It’s no secret that online reviews are important—but do you know how important they really are? Statistics show that 90 percent of consumers check out a business’s reviews before visiting and 88 percent give these reviews as much credibility as a personal recommendation.
It’s also common knowledge that you can’t please everyone. It only takes a few bad reviews from unhappy customers to seriously impact your business.
Luckily, you have options. Online presence management can help you overcome these negative reviews and get your business back on track.
Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Online Presence Management?
First things first, what the heck is online presence management anyway? This technique, also called online reputation management, involves developing a counterstrategy to offset bad reviews. It’s a comprehensive approach designed to reverse the perception of your business.
While hiring a professional is often the most effective way to handle problems with your online reputation, there are some things you can do on your own. Start with these five tips.
1. Dilute the Bad Reviews
The number one way to combat negative reviews is to consistently build up good ones. Most people are aware that there’s always someone who likes to complain and that every business occasionally has a bad day. If you have hundreds of excellent reviews and a handful of negative ones, the majority of your potential customers will take the poor ones with a grain of salt.
You’ll want to be careful, though, about directly soliciting reviews as this can get you in trouble. For example, Yelp’s rules explicitly forbid soliciting reviews. Google’s rules are a bit more flexible, but still prohibit soliciting reviews in bulk and selectively asking for positive reviews from customers.
However, you can build up your reviews by encouraging customers to check out your business on popular sites like Google and Yelp. You can also share your Google and Yelp pages on your website, in your email signature, and on your social media platforms. While there’s no way to guarantee these reviews will all be positive, going out of your way to provide an excellent customer experience will help shift the tide in your direction.
2. Always Leave a Response
Whether the review you receive is good or bad, you should always respond to it promptly. When you receive a negative review, failing to respond sends a message that either (1) it’s true or (2) you simply don’t care.
While it’s important to respond quickly, beware of doing so if you’re overly angry. If you can’t respond in a calm and professional manner, wait until you’re able to do so. Remember that even if you decide to go back and delete your response later, it could still have been captured via screenshot.
An angry response can do even more damage. On the other hand, a well-crafted response can go a long way towards fixing the situation.
Always apologize for the negative experience and do what you can to remedy it. In some cases, if you fix the problem, you can turn a complaining customer into your biggest fan.
3. Take It Offline
After responding to a negative review, be careful not to encourage a stream of back-and-forth banter. Keep your response brief and take any remaining conversation offline. It’s important for potential customers to see that you’re willing to remedy the situation, but you don’t have to give them all the gory details.
Try responding with something like, “I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. Please call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX and ask for Joe so we can discuss this further.” Don’t forget to add your contact information or this response will seem very disingenuous.
4. Focus on Other Sites
If you’ve been working hard on gathering positive reviews but still aren’t able to dilute the negative ones, it’s time to turn your focus elsewhere. Start by doing a Google search for your business name. See what other sites come up high in search rankings and work on building up more positive reviews there.
If you can’t negate the poor reviews on one site, at least you can help people who are looking for information about your business get a more balanced view of your company.
You can also improve your online presence by beefing up the online information sources that you can control. For example, publishing tons of excellent blog posts and whitepapers that provide a lot of value can position you as a leader in your industry.
Also, make sure your business’s social media sites are set to public and they contain a plethora of positive posts. Seeking out positive coverage in other publications, both online and in print, also never hurts.
5. Continually Monitor Your Online Reputation
The last thing you want is to have negative reviews floating around without your knowledge. If you haven’t already set up Google alerts for your brand, do it today. This is the best way for you to keep track of all your reviews and any other media coverage.
Take Control With Online Presence Management Today!
Don’t let a couple of bad reviews drag your business down! If you’ve implemented the steps above without any luck, then it’s time to call in the pros.
Our online presence management services can help you take control of your reputation and enhance both your ranking and your visibility. Contact us today to learn more!