In today’s fast-paced digital world, small businesses like yours need to take care of their online reputation. Customer reviews are important to help you grow online. Since the Internet allows people to share their thoughts, including thoughts on your business, it’s important to keep a positive online image by monitoring and managing your reputation.
Online reputation management is about taking charge of how people see your business online. This includes keeping an eye on what’s said, responding to customer feedback, handling reviews and purposefully creating a positive digital image.
These reviews are so important to your business because customers can base their future purchases on what they see online. These potential customers consider online reviews as trustworthy as word-of-mouth recommendations from their friends, if not more so.
Managing your business’s online reputation, including responding to reviews on platforms like your Google Business Profile, might feel overwhelming. Yet, there are simple ways to improve your online image. Just by keeping an eye on reviews and replying to comments, you can build trust with potential customers and boost sales.
Keep an eye on online feedback
With the rise of social media platforms, review websites and online forums, businesses need to understand how their online presence affects their reputation. This involves looking at factors like reviews and ratings and your activity on social media and review platforms such as Google Business Profile, Yelp and Facebook.
Keep an eye on your business reviews and ratings to maintain a good reputation. Positive reviews not only look good, but they also boost your visibility on search engines and directories, improving your chances of attracting more customers and increasing revenue.
To make monitoring your reviews easier, try using some online tools. One of these tools is Easyleads, an all-in-one sales and marketing CRM platform that allows you to track customer conversations, including your Google Business Profile. You can also set up Google alerts for news articles and blogs to notify you if any relevant content is published about your business. Google alerts also allow you to monitor for any negative comments. Keep an eye on search engines too. Your customers often rely on search engines to research and make choices about products and services.
Why people trust reviews
Online reviews strongly impact customer decisions. Recent stats reveal that 85% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as recommendations from friends. So, why do people trust reviews?
You can answer this in a few ways, but one main reason is that people tend to trust online reviews as they are from people like them. They know that when Sally H., from Calgary, shared a 3.5-star review of a Red Deer-based sporting goods store she visited during her son’s hockey tournament, this review was from a real person just like them; they are someone who shuttles their son around the province for hockey tournaments every weekend.
People also trust reviews because they have the same problem as Sally - they are a hockey parent looking for a last-minute pair of gloves to replace the ones their son left at home. The Red Deer business solved Sally’s problem, so why can’t it solve the same problem for them?
Online reviews are also a trusted source of information because they are seen as transparent. When reading Sally’s review, readers know she filled it out anonymously and voluntarily. The store likely didn’t know who she was, when she would submit the review, or if she would at all. Readers also know that Sally’s review is usually not changed or removed.
Respond and encourage positive reviews
Managing your online reputation depends on how quickly you handle reviews. If you’re already watching your online feedback, the next step is to reply to all positive and negative comments.
If the comment is negative, apologize and offer a solution. It’s best to do this on the platform where the comment was shared. Strive for openness and demonstrate that honesty and integrity guide your customer service. Use this feedback as a learning opportunity. If the matter is sensitive, consider reaching out privately to customers for further discussion. Remember, people prefer transparency to perfection, and your goal is to build trust.
While you have to deal with the bad, you should also encourage happy customers to share positive feedback about your business by simply asking for reviews. Customers are often willing and would be delighted to leave reviews, but you need to ask them. They may not do it on their own. We recommend asking right after a sale, when customers are happy with your product and your business is on their minds.
Seeking reviews from previous customers also creates positive content highlighting your products or service quality. Positive reviews help balance out any negatives. You can make this process easy by automating it, such as setting up automated emails after a sale to request reviews.
Build trust through online reputation management
Building trust with your potential and current customers is the overall goal of online reputation management. It may be intimidating knowing anything could be said about your business. But having a strategy in hand to manage the reviews, the good and the bad, can make it a much more positive experience for you and those reading your reviews. They are happy to see all the rave reviews about your product or service and are comforted to see you effectively responding to the negative comments. So, get out there and start asking for those reviews!
If you need help growing and managing your online reputation, contact EDGE Marketing to see how we can help.
Posted: December 19, 2023