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4 Tips to Protect Your Online Reputation 3
4 Tips to Protect Your Online Reputation

Learn How To Protect Your Online Reputation

The Internet is a wonderful thing, but, and this is BIG but, it is full of untruths and misleading information. The real problem comes about when those untruths start to affect  businesses by damaging their online reputation. Many online review websites do not check the information that is added. This makes it very easy for bad reviews and false information to be left by competitors and others. Resulting in false information that can damage a business’s reputation.

In order to defend your business, many of these internet sites will charge you a fee. They allow genuine customers of yours to leave feedback for free, but it also makes it very easy for your shameless competitors or unhappy ex-employees to add negative reviews. But it will cost you to reply.

Local Consumer Review Survey : What Research Shows

Bright Local 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey revealed that:

  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
  • Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business
  • 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year
  • 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars
  • 80% of 18-34 year olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55
  • 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews

This means that having bad or negative reviews (3 stars or less) or even no reviews, can keep your potential customers, clients or patients away from your business. More importantly, SENDING them to your competition!

So how can you make sure that your online brand reputation is a positive one? The following are some helpful tips that will help promote and market your 5 star business.

Four Steps to Protecting Your Brand and Business Name

Here are four easy steps that your can take to not only protect and build your online reputation, but to market it too.

  1. Set Up Profiles on Social Media
  2. Build Links
  3. Get Online Reviews
  4. Google My Business

Reputation Marketing Using Social Media

On all the major social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, create and maintain business profiles. Fill these out as much as possible, including your website url and your actual business name, address and phone number (aka NAP). Once you have built out these social media profiles, make sure you regularly add content and keep them up to date.

When people send you questions about your business via these social profiles, make sure you respond and answer them as best you can. Should you get any negative comments or feedback, do not under any circumstances delete them. Use this opportunity to offer outstanding customer service.

Improve Your Visibility with Link Building

A great way to improve your online visibility is by utilizing an SEO technique called link building. If you do this yourself, it doesn’t have to cost you anything, only time. If you do not have the time, then assign this to one of your employees. An example of SEO link building is guest posting on other websites. Within the post link to one or more of your social media profiles. Not only does this strategy negate bad reviews, but it can generate more online traffic, as well as resulting in better rankings in the search engines for your website.

Improve Your Reputation with Online Reviews

Many of us have experienced both poor and great service. However, we are more likely than not to add a negative review about that experience than leaving a 4 or 5 star review. It’s just human nature! You need to make it easy for your customers, clients or patients to leave feedback.

All business owners should ask for feedback. As the saying goes, “don’t ask, don’t get!” So just ask them for feedback about their experience of your services or products. You could even offer an incentive, such as a discount on their next purchase or money off vouchers, for them to leave positive reviews.

In combating negative reviews, make sure you are proactive by generating genuine positive feedback. Under no circumstances should you create fake reviews. If found out, your business name will be ruined!

In order to make the process of generating genuine customer feedback easier, Blue Square Management have an online reputation management tool that will help your business. Click the link to learn more.

Google My Business : Build Your 5 Star Reputation

What is Google My Business or GMB? Google My Business, https://www.google.com/business/, allows businesses and organisations to easily manage their brand presence across Google. In both Google’s search engine and Google Maps. By using this free service, you can verify and edit your business information. Resulting in your customers finding you more easily as well as learning more about what you do.

From within Google My Business you can post images, videos, tell people about events, offers and the products you offer. This is a great way to promote and market your business. Do all of this and it will help you to be found in Google Maps or the Google 3-Pack when people are searching for your local services. These techniques are usually used in Local SEO services.

Not only does GMB allow you to market your products and services, but it allows you to interact with your customers. They can ask you questions through “Questions & Answers” from within the GMB Knowledge panel. They ask you a question and you simply answer it. You can also engage with your customers through the reviews that are left. Good or bad, you should always reply.

However, when replying to bad reviews always make sure that your response is positive. Never get into a slanging match. This will only result in damaging your brand’s reputation.

A Few Online Reviews Facts

  • Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business
  • 50% of consumers visit local businesses’ websites after reading positive reviews (including 69% of 55+)
  • Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use local businesses
  • Negative reviews stop 40% of consumers wanting to use a business
  • 78% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

Data from Bright Local’s 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey.

Protect Your Reputation : How To Handle Negative Reviews

As a local small business owner, you understand that your reputation means everything to you. Having a selection of great 5 star reviews can make you stand out from your competition.

Should you get negative reviews, and at some time you probably will, you need to know how to properly respond to them. Here are four tips for dealing with negative reviews that will promote your business to potential customers, clients or patients.

  1. Always Be Professional! Never end up in a slanging match online. Always show you care and that you will do your utmost to resolve the problem.
  2. Actions Speak Louder than Words! Show your customers that you are willing to bend over backwards to solve the issue. Emails, phone calls or even letters in response to the review show that you care.
  3. Take Care of the Problem Yourself! Under no circumstances delegate the handling of bad reviews to someone else.
  4. Document it! When it comes to responding to bad review, make sure that you document it. Tell your side of the event in a professional manner. Provide a detailed account of the actions you tool to rectify the problem.

Your reputation is the lifeblood of your business. By following the above tips on how to protect your online reputation, you will be able to build your businesses’ reputation. The use that online reputation to market and promote your business. Resulting in getting more leads, increase sales and grow your business.

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About the author

Blue Square Management are a web design and SEO Digital Marketing Agency based in Orpington and Bromley on the borders of South East London and Kent. We help businesses get more leads, increase sales and grow their businesses. Basically, Blue Square Management helps you get more phone calls and sell more products!We do by improving your search engine rankings and getting your found when people are looking for your products or services. We do this through online marketing, which includes SEO (Search Engine Optimisations), Local SEO, Web Design, PPC Management services, Online Reputation Management, Video Production Services, online Video Marketing and Social Media Marketing.Need help with your online marketing? Want more customers? Sell more products? Contact London & Kent's lead online digital marketing company, Blue Square Management to find out how we can help your business.