Reputation management for small businesses isn't rocket science. Small businesses just like yours are seeing great results growing their businesses by focusing on improving their online reputation.What exactly is online reputation management (ORM)?
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
- 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
Focus on Multiple Review Sites
Do you want the livelihood of your business hanging with one company? I sure don't. For this simple reason, your online reputation management must focus on multiple review sites. Some people may love Yelp and others don't. If your sole focus is on building positive Yelp reviews you may lose all those people who only check Google.
Identify the top 3-5 review sites that are most appropriate for your business and focus on building reviews on each site.
Keep it Real
You may feel an urge to put up positive reviews from your friends and family...don't. Trying to game the system is unethical and could be detrimental to your business. Make sure the reviews being posted are from real customers and encourage customers to be specific about what they liked about your business. This will be a much better strategy long term for your business.
Recent Reviews Rock
Don't forget the stat above...73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant. Reaching a certain number of reviews and calling it good won't work. You must have a plan in place to consistently generate reviews.
Your online reputation management should not be a single event or one-time project. It must be an ongoing focus and a system that is running constantly in your business.
You Need Quantity & Quality
You must have high-quality reviews/ratings and a lot of reviews. We're all looking for the best businesses we can, so high-quality reviews kind of speak for themselves.
Why do you need to have a high quantity of reviews? Here's an example from a Google search for "Denver plumbers".
As you can see, the company with the highest review rating also has the most reviews by a long shot! I'm going to be checking out Doctor Fix-It first before I move on to the other ones on this list. Having a 5-star review rating really doesn't mean much if you only have 2 reviews. You must have a decent quantity of reviews in order for people to feel your rating is credible.
Negative Content Isn't The End of the World
- They give you the opportunity to make things right with an unhappy customer.
- They present an opportunity to learn how you can make improvements in the future.
- They bring credibility to all the positive reviews you have. People are skeptical when they don't see any negative reviews and start to wonder whether the positive reviews you have are real or manufactured.
One of the main aspects of online reputation management is monitoring what is being said about your company. Monitoring search results, social media sites, and review sites should be part of your plan.
You may choose to do this manually or you may choose to enlist the help of an expert. Which leads me to my next point...
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help
We all have strengths and weaknesses, if marketing is not one of your strengths don't be afraid to ask for help. Your online reputation management is too important to screw up.
There are a number of services, marketing agencies, or marketing consultants who can help you with your online reputation management. If you don't want to do this yourself, take the time to find and hire an expert who can help.
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