A Guide to Reputation Management in Local Markets
Take a moment and imagine that you’re looking for a new restaurant to try out. How do you find one? Do you start searching online? Do you ask family and friends for a recommendation? How do you pick one? Do you look at online reviews, take a leap of faith, trust that your family and friends know what you do and don’t like? Reputation management is key for any local business and can truly make or break a customer’s decision to buy a product or service from your company. Let’s take a look at some areas of focus when it comes to your online reputation.
Connect with Customers and Request Reviews
These days, it’s not enough to have a business listing on sites like Google, Yelp, and Nextdoor. Consumers are becoming more reliant on the reviews that a business has to help them determine where to spend their money. Depending on your business model, requesting reviews can come in a few different formats:
- Request reviews at the end of a sale or transaction, whether it’s in person, via email, or text message.
- Ensure all company signatures include links to your review sites.
- Share the links to your reviews sites on social media posts.
Respond to All Customer Reviews
SproutLoud prides itself on notifying our customers the moment they receive a new review from their business so they can address that experience. But, if you don’t have a reputation management system in place, platforms like Google or Yelp will still send you a notification when you receive a review. It’s vital to respond to all customer reviews, regardless of the sentiment (positive, negative, or neutral).
Keeping this line of communication open with customers shows current and prospective customers that you care about their experience with their business and value the feedback they are providing.
Key Items that Can Harm Your Business’ Reputation
There are a few items to keep in mind that you should not do when it comes to reviews for your business:
- Do not purchase reviews from customers. These experiences need to be authentic, and should not be bought.
- Do not have customers submit reviews from a shared device at the business. Review sites keep track of the IP address where reviews are submitted and will flag multiple submissions from the same location, and this can harm your local ranking.
Reputation management for a business is certainly a marathon and not a sprint. While it requires upkeep and consistent work, the reward of having your customers become advocates for your business is immeasurable.
If you are a current SproutLoud client and would like to learn more about how to manage your online reputation in your local market, click here to schedule time with a SproutLoud Local Marketing Expert