You're surfing the web one evening when you stumble across a small business owner's worst nightmare: a customer complaining LOUDLY about your business on a local search directory.
Although it's tempting to post a rebuttal, take a deep breath and think before you click. Online reputation management is fast becoming an important area of internet marketing for small business owners. Even if you promote your business to a targeted local market, your customers and potential customers are searching online for information about your company, products and services. Managing your online reputation is an important aspect of local search marketing.
Pro-Active Online Reputation Monitoring
Instead of stumbling over a poor review, take steps to actively monitor your online reputation. You can:
- Set up processes to monitor each channel listed above daily, weekly and monthly
- Do it yourself or delegate it to a staff person
- Use an online reputation management tool
- Work with a local search marketing agency, who can tackle this task for you efficiently and expertly (hint: we can help!)
Fixing the Situation
There are a few steps you can take if, as in our opening example, you find an unflattering post online about your business. If you can identify the customer from the post, reach out to them in a professional, pleasant way to inquire about the problem. Perhaps you can make the situation right with them and ask them to post an update on the situation online.
An experienced local search marketing firm can take specific online action steps, such as adding locally optimized content, to push the negative review down in the search engine ranks. It takes a skilled online reputation manager to tackle this task, but once done, it should push the negative review down low enough in the search results so that the casual searcher won't see it.
You can't please everyone all the time, and most people understand that few businesses will have a perfect rating online. Yet you need to take steps to manage and enhance your online reputation. In the long run, it costs less to take a proactive approach to online reputation management than to have to fix a problem. Take control over it before your customers do it for you!