The internet can sometimes feel like a wild and uncontrollable beast, especially when it comes to monitoring every aspect of your business’s online reputation. Knowing where to start, and how to keep up with all the review websites, and social media platforms is a huge challenge for most businesses. While it may not be possible for you to keep up with everything that was ever written about you online - you sure can try!
First, check out 4 ways to monitor your online reputation and then learn how to handle any reviews (good or bad) you might find out in internet land.
1. Create Google Alerts
Unsure where to start with your online reputation? This is a great way to begin the monitoring process. Set up an alert for your company’s name, which will then let you know via email when your company has been mentioned on the web. That way you always know when people are talking about you.
2. Create or Claim Your Local Listings
This is a great way to not only create a better online reputation, but also generate leads through search engine results. Check online directories like Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo, and Yelp for business location listings. If your business isn’t listed - create a free listing! If it is, make sure you’ve claimed it and entered accurate data so that potential customers can find all your information from the listing alone.
This is an especially important process for directories that allow reviews. Claimed listings demonstrate that you are active in monitoring your online presence, and are available to receive any feedback that a customer might send your way.
3. Monitor Industry Review Websites
Depending on your industry, there may be other review websites that are specific to what you do. Be sure that you are monitoring any such websites for any mentions of your business, good or bad, so that you can be sure that you see all the reviews you’re receiving, and are able to react in the best way possible.
4. Set Up Social Accounts and Searches
Go ahead and create accounts for your company across the largest social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Don’t feel you have time to keep up with posting on all three? Use a social media scheduling tool like HootSuite or Buffer that will allow you to post to all accounts at a scheduled time to make your life easier. And if you’re still not confident in your social media marketing abilities, consider some other options for handling social accounts to get the most from them.
Also, set up search terms on Twitter that relate to your website address, your business name, and any variations that people might refer to your business as. This will allow you to see any mentions that aren’t of your actual Twitter handle. Be sure to include your main domain address, because this will also let you see any links back to your website that are tweeted out.
Handling Online Reviews Once You’ve Found Them
Now that you know what to do to ensure you see all reviews about your company, how do you ensure that you respond to your reviews in the correct manner, that won’t hurt, but help your business?
Good Reviews:Always respond to good reviews.
This is just as important as the bad, because these people have taken time out of their busy schedules to write a positive review about your company. And don’t write a stuffy response - be genuine and thank them for their review! People are far more likely to write a bad review than a good one, so make your positive reviewee’s feel appreciated by going above and beyond for them. They are your Brand Ambassadors, so it is up to you to keep them happy and encourage people to provide more positive reviews.
Never. Ever. Ever. Leave a bad review unresponded to, even if its just for a few weeks.Instead, respond promptly, and in a professional manner.
Now, bad reviews can be a bit tricky, but to ensure that you maintain a positive reputation, acknowledge the complaint that has been made, but don’t agree or claim fault for it. Instead, make yourself available to be contacted by providing an email and phone number, and try to take the conversation offline.
Often times all it takes is an apology and some understanding to make things right. Do your best to resolve any issues that you can, and if you are able to square the problem away, you might be surprised how willing the review writer might be to edit or remove their review.
Maintaining your online reputation can seem a bit daunting at first, but follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way to ensuring that you put your best foot forward online for your next potential clients.