What do you see whenever you Google your brand or business name? Does it look like you’re making a good first impression – that you’ve established a reputation that will encourage people to try out what you have to offer? Or do the search results put you in a bad light?
Depending on whether it’s positive or negative, your business’ online rep can either help you get more customers or drive people away. That’s why it’s critical for you to take an active role in managing it. Here are 7 smart tips to help you get started.
Mobilize your site. According to comScore’s Mobile Subscriber Market Share Report, over 100 million people in the US use smartphones. And they’re using these phones to search for information and find businesses. By making a mobile-friendly version of your website, you can reach mobile users who are looking for something specific, and give them a positive visitor experience.
Claim your listings. It sounds like a hassle, but claiming your business listings on online review sites and social networks can do your online business reputation a lot of good. First, it helps you be found more easily in an age when 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. Also: claiming online listings helps prevent brand identity theft, and ensures you have administrative control wherever you are listed.
Correct your listings. About $10.3 billion worth of potential annual sales are lost because of wrong, missing, or incomplete local data on online listings. That’s why, when filling out profiles, you have to make sure that you enter your business information accurately and completely: phone number, address, URLs, names, operation hours, map locations, etc. Change of address? Keep your listings updated and spare people the frustration of having to look elsewhere (read: your competition).
Monitor and manage online reviews. A Dimensional Research study showed that online reviews influence the purchase decisions of 90 percent of consumers. That’s why you have to monitor and manage reviews, respond to feedback, and listen in on the online conversations about your business. (The best way to do this is by using a tool like ReviewTrackers.) This way, you can protect your reputation, especially in cases where it’s being threatened by negative word-of-mouth.
Ask for customer feedback. Review solicitation is tricky – especially since sites like Yelp discourage it – but you can find creative ways to establish trust and show that your business is attentive to customers and, in turn, get more community-generated buzz. You can, for example, conduct feedback-generating surveys, drive awareness of your online review site profiles, or even use the ReviewTrackers review request tool that make the process of asking for feedback faster and more streamlined.
(Also check out: “Encouraging Positive Reviews without Actually Asking for Them”)
Set up Google Alerts for your business. Signing up for Alerts, Google’s content monitoring service, is one of the best ways to get an update every time something is posted online about your business. You can also use it for keeping current on your competitors or industry. Did we mention it’s free?
Use humor. Sometimes the best way to enhance your online reputation is to lighten up. Why? Because no one likes a business that takes itself way too seriously. On the other hand, humor sells: people love funny, and they won’t hesitate to like, follow, retweet, and share funny. Humor also humanizes your brand and lengthens your audience’s attention span.