Guest author Sara Fletcher is a professional blogger who writes on a variety of topics, ranging from SEO, social media and business.
Nowadays, a quick Google search is all it takes for customers to get a lasting idea of your small business. With more and more consumers performing their research online, the first impression can be a deciding factor in whether an individual decides to become a customer or not. If negative information and reviews dominate your online presence, then this can have lasting effects on your reputation. However, it doesn’t require extensive technical know-how or a large budget in order to manage your online reputation. The following tips can help small businesses get started on monitoring and improving their online reputation:
1). Monitor your Presence
In order to assess your online reputation, you’ll want to see what appears when searching your site. Take a look at search engine results for your name and business, and what appears in the first few pages. In addition, depending on the type of small business, you may also want to check your presence on sites such as Yelp and Foursquare. Keep in mind that monitoring your presence should not be a one-time task – you’ll want to stay in the loop as much as possible. Luckily, there are a variety of online monitoring tools, such as Google Alerts, Social Mention and Hootsuite that can help you stay within the dialogue.
2). Remove the Damage
While searching for your name and business, you may be seen several results that can have a subpar effect on your reputation. One tip is to try to contact these sites, asking them to remove the content from your site. You’ll also want to check your social media presence, and remove any embarrassing or negative content associated with your name. However, there’s a fine line between what you’re able to remove and what will stay permanent. If you consistently push sites to remove negative content, then this may do more harm than good. Instead, move past these content and focus on proactive measures to build up your online reputation.
3). Build Your Presence
In order to engage in online reputation management, you’ll want to build your presence through methods you’re able to control. Try to optimize your site for search engines, making sure that it appears before any negative results. If you have a blog on your site, then you’ll want to start posting consistent content that is relevant to your niche. Not only will this allow you to demonstrate your credibility and expertise, it will also let you audience know you and your company better.
4). Engage Your Audience
Another way to build up your online presence is to engage your audience, maintaining a conversation with visitors and customers. Try to get involved with a variety of social media sites relevant to your business, as this will improve your online visibility. For example, if your audience base can be found on Yelp, then offering a deal or coupon can be a great way to engage your audience. In addition, make sure that you respond back to any feedback, whether good or bad. Not only will this give your business a positive, open image, it also allows potential customers to engage in a two-way conversation.
5). Focus on Offline Practices
Your online reputation doesn’t come out of nowhere – oftentimes, it’s constructed from the real-life experiences that your customers encounter. Many of the negative comments and reviews are from real customers, who are dissatisfied by some aspect of your business. Therefore, make sure that you focus on customer service and providing visitors with a great experience. With happy customers that walk away from your business, it’s likely that your online reputation will reflect this satisfaction as well.
Guest author Sara Fletcher is a professional blogger who writes on a variety of topics, ranging from SEO, social media and business. She loves to learn all she can about online marketing, and is always looking for the next writing opportunity.