If someone you don’t know so well recommended a restaurant to you, would you eat there before you Googled it?
Today, where information is accessible in just a few clicks, running background checks on service providers is already second nature to us. As a small business owner, you need to think about your online reputation as the first thing that’s killing or winning you sales. To a great extent, it is up to you to manage, control and optimize the things people see when they look for you online.
Building a positive online reputation takes time and effort. Get started now, so that if something negative does come along, it can be balanced against plenty of good reviews.
Here are some things you can get started with today:
Did you know that content you publish to social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook) ranks high on Google? Engaging with clients on social media is a good idea anyway, but the search juice you get from it may just be the incentive you need. Do some research to see which social channels work best for your business and set up a presence there. In order for people to see your content on search engines, you’ll need to publish regularly to your business pages / accounts. This is a long term commitment, but your business will benefit in many ways: you’ll be able to establish yourself as an expert, enjoy increased exposure, build relationships with clients and become more personal with them.
Getting an occasional bad review is almost inevitable and happens to most businesses. The first rule to remember is don’t panic. Responding impulsively and emotionally is a recipe for disaster – just see what happened with Amy’s Baking Company.
Negative feedback can actually be a great opportunity to fix problems and make clients happy. If someone complains with a justified bad review, own up to your shortcomings, apologize sincerely and offer a free gift as a gesture of goodwill. Most complainers will be so impressed that they’ll feel the need to share the positive experience you ultimately gave them. And even if they don’t, your honesty, generosity and dedication to clients will make you look good to the general public.
However, if someone is lying or making unfounded allegations against you, do consider taking action to get the review taken down. The well-known small business directories care very much about their own platforms’ credibility and are likely to support your efforts to set things right.
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