Companies that do most of their business locally do not always consider the importance of their online reputation. In fact, even if they have a website, they do not pay much attention to it. Instead, they think of it as a digital billboard that will direct their local customers through their doors. Whether it is a restaurant, an auto repair shop, a boutique, or any other type of business with a brick and mortar location, online reputation is still going to be a huge factor. What can you do to make sure you have a good reputation?
First, you want to make sure that you have more than just a webpage as your presence. You really need to have a page for all of the different and applicable social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like. You also should have a blog that you update regularly, as this helps to place the site, and therefore your company, higher in the page rankings. Not only will it help customers find you more easily, but also ensures that the search results on those first pages are all positive, or at the very least neutral, references to your company.
Second, to handle your reputation successfully, you need to be reactive to any customer complaints or issues that might pop up online. These could show up on social media, your blog comments, and other places. It’s all a part of customer management. Make the customers happy and they will not write negatively about your company. Of course, you also have to make sure your products and services really are up to par.
Third, some small companies develop a bad reputation of arguing with customers online, and this is one of the worst offenses you could make. When a company, or a representative of the company, goes “rogue” and starts attacking and arguing with customers, it never ends well for the business. These types of incidents tend to spread far and wide on the web, and people who have never used your products or services could suddenly be leaving negative reviews.
Online reputation management can be difficult, especially for businesses that do not have the personnel to handle them appropriately. It may be a good idea to work with a third party that can take care of it for you.