Not long ago, while attending a meetup for local business owners, I overheard an entrepreneur voicing his concern about how big brands have a significant advantage by having the budget and bandwidth to hire a reputation management firm or social media management service.
Fortunately for him (and our clients) a full-time resource is not necessarily the secret sauce for reputation management success. You can imagine his surprise when I told him, “Positive brand reputation is not something reserved for big brands. You can compete if you do this for just 20 minutes a day.” In fact, many of the businesses we know that have achieved significant growth through review sites do so without having a dedicated person.
Many hands make light work… or in this case, many tools make light work.
You can imagine his surprise when I told him, “Positive brand reputation is not something reserved for big brands. You can compete if you do this for just 20 minutes a day.”
If you feel like you are in the same boat and can’t quite decide how much time and effort to allocate to reputation and review management, then we want to give you a starting point to help you get a handle on your strategy. If you are a single-location business with fewer than 30 employees, then 20 minutes a day might just be your sweet spot for effective and sustainable reputation management.
Let’s take a look at ways to make the best use of your time allocation, as you strive to garner more visibility and gain more leads through proactive engagement in review sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Insider Pages, and others.
As a local business owner and entrepreneur, you probably wear a thousand hats. Regardless of the hat you are wearing, we all know that running a business is about the here and now and taking care of the customer that is right in front of you.
When you are caught in the details of running shop, it is virtually impossible to take a moment to evaluate incoming social mentions and reviews and take the pulse of customer sentiment. If this is your case, then we absolutely understand. You might have 20 minutes a day to manage your online reputation, but chances are those 20 minutes won’t happen during business hours.
Having real-time knowledge of the voice of your customer can help you avert a reputation and review management crisis. That’s why we recommend Hootsuite, the world’s leading social listening platform. With the new ReviewTrackers Hootsuite integration, users can now also seamlessly track reviews from sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google+, and Foursquare (among many others) from their own Hootsuite streams.
The 20×7 Approach: Getting to the Heart of Reputation Management
Truth be told, very few of us have time during the busy hours, but smart business owners know that long-term sustainability of a business demands chair time for planning, follow-up, and execution of tasks that may not be directly affecting the day-to-day operations, but in the long-run can set the stage for business success.
Setting aside 20 minutes per day can give you a competitive advantage and a good grasp on the trends affecting your industry, by assessing your feedback and the feedback of your competitors. We believe that with practice you will find your own rhythm; but until then, let us share a few suggestions on how to make the most of twenty minutes a day of reputation and review management:
Review consolidation and centralization is a matter of efficiency. When you use your ReviewTrackers tools, you should be able to access your dashboard and get a general feel of where you stand, along with alerts for issues you might have seen throughout the day via your Hootsuite integration. Dashboards let you have a more holistic view of where you stand. By assessing your reputation from the perspectives of trends instead of single-instance reviews, you will be better able to make corrections to business processes.
Fight Fires in Five Minutes
Your best and most enthusiastic advocates deserve recognition and engagement through review responses, but first things first. Tackle negative reviews utilizing a rapid response strategy, and ensure you have the facts right. Even when the reviewer is wrong, it is essential to respond politely and with a mentality that puts the customer first.
Fighting fires goes beyond posting responses and making wrongs right. Fix the problem at the root by making corrections to the way you do business, to avoid additional negative reviews on the same or similar issues.
Engage, Educate, and Expand Through Review Responses
You can use review responses as an opportunity to highlight what makes your business special and worthy of patronage. Tell your reviewer about lateral services he or she might enjoy in a future visit. The information you disclose will not only help your loyal customers but also encourage those using reviews to find you to give you a try.
With practice, you should be able to put together a review response that is relevant, engaging, and product-oriented in less than two minutes. This means you can respond to at least five reviews in ten minutes per day. With most small businesses receiving an average of two to four positive reviews per week, you will have more than enough time on your hands to work on other reputation and marketing efforts.
Be Proactive in Promotion and Publication
As a local business, chances are you will have a little leeway in terms of time, allowing you to focus on tasks aimed at expanding your Web presence and review site diversity. Make a list of all the review sites relevant to your industry, and make it a point of taking ownership of your profile and updating your content at the rate of two to three sites per week.
Once you have tackled the most relevant sites, you can use your time allocated to brand reputation management to the creation of promos, both paid and free. Through promotional activity, you will begin to see incremental leads, and you will increase your visibility. This, our dear friends, is the best way to use 20 minutes per day and get the most bang for your buck when it comes to reputation management.
Now that we have given you the breakdown, we hope you feel more empowered to be hands-on, without becoming discouraged. A little time and the right tools for reputation management can go a long way.