Online reputation management

As with certain people in the real world, some sites on the internet have a lot more influence than others. It’s important for businesses to find out which ones they need to have a presence on.

The wonderful thing about the internet is that millions of people have the ability to find your website if you’re dedicating resources to digital marketing to bring them in. The downside is that any disgruntled person can write a scathing review of your company at any time.

If that review is on Bob’s Product Reviews, it’s not that big of a deal. But some sites are viewed daily by thousands, and that’s where you want to focus your efforts.

The Sites

Much of the process involved with finding the right sites to focus on involves determining what most impacts your business. However, there are a handful that impact companies across all industries.

  • Google. When someone searches a business on Google Maps, they can easily click on user-submitted reviews. This is for every type of business listed.
  • Angie’s List. While people must join to use and submit reviews to Angie’s List, it’s a free service and million use it.
  • Yelp. Yelp focuses primarily on restaurants, pubs and clubs, but also extends into many other areas of business.
  • TripAdvisor. A must if you run any type of business that caters to travelers.
  • Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau offers a chance to write business reviews directly off the homepage, and many people take advantage.
  • Glassdoor. A place for both current and former employees to leave comments about your business.

That’s just the big ones. There are others aimed specifically at various industries. You’ll want to compile a list and then take steps to manage your reputation.  This is especially important as your ramp up your digital marketing efforts, thus bringing more and more people to your website.

Managing Your Reputation

The sites listed above, and most others, allow for businesses themselves to create accounts. Take the following steps to ensure your reputation is kept as clean as possible.

Create A Strategy. As noted, research the sites where your presence will have the most impact. These could relate to your products/services and industry. A search for review sites related to your industry is a good way to start. Once you have your list, assign someone who will work on managing those sites.

Create profiles. On each of the influential sites, create a business profile. The key factor is to make sure that the profile is clear, positive and describes your product or service. Make it easy for people to leave reviews, offering simple steps that show them how to do so. Don’t forget to add a call-to-action to try and capture prospects checking out your profile.

Answer negative reviews. Answering negative reviews is important. Apologize where it’s appropriate and offer solutions for the customer’s issue. If the facts point to an error on the customer’s part, make it known in a professional way but, again, offer a solution. You are in your right to defend your brand but offering a solution even when you’re not in the wrong shows your dedication to your customers.

Praise positive reviews. Just as importantly, it’s wise to thank those who say good things about your business. This shows all viewers that the business is engaged with customers, and all-but guarantees you will have a loyal customer for life.

Keep these steps in mind when addressing reputation management. As you expand your digital marketing efforts and continually get more eyeballs on your website, monitoring and taking action on the most important sites can help keep your online reputation as good as possible in the highly opinionated world of the internet.

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