also give you a suitable platform where you can directly respond to any questions or concerns regarding your business.
When responding to negative reviews or online complaints, seriously consider that there may some flaws in your business that need to be addressed – especially if you receive lots of negative feedback about a particular aspect of your business.
Listen. Don’t be inflexible. Look for creative ways to give your customers what they want without causing a lot of friction.
If you or your business does something wrong or messes up, own up to it and offer a sincere apology to those who have been affected. Being transparent and genuine in your apology can go a long way in diffusing a situation and arriving at an amicable solution.
Always remember to make sure that your apology is authentic. Anything short of a real apology may end up doing more harm than good.
9. Avoid Getting Into Online Arguments
Nowadays, it’s very easy to be lured into online confrontations, even if you are technically or morally right. It is important that you avoid getting into online arguments at all costs because you may end up losing in the end by just coming across as unprofessional, rude or petty. Worse yet, you may actually be wrong and once you become aware of this fact, you could end up saying thing that injure your reputation.
The most appropriate thing to do is to take communications offline for a more civil conversation.
10. Make The Investment
Last but not least, online reputation management is an investment, both in money and time. Most small businesses tend to ignore proactive online reputation management or choose to do it themselves on a tight budget and on an as-needed basis.
However, online reputation management should be a major component of your digital marketing strategy if you want to run a successful business. If you don’t have the time to do it, don’t know how to, or just aren’t getting the results you are looking for, hire a professional to manage your online reputation for you.