Today’s digital environment makes it increasingly important for small business owners to understand reputation management and actively participate in maintaining their online reputation. Reputation management includes your social media presence but it’s also much more than that. Let’s look at five steps for small businesses to focus attention on online reputation.
Claim Your Business Online
The first step is to claim your business online. The biggest reputation sites are:
- Trip Advisor
Claiming your business gives you the opportunity to update and correct your business listing, address, contact phone numbers, and so forth. Without these corrections and updates, your business appears less trustworthy. Claiming your business also will boost your local search rankings. This is important because a majority of searches are for local businesses, so it is important to have the correct information. Also, studies have found that the majority of small businesses are not optimized for local searches, making this task even more important.
Become a Thought Leader
Small businesses should always make the effort to sell their products and brand online. But being a thought leader is more than that. If you know a subject related to your business you can create content that shows your expertise. If you own a bakery you can post recipes or videos of your favorite creations. If you are a pottery artist you can show how to make simple ceramics. This will promote your business while also showing you have the knowledge to back up the products you sell.
Be Engaging on Social Media
We are not talking about posting idle chat or pet pictures. The point of using social media for your business is to interact positively with customers and prospects. Post information about your business or some aspect of it, answer questions and interact with feedback whether it is positive or negative. If a customer is unhappy with your business, others are far more likely to see that than any positive comments. Therefore, interact with that customer and try to turn the negative into a positive.
Respond, But Also Generate Reviews
Generate reviews? It sounds like you are creating fake positive reviews of your business. Not at all, in fact most business reviews on social media platforms come from other sources. You can add a “leave a review” link on your website which sends you an email. You can solicit reviews through emails from customers who have given you their email address. You can even send out comment cards in the mail to be returned. Always ask permission to use the comments you receive, even a first name and last initial are better than anonymous reviews. A good way to solicit reviews easily is to add a review web page link on the customer’s receipt, then circle it and ask for their comments at the time of sale. You can also add a review link if you have an e-commerce page.
Small businesses need every advantage to survive, and visibility is a key part of beating your competitors. You may have a small advertising budget but that doesn’t mean you have to skip local events. However you choose to participate whether it be a local fair, sporting event, or charity run, do whatever you can to make your business visible. People are more likely to visit businesses they see as an active part of their community.
DigiSphere Marketing in Sarasota, FL can assist with your business reputation management. We have tools to help respond quickly to negative comments in a timely manner. We can help support and defend your business reputation online. Click the link on our Reputation Page for a free consultation. Or call us at 800-409-4079.