What is Reputation Management and How We Can Use it to Help Your Business
Here in Iowa City, where our offices are located, there are more than 100 businesses just in our historic Downtown District area alone vying for our dollars. If you are one of those 100 businesses, you know how difficult it is to maintain a steady stream of customers who are happy to visit your establishment and spend their own hard-earned money with you.
They aren’t thinking about your hard-earned money that you spend keeping your doors open. They don’t care about that. They are thinking of their money, and their experience.
When is the last time you looked at any reviews people have posted on line about your business – whether at Foursquare, Google Plus, Merchant Circle, Yelp, or Facebook?
Is there a review, video, Tweet or Facebook post circulating about your business that isn’t showing you in the best light possible?
Look, it’s obvious that you cannot make 100% of your customers happy 100% of the time. Everyone is aware of this, and one person out of 200 complaining that a cashier didn’t smile at him isn’t going to close anyone’s doors. That’s not the point.
The point is, with the nearly countless websites and platforms available to people today who are more than willing to spend a few minutes of their time ranting or venting about their experiences with a business, bad news can, and will travel and spread faster than you can say “cute puppy viral video.”
Now, I’m willing to bet that at this moment, you are ready to head over to your favorite search engine to type in either your own business name (which we suggest) and/or a colleague’s business name to see what reviews come up.
In fact, we believe you should do this. Type in your own or someone else’s business name in the Iowa City or surrounding area, along with the work “review” and see what turns up, and then come on back here.
Go ahead, we’ll wait. (Dear reader, you can insert sound effect here: clock ticking in background)
Okay – now that you’re back, we’re sure you must have noticed that some folks have left negative reviews about something.
Gone are the days when people thought before they acted, especially since most people now have Smart phones and other handheld devices allowing them to voice their frustrations instantly.
Gone are the days of “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.” It’s just the way things are, and the sooner businesses recognize and admit this, the better they can arm themselves with a strategy that will not only help them gain and maintain a good online reputation but also grow their business.
Think about this for just a minute. Have you ever seen a Facebook rant about someone who was unhappy with something? It could have been the meal they didn’t like at a particular restaurant, or the poor service they received. Maybe they took a photo of the proverbial hair or a fly in their soup.
There is something else we need to address here, however, besides the reviews.
Did you notice that most of these reviews do not have a response from management?
You see, as we said, it’s not that an occasional bad review is going to break a business. It’s the fact that most business owners ignore them. Oh, they may see the review, and say, “Well, we’ll do better next time.” But, how does the prospective customer know this for sure? Your potential customers are not mind readers. They are review readers. They watch videos. They keep up with Tweets and Facebook posts.
This is something that you should be very aware of. Remember this: What affects your online reputation will translate to your offline existence as well. If you have a brick & mortar business, don’t think for a moment that the online wolf “huffing and puffing” at you cannot hurt you offline.
Responding to customers’ comments is critical. However, this is oftentimes where you, as a business owner may feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, because it can take hours out of the day and week to keep up with this. And those are hours that should be used running your day to day business – not just to make it better and more profitable, but to merely keep up with your regular responsibilities of management, inventory, payroll, etc.
This is where we at Iowa City SEO can, and will help you.
The question you may have at this point is: How do we do this?
Remember that reputation management is more than a mere strategy to respond to your reviews – which we will certainly do – responding to both good and bad reviews. When you bring us on to manage your online reputation, we do all the heavy lifting of researching, finding, and responding to customer reviews.
However, this is just a small part of what we do. There is far more to it than simply responding to reviews. That’s just putting a bandage on an already bleeding wound.
We want to help you avoid any additional wounds by helping you avoid getting hurt to begin with.
We will create and manage the strategies that will help steer your customers in the right direction long before they decide to leave a review. We will help create avenues that encourage customers to interact in a positive manner before they have even stepped foot through your doors.
We will create an additional positive online presence beyond your company’s website that will be visible to potential customers.
We will also help to create a positive (and lasting) impression of your business on Social Media (which we talk about in depth elsewhere on this site). There is far more to Social Media than having a Facebook page or Twitter account (although these certainly are important components to any business wanting to thrive in today’s marketplace).
We can hear your next question: But, my business seems to be fine, and I haven’t seen any negative reviews about it. How can you help me?
Our answer is this: Can you use MORE business? What if there was a community waiting to interact with your business that doesn’t even know you exist (yet)? If you already have all the business you can possibly handle as it is, you probably don’t need us. Congratulations! You’re doing things right!
If, however, you can handle more customers, more clients, and more business in general, why not see if you might benefit from our services?
Every business is unique, and takes a highly personalized approach to managing its presence online, which of course results in a better business offline. This is what we do.
Call us today for a free consultation, and let us show you how we can help you create and maintain your business reputation both online and off!