How to Nail Your Business’s Online Presence and Reputation

online presence, online reputation, reputation, reputation management, customer reviews, reviews
Apr
13
2016

You spend a lot of time and resources creating the communications and messages that come from your company – like advertising and email campaigns, directory listings, search engine marketing initiatives, promotional efforts, and so on. You’ve got that all under control, no doubt.

However, how much do you know about what is being said about your business via customer reviews and social media posts (and everything else in between)? Even though those messages aren’t managed by you and your team, they can still play a massive role in how potential customers view your brand or business. In fact, that commentary could end up being the deciding factor that pushes a potential customer towards your business over your competitor’s. That’s why nailing your online presence and reputation management is so important for businesses of any size – especially large brands with a prominent local presence.

Here are a few ways to ensure your online presence is always in good shape. If you still need help getting started, the marketing experts at YP are always here to help.

Customer Reviews and Search

Search engine results play a big role in a consumer’s path to purchase, especially when it comes to searching for local products and services. In September of 2015, Moz wrote about a research study conducted with Google, surveying some 1,000 customers about how they interact with Google and other sites when searching for information. Respondents reported that online reviews impact 67.7 percent of consumer buying decisions, with more than half of respondents indicating that online reviews are “fairly, very, or absolutely an important part of their decision-making process.” That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Consider for a moment your own behavior. When you do a local search for a product or service, you likely pay close attention to the customer reviews displayed alongside the search results. Almost instinctively, we tend to find businesses with more positive reviews more appealing than those with negative reviews or no reviews at all. Therefore, given the importance many of us place on reviews in the discovery process, a part of reputation management is to not only monitor, pay attention, and respond to all business reviews in a constructive way, but also to solicit them wherever possible from satisfied customers.

See What They See

In order to really see what consumers see, approach your company as they would: search for your own business to see how it pops up in listings. Change your browser settings so that you’re browsing anonymously and start searching using keywords that you know your prospective customers would use to find the products or services you sell. This way, you’ll be able to see what information appears (and in what order), without being impacted by your search history. This information can go a long way toward determining how you message to your target customers, which keywords you use as part of your broader SEM strategy, and how your business ranks in relation to other local or national competitors.

Monitoring for Brand Mentions Through…

Alerts. Monitoring the online space for brand mentions is a critical part of reputation management. Set up alerts that will automatically notify you of anything published online using specific keywords. Tools like Google Alerts and Mention are a great place to start.

Social Alerts. Reviews on social sites can be powerful reputation builders (or reputation killers) because they’re often highly visible and very public. Using a social media dashboard like SocialOomph will allow you to feed social content streams into one location and make monitoring your brand mentions a snap.

Blog Comments. Did you write a post on your corporate blog or contribute content to another blog? Did you publish a thought leadership piece on your LinkedIn profile? If so, make sure you’re paying attention to any responses to the content you’ve posted and respond where appropriate to avoid the potential for the conversation to turn negative.

Monitor Review Sites. Make it a point to keep tabs on how your business appears and is reviewed on highly frequented reviews sites like Angie’s List, Facebook, Yelp, Google, etc. Doing this on a weekly basis is a best practice that could pay off in a big way in the long-term.

Leverage Great Reviews. If you receive a glowing review from a customer, celebrate it. Thank the customer and ask if they would allow you to showcase the review on a prominent place on your business website. Even consider taking it one step further by exploring the possibility of doing something on the line of a case study. Happy customers are often thrilled to act as brand ambassadors. Not to mention, their words of praise tend to be the best kind of endorsement any business could ever ask for.

Handle Negative Reviews. If a disgruntled customer posts a negative comment or leaves a less-than-stellar review online, resist the temptation to simply delete it. Instead, treat it like constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity to regain that person’s loyalty. Respond quickly, use a courteous tone, and make a genuine effort to resolve that person’s problem. And make sure you keep the conversation public, as doing so will show how much you truly care about your customers’ wants, needs, and expectations.

For more information on YP’s full suite of products that help national brands target, reach, engage, and convert local audiences, feel free to visit YP Marketing Solutions today.

 

Photo Credit: makdigitals via Compfight cc

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