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Reputation Management: What Are Customers Saying About You?
A few years ago, social media took the world by storm. Search engines saw the opportunity to integrate ratings and reviews into local business directories. A wise move, seeing that statistics show that 78% of social networkers rate online reviews as important when making buying decisions.
By Heather Blessington
In today’s online environment, we are faced with an extremely
fragmented local search industry that has been flourishing, seemingly
behind our backs.
The fact of the matter is you need to manage your online reputation.
This means keeping local business information current on the most
trafficked local search sites.
A good place to start is with Google Places and Yahoo Local. You will
find the process is as simple as “claiming” your business by verifying
ownership, and then entering your information including products and
services, and hours of operation.
Be sure to take the time to make your local page as complete as
possible since this data will help your local search engine rankings.
Take advantage of the free, built-in features such as multiple photo
upload, event listings and even coupon creation.
Monitor Ratings & Reviews
Since consumers can review or rate your shop at any time, the easiest
way to keep a handle on this user-generated content is by setting up
real-time alerts. Try Google Alerts it’s an easy tool that will
e-mail you every time your company name is mentioned on the Internet.
Here are some statistics to reinforce the importance of monitoring
customer ratings and reviews, according to OutspokenMedia.com:
80% of adults are more likely to buy a product based on recommendation
90% of consumers trust recommendations and reviews
Think about how many years it has taken you to build up your reputation
in your community. Now think about how quickly that reputation could be
tarnished by a few unhappy customers who are social media influencers
and know how to get their word out, and get it out fast.
Online reputation management is one task that you need to commit to,
otherwise don’t even bother getting started. If you don’t have the
resources to manage this internally, hire a marketing company with
experience in online reputation management to take care of this for
you. Your shop will be better for it and you’ll be able to sleep at
Stay Scared But Optimistic
I figure this article scared a few of you, which is good in a sense
because I don’t want ORM taken lightly. On the other side of the coin,
remember that positive online reviews will no doubt drive traffic into
Ask your valued customers to review your shop on Google Places and
start building up your arsenal of great ratings to overshadow any
negative ones that pop up. And if a negative comment appears, face it
head on. Contact the poster of the review ASAP and talk to them about
their experience. Try to make it up to them in whatever way you feel is
appropriate. This approach can work magic; I’ve seen many negative
reviewers actually return to follow up with a glowing positive review
after hearing from the company directly.
Stay informed knowledge is power.
Award-winning blogger and CEO of Duo Web Solutions, Heather
Blessington is a web technology veteran and a certified PMP with the
Project Management Institute (PMI). Her company provides monthly
columns focused on best practices in web marketing.
Excerpted from an article that originally ran in Motorcycle Product News, a sister publication of Engine Builder.