How to Instantly Jump Start Reputation Management for Your Small Business

  • By Tim Fitzpatrick
  • 19 Sep, 2017
How to Instantly Jump Start Reputation Management For Your Small Business
What exactly is online reputation management (ORM)?

ORM means you choose to take an active role in managing the online reviews for your business. It's about proactively seeking to get positive reviews for your business and minimizing the damage of any negative reviews.

The importance of online reviews for your small business can't be understated. If you aren't convinced, here are a few statistics from a recent BrightLocal Survey that may change your mind.

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation

  • 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business

  • 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant

  • 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

These stats highlight the importance of managing your online reviews and having a system in place (online reputation management) to make sure your online reviews are helping you grow your business. 

If your business doesn't have a strong positive online review presence this needs to be one of your first priorities.  Why? Because most consumers will go online to check out your business before making a buying decision. If you have a lack of positive reviews, out of date reviews, or a low rating this will significantly impact their opinion of your business.

If you are spending money advertising and you haven't first squared away your online reputation management you could be wasting money. Get your online reviews squared away to ensure you make a great first impression that leads people to choose you.

Another often overlooked aspect of reputation management is that prospective customers aren't the only people checking out your company online. Referral partners and vendors/suppliers may also be looking at your online reviews...reputation management is not something you can simply ignore. You've got to proactively take control to ensure your business is perceived accurately online.

To help you get started with your online reputation management we've put together some tips.

Focus on Multiple Review Sites

Do you want the livelihood of your business hanging with one company? I sure don't. For this simple reason, your online reputation management must focus on multiple review sites. Some people may love Yelp and others don't. If your sole focus is on building positive Yelp reviews you may lose all those people who only check Google.

Identify the top 3-5 review sites that are most appropriate for your business and focus on building reviews on each site.

Keep it Real

You may feel an urge to put up positive reviews from your friends and family...don't. Trying to game the system is unethical and could be detrimental to your business. Make sure the reviews being posted are from real customers and encourage customers to be specific about what they liked about your business. This will be a much better strategy long term for your business.

Recent Reviews Rock

Don't forget the stat above...73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant. Reaching a certain number of reviews and calling it good won't work. You must have a plan in place to consistently generate reviews.

Your online reputation management should not be a single event or one-time project. It must be an ongoing focus and a system that is running constantly in your business.


You Need Quantity & Quality

You must have high-quality reviews/ratings and a lot of reviews. We're all looking for the best businesses we can, so high-quality reviews kind of speak for themselves.

Why do you need to have a high quantity of reviews? Here's an example from a Google search for "Denver plumbers".
Denver plumbers search
As you can see, the company with the highest review rating also has the most reviews by a long shot! I'm going to be checking out Doctor Fix-It first before I move on to the other ones on this list. Having a 5-star review rating really doesn't mean much if you only have 2 reviews. You must have a decent quantity of reviews in order for people to feel your rating is credible.

Negative Content Isn't The End of the World

Nobody is perfect and negative reviews give you several opportunities.

  1. They give you the opportunity to make things right with an unhappy customer. 

  2. They present an opportunity to learn how you can make improvements in the future. 

  3. They bring credibility to all the positive reviews you have. People are skeptical when they don't see any negative reviews and start to wonder whether the positive reviews you have are real or manufactured.

There are varying thoughts out there about whether you should respond to negative reviews. If you choose to respond, please do so carefully and tactfully. Responding defensively or any other negative way will make you look bad and do more damage than if you hadn't responded at all.

Monitor

One of the main aspects of online reputation management is monitoring what is being said about your company. Monitoring search results, social media sites, and review sites should be part of your plan.

You may choose to do this manually or you may choose to enlist the help of an expert. Which leads me to my next point...

Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

We all have strengths and weaknesses, if marketing is not one of your strengths don't be afraid to ask for help. Your online reputation management is too important to screw up.

There are a number of services, marketing agencies, or marketing consultants who can help you with your online reputation management. If you don't want to do this yourself, take the time to find and hire an expert who can help.
Did you find this helpful? Feel free to comment below and share.
Tim Fitzpatrick

About The Author

Tim Fitzpatrick  is the President & Founder of Rialto Mobile.  At Rialto Mobile, we specialize in comprehensive marketing solutions for small businesses.  If you'd like to learn more about what we do CLICK HERE .

Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level.  Click the image below to check it out.

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