There are so many elements of small business marketing to keep up with that it can be easy to let some things slip. But if there is one area that you always want to stay on top of, it’s your reputation – it’s simply too important to ignore!
Why It Matters
Before getting into the advice, you may wonder why managing your small business’s reputation is important. It comes down to the fact that your reputation is one of the biggest factors influencing a potential customer’s conversion journey from a lead to a client. Most people will take a few minutes to check a company’s reputation before hiring or buying from them the first time, so having a poor reputation can mean that your company misses opportunities.
Start By Googling Your Company
Before you get too far in your reputation management, start by googling your company’s name. This will give you a better idea of your starting point. Pay attention to positives and negatives in the search results.
If you see negatives, think about how you can address or overcome them. Plan to make changes to prevent similar complaints in the future. Also, make a note of those negatives and where they are so that you can directly address them in your strategy. Suppose you have a lot of negative reviews on one website. In that case, you may want to focus your review strategy on responding to those reviews.
Claim Your Listings and Domains
A simple step that you hopefully haven’t overlooked is to register and list your business on all of the major directories. At the very least, make pages on Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The more platforms you can claim a page on, the better.
This connects to the tip, claiming your domains. If your business name is still available on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social media platforms, claim it. If www.[yourcompany].com is available, buy the page. Claim the Gmail account as well.
Going through this process serves several purposes. To start, it gives your customers even more ways to reach you. It also helps expand your online presence and deliver confidence in your brand by providing the same information everywhere.
It also prevents anyone with ill will from posing as your company. Others don’t even need to have bad intentions to hurt your business. If someone from a business with a similar name makes a Tweet, potential customers may think it is from your company. There’ll be even more confusion if they can’t find your official Twitter page, as they may assume the one with the controversial post is you.
Encourage and Respond to Reviews
Reviews are a crucial part of your online reputation. Think of reviews as a modern-day extension of referrals to family and friends. Few people buy products or services without looking at a minimum of a few reviews.
To take advantage of this, encourage your customers to leave reviews. A simple reminder can do wonders. If you don’t have enough reviews, you can also offer discounts or freebies on their next purchase in exchange for a review.
Then, go out of your way to respond to reviews, both the good and the bad. In the case of good reviews, you can say something simple like, “I’m glad you enjoyed our product. We can’t wait to work with you again.” In the case of bad reviews, try to resolve whatever issue the reviewer mentions. For example, if they complain about product quality, offer a replacement. This will show others that if an issue does arise, you will work hard to overcome it. It essentially gives you the impression of outstanding customer support.
Don’t Create Fake Reviews
It can be tempting to use fake reviews to promote your business. This is especially true with so many fake reviews online and for smaller businesses that don’t have many reviews yet. However, it can hurt you in the long run.
The bottom line is that someone will eventually realize you have fake reviews. When they do, your reputation will plummet.
Create a Reputation As an Expert
Part of managing your reputation also comes down to the content that you create and posts you share on social media. You want to create content that frames your company as an expert. You can do this by sharing recent research and guides. Hopefully, people will start associating your company with expertise. Then, when they want a product or service your company offers, they will turn to you.