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Is Your Company’s Reputation Hurting Your Bottom Line?
Did you know that 81% of consumers do their research online before making a purchase, according to GE Capital’s Major Purchase Shopper Study. What’s more, according to the Local Consumer Review Survey, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?
This means that if you have negative press or bad reviews online, they are likely hurting your bottom line.
In this article, we’re going to look at how you can determine where your company’s online reputation stands, combat negative press and bad reviews, and set up a monitoring system for quick responses in the future.
Step 1: Google Yourself
Your first step is to start in the same place as your potential customers, by carrying out a Google search on your name, business name, and unique products. For example, let’s say that you are unfortunate enough to have the online reputation of “Amy’s Baking Company” – the restaurant from “Kitchen Nightmares” that even Gordon Ramsey walked away from – but without the notoriety that television fame brings.
Aside from the TripAdvisor reviews that seem mostly positive, you’ll notice that reviews on Google and Foursquare are worse than average overall. And, if you click through to the Yelp reviews (which most people will as they’re familiar with that site), you’ll find even worse ratings.
In addition to ratings and review sites, you may also find news articles, blog posts, and other links in the first page of search results for your business. Essentially, you’ll want to check everything.
Chances are, your business is not in such a bad shape. But even one negative spot on the first page of search results can turn a potential consumer away from your business.
Step 2: Claim Your Profiles
For any sites that allow people to review your business, you need to claim your profiles. This includes creating or claiming profiles on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Google+.
This is an essential step, even if you only have positive reviews, because you never know when that one bad consumer might come along.
Step 3: Start Responding
Most networks allow you to respond to reviews about your business. They encourage it, in fact. Here are guidelines for the top ratings and review networks.
- Read and reply to reviews on Google My Business (aka, Google Places and Google+ Local).
- How to respond to public reviews as a page admin on Facebook.
- Responding to reviews on Yelp.
- How to respond to traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.
- How can I respond to reviews on UrbanSpoon?
Unfortunately most of these networks make it very difficult or impossible to remove reviews, even if they are false, so your only option is to reply. When responding to reviews, remember that others (including your future potential customers) will be reading your responses, so be as helpful and professional as possible.
If your issue has more to do with negative news articles or reviews on blogs, your best bet is to comment on those articles. Use your real name, state at the beginning of the comment that you are from the business discussed in the article, and then, while being helpful and professional, counter the negativity in the article as best you can.
Often, journalists and bloggers will grab your comment and include it in the article, so anyone reading it will get your side of the story as well.
Step 4: Put Your Best Foot Forward
What can you do if you have a lot of problems in the search results for your name? After responding as best you can, your next job is to put more positive things about your company ahead of the negative.
Look how GoDaddy – the Web hosting company people love to hate – do it.
Near the bottom of the first page of search results, you can see the two negative entries about boycotting GoDaddy and why you should leave them. But look above that at what you see first when you search for GoDaddy…
- A paid Google AdWords ad.
- The main website listing.
- GoDaddy’s Google+ page (to the right).
- Additional domains owned by GoDaddy (Email login and GoDaddy Cares).
- Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, and CrunchBase profiles.
Aside from creating a Wikipedia page, you can utilize every one of those other items in order to push bad results for your business down the page. Even if you don’t get bad results off the first page, the lower you can get them, the better.
Step 5: Set up Reputation Monitoring
Last, but not least, you’ll want to know when people are talking about your business. Tools like Google Alerts can help you find new Web mentions of your business, and services like ReviewPush can alert you to new reviews on popular sites like Yelp, Facebook, etc.
This will help you stay on top of any mentions of your business – good or bad – and allow you to respond to them in a timely manner.
What have you done to maintain your company’s reputation? Please share in the comments!
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