Your business’s online presence is one of the most important advertising tools at your disposal. According to The Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead, approximately 95% of consumers research goods and services online before deciding where to purchase. While having a well-designed and easy to navigate website and keeping your social media accounts updated is a good start to managing the way your company appears online, there is another important factor to consider: online reputation management. 

Managing your reputation online can be a tricky business. Because reading reviews has become such an important part of the purchasing process for many buyers, responding to negative comments made about your business is a must. To learn how to manage your reputation online, read the tips below.

Start with a Comprehensive Audit

In order to determine what steps to take to improve your business’s reputation on the web, you must first conduct a comprehensive audit of what people are already saying about you online. A good way to do this is to do a thorough search by typing your company’s name on different engines, such a Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This will give you some insight as to where your business is showing up and may provide opportunities for you to begin removing content that is not aligned with your brand where you have control to do so.

Comb Through Social Media, Blogs, and Directories

Do a similar search on all social media networks. Read all the posts your business has been tagged in on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and don’t forget to check your geolocation tag as well. Next, check business directories such as Yelp, Google My Business, Angie’s List, and Yellow Pages. You can use tools such as Yext and Go Fish Digital to make it easier to see any complaints or negative reviews in one place.

Address Negative Reviews Both on and Offline

Once you have identified any negative reviews of your business online, take some time to respond diplomatically to each. In your comment, own up to any mistakes you made that were mentioned in the review, apologize for the customer’s experience, and thank them for their feedback. This shows that you take complaints seriously and strive to improve your customer service and provide a good experience to anyone who chooses to do business with you in the future.

If you have the contact information of the customer who left the review, you may also want to follow up with them offline to see if there is anything you can do to improve their experience and make amends.

Stay on Top of It

Online reputation management is not a one-time task. Sign up for Google Alerts to be notified when people are talking about your company online. This service scans blogs, news articles, and other websites for news about your business, and makes it easy to stay up to date with any new mentions. 

Bad reviews don’t have to spell doom for your business. By taking steps to address negative feedback and improve relationships with your customers, you can show potential clients how much you value their experience and improve the impression that your company leaves online.

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